3 Ways to Rebuild the Index of Spotlight on macOS

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Sarahi Johns

5 min read

Have you encountered any of the following problems?

  • Spotlight doesn't show apps.
  • Finder search does not work.
  • Spotlight search doesn't work.
  • You cannot get the expected results from Spotlight.

Actually, you're not alone. All these problems can be solved by resetting the Spotlight Index. Keep reading this blog, and we'll walk you through how to reindex Spotlight on macOS in 3 easy ways. 

3 Ways to Rebuild the Index of Spotlight on macOS

What Spotlight Can Help You Do

Spotlight is a handy search feature on macOS. It allows you to quickly find apps, documents, and other files. With Siri's suggestions below the results list, you can also get the news, videos, articles, and more about the keyword you're searching for. In addition, Spotlight can perform calculations and conversions for currency, temperature, and measurement.

How to Reindex Spotlight on Mac

In recent years, Apple has enhanced this feature to make it easier to use. Sometimes, however, you can't use Spotlight to find the file you're sure is stored on your Mac. The reason for the problem may be that your system is blocking Spotlight from searching the folder where the file is located. To check if a file is prevented from being searched, click Apple menu > System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results. The deselected folders in the list will not appear in the Spotlight search results. 

How to Check Spotlight Search Results

If you have confirmed that the file is included in the search result, but you still can't find it through Spotlight, it means your index may be damaged, and you need to reindex your Spotlight. In the following sections, we will show you how to rebuild the index of Spotlight in two simple ways. Let's take a look now.

Method 1. Force Mac to Reindex Spotlight

  1. Click the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Spotlight. Open Spotlight Settings
  2. Switch to the Privacy tab and click on the Plus button. How to Force Mac to Reindex Spotlight
  3. Select the folder or disk you want to reindex and add it to the list of locations that Spotlight is prevented from searching. Or you can drag the fold or disk to the list.
  4. Highlight the fold or disk you just added and click the Minus button to remove it from the list. How to Force Mac to Rebuild the Spotlight Index
  5. Quit System Preferences. The Spotlight will begin to reindex the contents in the folder or disk.
  1. Click the Spotlight icon in the menu bar, enter a word to search for, and you will find a progress bar on it that reminds you that the indexing is not complete. Index In Progress

Method 2. Reindex Spotlight with Terminal

Also, you can use Terminal to rebuild the Spotlight index in quick, easy steps. 

  1. Click Applications > Utilities > Terminal. Open Terminal
  2. In the Terminal, type and run the command: sudo -i.
  3. Enter your administrator password and press Enter. Your Terminal changes to root.
  4. Continue to run the commands: mdutil -Ea and mdutil -ai off.
  5. Enter the command mdutil -ai on and press the Return. 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.

Method 3. Reindex Spotlight with BuhoCleaner - The Easy Way

If you find the above two methods are difficult, you can give BuhoCleaner a try. BuhoCleaner has a built-in Spotlight re-indexing function, which allows you to rebuild the Spotlight index with one click.

  1. Download and install BuhoCleaner on your Mac.
  2. Launch it and click the Toolkit in the sidebar.
  3. Click the search icon > Start.

Reindex Spotlight with BuhoCleaner

Conclusion

Now you have 3 ways to rebuild the index of Spotlight. Next time you have issues with Spotlight or Finder search, don't forget to choose either of these ways to reindex your Spotlight.

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