Mac notebooks: Spotlight indexing may make the fans run

Sometimes you may notice that your computer's fans run on high after you perform a data migration from another computer and Spotlight begins to index your hard drive for the first time.

After you complete your data migration, Spotlight automatically indexes the contents of your hard drive. This activity may increase the CPU utilization and your computer may become warm. Your computer's fans should turn on and run to cool your computer. After Spotlight completes its index, the computer and its fans should return to a normal idle state (although in some cases this could take up to several hours). After a file has been indexed, Spotlight updates the index only if that file is modified.

Note: For additional information regarding operating temperature on Mac notebooks, see Mac notebooks: Operating temperature.

To confirm Spotlight is indexing:

  1. Click the magnifying glass icon in the upper-right corner of your display.
  2. If your computer is indexing, a message and a progress bar will appear. The magnifying glass will also have a tiny dot in the middle.
    Spotlight will be available as soon as the contents of your hard drive have been indexed.


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You can also prevent Spotlight from indexing certain folders.

  1. Open System Preferences and select Spotlight. (From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences, then choose Spotlight from the View menu.)
  2. Under Privacy, add specific files to exclude from the indexing process. Note: Although you can exclude your entire hard drive this way, doing so may prevent search features in applications from functioning properly.
    Spotlight System Preferences, privacy


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