Spotlight Not Working on macOS Monterey? Reindex It to Fix

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Sarahi Johns
Oct 15, 20214 min read

Summary: Can't find what you're looking for with Spotlight on macOS Monterey? Read on this blog to learn how to fix the problem.

Have you ever encountered any of the following problems on macOS Monterey?

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

Actually, all these problems can be solved by resetting the Spotlight Index. In this blog post, we'll walk you through how to reindex Spotlight in 3 easy ways. 

Spotlight Not Working on macOS Monterey? Reindex It

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 news, videos, articles, and more about the keyword you're searching for. Additionally, Spotlight can perform calculations and conversions for currency, temperature, and measurement.

How to Rebuild Spotlight Index on macOS Monterey

In recent years, Apple has enhanced this feature to make it easier to use. Sometimes, however, you can't use Spotlight to find files you're sure are stored on your Mac. The cause of 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 searching, click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results. Folders not selected in the list will not appear in the Spotlight search results. 

How to Check Spotlight Search Results

If you've confirmed that a file is searchable but you still can't find it with Spotlight, your Spotlight index may be corrupt and you need to reindex it. Here are some ways you can try.

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 the Plus button.
    How to Force Mac to Reindex Spotlight
  3. Select the folder or disk to reindex and add it to the list of locations that Spotlight is prevented from searching. Or you can drag a folder 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, and the Spotlight will start reindexing the contents of the folder or disk. 
Note
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.
    Index In Progress

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
  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.

Method 3. Reindex Spotlight with BuhoCleaner: The Easiest Way

If you find the above two methods difficult, try BuhoCleaner, a handy tool that lets you 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. Select Reindex Spotlight, then click the Start button.
Reindex Spotlight with BuhoCleaner

Conclusion

We hope your Spotlight search is working properly. If not, try restarting or updating your Mac.

By the way, BuhoCleaner has many more features waiting for you to explore. Go ahead and try it yourself.

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