I recently got a MBP and really love how quick spotlight is. I'm reading my exchange email via the Apple Mail app. The messages are indexed by spotlight but the contents of the attachments are not.

Any idea how I can enable/fix this?

  • Have you tested with an attachment you know is downloaded to the Mac? You can quit Mail, turn off networking and then load Mail. At that point, look for a message that is recent enough to be downloaded to the Mac and see if you can find it in spotlight. My guess is older attachments are not actually stored on the Mac's filesystem, but it could also be something else.
    – bmike
    Apr 16 '13 at 17:16
  • Yes tested with no networking. The attachment is downloaded. As soon as I open it and it gets saved in the "Mail Downloads" folder it gets indexed and I can search for the contents in it. As soon as I remove that file from the "Mail Downloads" folder the search does find it anymore. So this proofs that Spotlight is not indexing my attachments
    – JaapH
    Apr 17 '13 at 2:06
  • That's excellent troubleshooting. Unless that one file (or file type) is the problem, it seems spotlight is broken in general. I wonder if there's a good Q&A here that covers spotlight in general or if we need to look at Apple's guide...
    – bmike
    Apr 17 '13 at 12:24
  • It's not that one file. It's all the files
    – JaapH
    Apr 19 '13 at 2:56
  • If this doesn't help, you might need to look at troubleshooting all of spotlight on your Mac. support.apple.com/kb/HT2409 When the importer dies, entire folders on the filesystem fail to index - so what you are seeing might be a result of another failure and not "the failure".
    – bmike
    Apr 19 '13 at 4:03

Spotlight is now indexing the attachments :-). What I did is the following. (Not sure if it will solve anybody else his problems but you never know)

I wanted to know if the issue was Exchange specific so I made a new gmail account and sent an email with an attachment to that account. That attachment got indexed. I opened the attachment and then saw that it was located somewhere deep down in ~/Library/Mail. I then also checked if Attachments were really downloaded by the exchange client by looking for *.pptx files by running

find . -name "*.pptx"

in ~/Library/Mail. When I used spotlight after that I all of a sudden could find all attachments in email. So I guess adding the gmail account to mail triggered spotlight somehow

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