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, Spotlight 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 Spotlight preferences
You may have removed items from Spotlight search results. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Spotlight, then click Search Results.
You may have excluded certain folders or disks from searches. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Spotlight, then click Privacy.
You may have turned off Location Services for Spotlight Suggestions. See Spotlight Suggestions.
For more information about Spotlight preferences, see Change Spotlight preferences.
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 items in backups.