If searching your Mac returns unexpected results
If you search your Mac and get unexpected search results, try these suggestions.
Check the text you entered in the search field
Make sure the word or phrase is spelled correctly.
To search for an exact phrase, enclose it in quotation marks. For example, enter “trip to Paris” to find items that contain that exact phrase. If you don’t use quotation marks, the search results include items that contain those words in any order.
Check the location you’re searching
If you began your search in Spotlight, the search results can include email, Calendar events, Siri Suggestions, information from other apps and more. If you began your search in a Finder window, the search results include only files and folders on the internal disk.
Check settings in Siri & Spotlight settings
You may have excluded items from Spotlight searches. To check, choose Apple menu > System Settings, then click Siri & Spotlight in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.) In “Search results” on the right, items whose tickboxes are unselected aren’t included in search results. See Choose suggestion categories for Spotlight.
You may have excluded certain folders or disks from Spotlight searches. To check, choose Apple menu > System Settings, click Siri & Spotlight in the sidebar, then click Spotlight Privacy. (You may need to scroll down.) See Prevent Spotlight searches in files.
You may have turned off Location Services for Siri Suggestions. See Turn off Siri Suggestions.
For more information about Spotlight settings, see Siri & Spotlight settings.
Check archives and backups
To find a file in an archive, such as a disk image or a .zip file, double-click the archive to open it, then search again.
If you’re using Time Machine to back up your Mac, use Spotlight with Time Machine to find and recover files in backups.