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Spotlight Search Not Working on Mac, How to Fix in 2022

Spotlight Search Not Working on Mac, How to Fix

Having issues with Spotlight on your Mac? Check out our guide on Spotlight Search Not Working on Mac, How to Fix for more details.

One of my favorite features of a Mac is Spotlight. Spotlight is a search tool that can retrieve any file, folder, app, or item on your Mac. It works well and always seems to bring up the right results, unlike a certain cough-cough Windows search.

However, Spotlight is not perfect. Many users have reported that Spotlight Search on their Macs doesn’t work well. They say that it fails to locate files correctly, crashes, and acts buggy. All these issues can be frustrating, to say the least, but they are easily fixable. 

We have come up with this guide to help you fix issues with Spotlight search not working on Mac. Try these fixes if Spotlight search is not working on your Mac, 

  • Restart Spotlight-Related Services
  • Restart Your Mac
  • Check Your Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Check Your Spotlight Settings
  • Update Your Mac
  • Check for Disk Errors
  • Disable and Reactivate Spotlight Index

If you can’t perform these fixes, then read our Spotlight Search Not Working on Mac, How to Fix for a detailed explanation of each fix with steps. 

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Spotlight Search Not Working on Mac, How to Fix

Restart Spotlight-Related Services

If Spotlight crashes or freezes then restarting it will help. Spotlight is a system service and if it is bugged, it might not work as intended. Force closing and restarting will help it. Follow these steps,

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Step 1 Open Launchpad on your Mac.

How to Access and Use your Macs Utilities Folder

Step 2 Select Other and then click on Activity Monitor

Step 3 Search for SystemUIServer under the CPU tab. 

Step 4 Now, click on SystemUIServer and then click on the Stop button.

Spotlight Search Not Working on Mac, How to Fix

Step 5 Click on Force Quit

Step 6 Similarly search for Spotlight and mds and force quit both these processes. 

Step 7 Close the Activity Monitor.

Now check if Spotlight is working as intended, if not move on to the next fix.

Restart Your Mac

Restarting your Mac will fix any bug or glitch that is interfering with Spotlight on your Mac. Follow these steps to restart your Mac,

Spotlight Search Not Working on Mac, How to Fix

Step 1 Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner to open the Apple menu

Step 2 Select Restart.

Step 3 Uncheck Reopen Windows when logging back in.

Step 4 Now, click on Restart

Restarting will fix issues with almost most products. So if you are facing errors or if something is not working well on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc, then restart the device. 

Check Your Keyboard Shortcuts

If Spotlight won’t open on your Mac when using keyboard shortcuts, then check them. By default, Command + Space should bring up Spotlight on Mac. However, if this doesn’t work, check if the keyboard shortcut for Spotlight is active. Follow these steps to check keyboard shortcuts on your Mac,  

Step 1 Open System Preferences from the Dock or Apple menu on your Mac.

Step 2 Click on Keyboard.

Step 3 Go to the Shortcuts tab.

Step 4 Select Spotlight in the sidebar.

Step 5 Now, check all the boxes next to Show Spotlight search and Show Finder search window

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You can use Command + Space or Command + Option + Space to bring up Spotlight. 

Check Your Spotlight Settings

If Spotlight doesn’t work as intended, like missing files in search results, then you might have to tweak your Mac’s search settings. You have to make sure that Spotlight can bring search results from all categories that you need. Follow these steps to check and change Spotlight search settings, 

Step 1 Open System Preferences from the Dock or Apple menu on your Mac.

Step 2 Now, click on Spotlight.

Step 3 Now, check all the categories that you want to appear in Spotlight search results. 

Step 4 Now, go to the Privacy tab to check if any files, folders, or apps are excluded from Spotlight indexing. Select and use the Minus button to delete items so that they show up in search results again.

Update Your Mac

Outdated and buggy software can cause issues with various mac features, including Spotlight. Keeping your Mac up to date will ensure smooth operation and the latest features. Check out how to update your Mac,

Spotlight Search Not Working on Mac, How to Fix

Step 1 Open System Preferences from the Dock or Apple menu on your Mac.

Step 2 Select Software Update.

Step 3 Your Mac will scan for updates, wait.

Step 4 If there is an update available, click on Update Now

Check for Disk Errors

Sometimes, disk errors may cause Spotlight issues. Since Spotlight is a search tool, if your disks are not functioning properly, then Spotlight won’t be able to get your results. Use the Disk Utility to check for disk errors on your Mac. just follow these steps,

Step 1 Open Launchpad on your Mac.

Step 2 Click on Other and then select Disk Utility.

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Step 3 Now select Macintosh HD from the sidebar.

Step 4 Click on the First Aid button.

Step 5 Click on Run

Step 6 Wait for Disk Utility to scan and repair your disks. Click on Done

Disable and Reactivate Spotlight Index

Disabling and reactivating the Spotlight Index can fix any issues with it. Follow these steps to disable and reactivate Spotlight Index using the Terminal,

Step 1 Open the Launchpad on your Mac.

Step 2 Click on Other and then select Terminal.

Step 3 Run the following command, 

sudo mdutil -Ea

Step 4 Enter your Mac’s password and press Enter.

Step 5 Now, run these commands to deactivate and reactivate Spotlight Indexing, 

sudo mdutil -ai off

sudo mdutil -ai on

Step 6 Exit Terminal.

Check if Spotlight Search is working as intended.

Spotlight Search Not Working on Mac, How to Fix – Conclusion

Spotlight Search is an important tool for every Mac. it makes finding things on your Mac easy and straightforward. However, if Spotlight Search doesn’t work on your Mac, you can feel defeated. But don’t worry, it is easy to fix the Spotlight search not working on Mac issue.

We have explained all the fixes you can use to fix Spotlight search not working on Mac issue. We hope this guide helped you fix your problems. Check out our other guides that help in fixing issues with Macs.

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