10 Best Ways to Fix Spotlight Search Not Working on Mac

Spotlight Search is one of the best additions to macOS. Press Command + Space keys and you’re ready to find apps, files, media, and more on your Mac. Spotlight search not working or opening on Mac can cause inconvenience. Here’s how you can fix Spotlight search not working on Mac.

Instead of manually searching for files and apps (which can also be time-consuming) on ​​Mac, you can use the tricks below and get Spotlight Search up and running in no time.

1. Restart Mac

Most users don’t shut down the Mac frequently. We mainly keep the Mac in standby to be ready to use in a second.

We recommend restarting the Mac for smooth functions. Click the Apple icon in the menu bar and select Restart.

After restarting the Mac, authenticate and try using Spotlight Search.

2. Check Spotlight Keyboard Shortcuts

You need to make sure that you are pressing the correct keys to launch Spotlight Search on Mac.

Step 1: Click on the small Apple icon in the menu bar in the upper left corner.

2nd step: Select System Preferences.

Step 3: Go to the Keyboard menu.

Step 4: Swipe to the Shortcuts menu.

Step 5: Select Spotlight from the left sidebar.

Step 6: Enable the Show Spotlight search option.

3. Restart Spotlight Services

You can force quit the Spotlight service on Mac and restart it. Here’s how.

Step 1: Press Cmd + Space, type Activity Monitor and press Enter.

2nd step: Click on the search bar and type projector.

Step 3: Select Spotlight and tap the “x” (cross) mark at the top.

Repeat the same for CoreSpotlightSearch after pressing Cmd + Space.

4. Check Categories to Search Spotlight

Spotlight lets you search all folders on Mac. If you’ve disabled a specific category on Spotlight, the service won’t be able to search that category. Follow the steps below to enable relevant categories for Spotlight.

Step 1: Click on the Apple menu in the upper left corner and select the System Preferences menu.

2nd step: Click on the Spotlight window in System Preferences.

Step 3: On the Search Results tab, enable all categories and close the application.

Step 4: If you have excluded a specific folder on Mac, you need to delete it. Go to the Privacy tab.

Step 5: Select the folder and tap the ‘-‘ (minus) icon at the bottom.

We previously excluded the Downloads folder from Spotlight search and continued to misunderstand that Spotlight didn’t search Downloads.

Launch Spotlight Search and check if it can search apps and files on Mac.

5. Troubleshoot Disk Errors

If your Mac drive has problems or errors, Spotlight will have trouble finding files on it. You can use the default Disk Utility tool and fix these errors.

Step 1: Open Disk Utility from the Launchpad menu.

2nd step: Select the First Aid icon at the top and run the tool to repair the disk.

6. Reindex Spotlight Search

There is no direct way to re-index Spotlight Search on Mac. We will exclude Macintosh HD from Spotlight search and remove the rule. Here’s how.

Step 1: Click the Apple menu in the upper left corner and select System Preferences.

2nd step: Go to Spotlight.

Step 3: Select Privacy.

Step 4: Select the + icon at the bottom and select your Mac from the sidebar.

Step 5: Select Macintosh HD and click Choose.

Once you’ve told Spotlight not to search in Macintosh HD, click on it and select the minus (-) button.

Restart your Mac and Spotlight Search should start working as expected.

7. Delete dummy files on Mac

Corrupt and bogus files on your Mac can interfere with Spotlight search functions. You can either manually remove these files or use a third-party tool called CleanMyMac X to do the job.

Step 1: Get CleanMyMac X on your Mac. It costs $29 as a one-time purchase.

2nd step: Open the software and select the Scan button.

The application will start scanning Mac for irrelevant files and ask you to delete them with one click.

8. Re-Enable Spotlight Index

You have the option to re-enable the Spotlight index from Terminal. Let’s use it and fix Spotlight search not working on Mac.

Step 1: From Launchpad, open Terminal.

2nd step: Run the following command and press Enter to authenticate.

sudo mdutil -Ea

Step 3: Run a few commands to disable and enable Spotlight Index.

sudo mdutil -ai disabled

sudo mdutil -ai on

Close the terminal and start using Spotlight Search.

9. Update macOS

Spotlight Search may not work with buggy macOS software on your Mac. Apple is quickly addressing these issues with prompt updates.

From the System Preferences menu, select Software Update. Install the latest macOS and try your luck with Spotlight.

10. Check the spacebar on your Mac

This solution is most relevant for MacBook users with a butterfly keyboard. Apple announced a program to replace the keyboard for free for affect MacBooks dated 2016. If you are one of the unfortunate with butterfly MacBook keys, the space bar may not work all the time. Sometimes it may record a double space. This could prevent Spotlight search from working on Mac. If you’re having this issue, read our guide on how to fix spacebar on Mac.

Search like a pro on Mac

Spotlight enhances your Mac experience. We use it all the time to switch between apps on Mac. Spotlight is a central part of macOS, and the feature that doesn’t work can leave you frustrated. What trick helped you solve the problem? Share your findings in the comments below.

Brandon D. James