I tried to remove spotlight form the menu bar with the following trick:

sudo chmod 600 /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle/Contents/MacOS/Search
killall SystemUIServer

Unfortunately if I repair disk permissions and reboot at some point (or just simply reboot some people tell me), the annoying spotlight thing is back in the menu bar.

I don't want to disable spotlight, just to take off the damn magnifying glass from the menu bar persistently. Is there a way the works better than the one I presented above?


4 Answers 4


This works at least up to 10.9.2.

To disable:

sudo mv /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle.bak
killall SystemUIServer

To re-enable:

sudo mv /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle.bak /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle
killall SystemUIServer
  • will this just kill the icon or actually disable spotlight? I like spotlight indexing my mail... Aug 1, 2012 at 10:49
  • Just the icon...
    – bot47
    Aug 1, 2012 at 10:52

There are a few apps that can remove the icon for you, I used Bartender to check it works in Mountain Lion:

enter image description here

It will even get rid of Notification Center if you so desire ;)

  • Won't work correctly if iStatMenu is active.
    – bot47
    Aug 1, 2012 at 10:42
  • Maybe not, it's in Beta at present, and the OP doesn't say they have iStatMenu running, I don't.
    – stuffe
    Aug 1, 2012 at 10:43
  • 1
    I'm running iStatMenus and Bartender right now and it's working okay for me. Thanks OP, didn't even notice Bartender was able to hide Spotlight/Notification Centre! Aug 1, 2012 at 10:50

In macOS Big Sur (and probably later) there's an option to enable and disable the the icon. Go to System settings -> Dock and menu row -> Spotlight and uncheck Show in menu row. Spotlight is still available thru the keyboard command.


For macOS Ventura 13, Sonoma 14

Change Control Centre settings on Mac

  1. Control Centre
  2. Scroll down to "Menu Bar Only" section:
  3. Select "Don’t Show in Menu Bar" next to Spotlight

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