OS X El Capitan: Spotlight preferences

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Spotlight preferences

In Spotlight preferences, choose the categories that appear in Spotlight search results. If you want, you can also keep Spotlight from searching specific folders or disks.

To open Spotlight preferences, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Spotlight.

Search Results pane

Choose which categories appear in Spotlight search results: Select the categories you want to include, deselect those you don’t.

By default, Spotlight results include Spotlight Suggestions, Bing Web Searches, conversions, documents, folders, music, and more.

Allow Spotlight Suggestions in Spotlight and Look Up: Show Spotlight Suggestions in results when you search in Spotlight and look up a word.

If you don’t want your Spotlight and Look Up search queries and Spotlight Suggestions usage data sent to Apple, you can turn off Spotlight Suggestions. Deselect the “Allow Spotlight Suggestions in Spotlight and Look Up” checkbox (which automatically removes Spotlight Suggestions from the list), then deselect the Bing Web Searches checkbox in the list. With the checkboxes turned off, Spotlight searches only the contents of your Mac, and Look Up searches only the dictionary on your Mac.

You can turn off Location Services for Spotlight Suggestions in Security & Privacy preferences. If you turn off Location Services on your Mac, your precise location will not be sent to Apple. For detailed instructions and information, see About Spotlight Suggestions.

Privacy pane

Keep Spotlight from searching locations: Click the Add button , then locate the folder or disk you want to exclude. You can also drag folders or disks into the list.

Remove a folder or disk from the exclusion list: Select the folder or disk, then click the Remove button .

If you add a Time Machine backup disk to the privacy list, you will continue to see messages that Spotlight is indexing your backup disk. This indexing is necessary for Time Machine to function properly and can’t be disabled. Spotlight does exclude from searches any items you store on your backup disk that are not part of a Time Machine backup.

Important:   If you add certain files and folders to the privacy list you may not be notified when updates become available for some apps. If you add your entire internal disk to the privacy list, you won’t be notified about any updates.

Set Spotlight shortcuts

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, then click Shortcuts.

  2. Select Spotlight on the left, then change the shortcuts.

    For more information about changing keyboard shortcuts, see Use global keyboard shortcuts.

Published Date: Sep 16, 2017
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