Spotlight Not Working on macOS Sonoma? Reindex It to Fix

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Sarahi Johns
Last updated: Sep 26, 2023
Summary: Having trouble finding what you need with Spotlight on macOS Sonoma? Continue reading this blog to learn how to resolve the issue.

Have you encountered any of the following issues on macOS Sonoma?

  • Spotlight doesn't display apps.
  • Spotlight search isn't functioning.
  • You're not getting the expected results from Spotlight.
  • The Finder search isn't working.

The good news is that all these problems can be resolved by resetting the Spotlight Index. In this blog post, we'll guide you through three easy methods to reindex Spotlight.

Spotlight Not Working on macOS Sonoma? Reindex It

What Spotlight Can Help You Do

Spotlight is a powerful search feature on macOS. It enables you to quickly locate apps, documents, and files. Below the search results, you'll find Siri's suggestions, which provide news, videos, articles, and more related to your search query. Spotlight can also handle calculations and conversions, including currency, temperature, and measurements.

How to Rebuild Spotlight Index on macOS Sonoma

In recent years, Apple has improved Spotlight to enhance its usability. Occasionally, though, you might find that Spotlight can't locate files you're certain are on your Mac. This issue may occur if your system is preventing Spotlight from searching specific folders. To verify if a folder is excluded from the search, go to the Apple menu > System Settings > Siri & Spotlight > Search Results. Folders not selected in this list won't appear in Spotlight search results.

If you've confirmed that a file should be searchable but you still can't find it using Spotlight, your Spotlight index may be corrupted, and it's time to reindex it. Here are some methods you can try.

Method 1. Force Mac to Reindex Spotlight

  1. Click the Apple Menu > System Settings > Siri & Spotlight.
  2. Scroll down to locate Spotlight Privacy and click on it
    Spotlight Indexed Folders
  3. Select the folder or disk to reindex and add it to the list of locations that Spotlight is prevented from searching. Alternatively, you can drag a folder or disk to the list.
    Force Spotlight to Index on Mac
  4. Highlight the folder or disk you just added and click the Minus button to remove it from the list.
  5. Quit System Settings, and Spotlight will start reindexing the contents of the folder or disk.
The amount of time it takes to rebuild the index depends on the size of the folder or disk.
  1. Click the Spotlight icon in the menu bar, enter a keyword to search, and you will find a progress bar indicating Spotlight is indexing.
    Terminal Is Indexing

Method 2. Reindex Spotlight with Terminal

Terminal can also help you rebuild the Spotlight index. All you need is a few commands.

  1. Open Finder, then click Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

    Open Terminal from Finder
  2. In the Terminal, type and run the command: sudo -i.

  3. Enter your administrator password and press Return.

  4. Continue to run the commands: mdutil -Ea and mdutil -ai off.

  5. Enter the command mdutil -ai on and press Return, and you will see a message saying that indexing is enabled.

    How to Reindex Spotlight with Terminal
  6. When you search using Spotlight, it will show that it is indexing.

If your Spotlight still isn't functioning correctly after following these steps, it may be due to a corrupted Spotlight directory. In this case, please run the command mdutil -X after step 4, and then proceed with step 5 to ensure that the index rebuild starts from scratch.

Method 3. Reindex Spotlight with BuhoCleaner: The Easiest Way

If you find the above two methods difficult, consider using BuhoCleaner, a convenient tool that allows you to rebuild the Spotlight index with a single click.

Free DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
100,000+ Satisfied Users Worldwide
  1. Download and install BuhoCleaner on your Mac.
  2. Launch it and click the Toolkit in the sidebar.
  3. Select Reindex Spotlight, then click the Start button.
Reindex Spotlight with BuhoCleaner


We hope your Spotlight search is now working correctly. If not, consider restarting or updating your Mac.

By the way, BuhoCleaner offers many more features for you to explore. Feel free to give it a try!

Sarahi Johns

Content-making editor, with sharp eyes on macOS and iOS updates, sharing the latest related issues.