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Spotlight Search Not Working Mac?- Ultimate Guide To Resolve

The spotlight is an in-built search system of Mac that helps its users to find apps and files. Additionally, it also includes various options to browse the Internet. Nowadays, most of the Mac users work with Spotlight on a daily basis. But, despite this fame, it is not free from technical glitches. Sometimes, the search results may become incorrect or it becomes unable to search files, even though the apps or data is already present in Mac storage. When the Spotlight search not working Mac issue arises, then the search results start to create doubts.  

If you are in the same condition, then there is nothing to worry. There are different ways available to re-index the storage as well as to troubleshoot these issues. Here in this article, we are going to describe some of the most general methods to fix these issues. Hence, you are advised to go through the below guideline.

The Problems: Spotlight Search not Working Mac

There are various types of Spotlight issues that the user have to face often, that are given below:

  1. The menu icon of the Spotlight highlights, but still there are no search results.
  2. Search result of the Spotlight appears, but it doesn’t show any results.
  3. Spotlight search runs well, but the results are incomplete as well as poor.  

Fix Mac Spotlight not Working Issue with Amazing Tips and Tricks

Several users complained about different issues, including common problems whereby Spotlight showed issues after updating the Operating System. The corrupted Spotlight index, either for a part of storage or for entire the storage is the main cause of this problem. However, you have to fix it to continue using the Spotlight feature. Hence, you need to stick to the steps mentioned below.

Close UI Server of the System:  

At first, you need to start by resetting a particular procedure. This easy and quick step can solve most of the issues related to the Spotlight. First, open the Finder and launch the Activity Monitor. Then, click on the Applications folder. Now, click on the Utilities and select the option ‘Activity Monitor.’ Now, you have look for the SystemUIServer from the list, under the Activity Monitor window. You also can use the search field to find the SystemUIServer quickly. Choose this procedure, and hit the Quit button. When you exit from this process, then the dock and the menu bar will reload within a few seconds. This indicates that the procedure has fixed the issue. After that, you have to check if the Mac Spotlight not working issue is solved or not.

Use the Disk Utility to Verify the Startup Disk:

The Disk Utility includes Startup Disk, that is a diagnostic tool. This proves to be useful when you are facing different technical problems on the Mac device. Sometimes, this diagnostic tool is enough to fix the Spotlight search not working Mac issue. At first, restart the system to enter the Recovery Mode. Now, when you hear the startup sound, then you need to hold the R and Command both at the same time until the Mac Operating System Utilities appears. Choose the option ‘Disk Utility’ from the menu prompted by the window.

Then, select the Startup Disk. Hit on the First Aid icon. You can find this option on the upper side of the display. Hit on the ‘Run to launch’ option by going to the Repair tool, that checks as well as starts the servicing process of the disk. If the First Aid reports not fix all the errors, then you need to launch this again. Now, repeat such steps several times. After that, restart the Mac device. Now, you have to check if the Spotlight Search works.

Change Desktop Resolution:

This may look like an unusual solution, but according to several users it is beneficial when the search form does not seem to highlight the Spotlight list icon. Click on the ‘System Reference’ on the Mac. Open the Display and then, choose a resolution that is less than the current power. You need to keep in mind, that 640 X 480 resolution always runs well. When the resolution is modified, then you need to return to the original resolution so, that the display can return to its initial position. After that, test the Spotlight feature. This often fixes the Spotlight search not working Mac problem.

Set Preferences of the Spotlight:

If you can’t get the expected results, then you need to assure that the Preferences of the Spotlight are correct. Open System Preferences of Mac and then, choose the option Spotlight. Now, you have to review the Search Results tab to assure that all the expected results are enabled through the checkbox beside every title.

Next, you need to assure that the Spotlight is not eliminating the essential applications or folders by going to the Privacy tab. If everything looks right, then hit on the ‘+’ (Add) icon from the list. Then, choose the Startup Disk or the folders for which results are not showing in the search of Spotlight. If you prefer you can drag the folders that you want to re-index in the list and click on the YES button for the warning notification. When you have chosen all the folders or the whole disk, then you need to click to choose them. Then, hit the ‘-’ (Remove) button. You can find this Remove button at the bottom of the list.

After that, exit from the System Preferences, then the Spotlight will start the re-indexing procedure for the listed drive or folders. In case the Mac search not working issue still occurs, then you should move out to the next method given below.

Check the Spotlight Re-indexing Procedure:

The re-indexing procedure never shows any messages or any specific progress bar. But still, you can verify if the Spotlight is still continuing its process using the Activity Monitor of Mac. At first, you need to open the Activity Monitor. To open the Activity Monitor, first, you need to go to the Application folder and then, open the Finder.

Now, open the Utilities and then, run the application. When the window prompts, type ‘msworker’ on the search field. As a result, the Activity Monitor will present all the re-indexing processes related to the Spotlight. This list will make sure that the re-indexing procedure is still running on the system. If there are no processes running in the Activity monitor, then you need to use the Spotlight again. Keep in mind that the process can take a few minutes. The time depends on the files number stored on the specific disk or folders.  

Manually Launch the Re-indexing Procedure through Terminal:

After resetting the Spotlight preference, if the Activity Monitor of the Mac sees any existing ‘mdworker’ processes, then you have to start the re-indexing process manually with the help of the Terminal. Open the command line of the Mac using Finder, under the Apps folder. Now, you need to go to the Utilities and then, click on the ‘Run Terminal’ option. When the windows prompt the command line, then you need to type the command ‘sudo mdutil -E’ and then, hit the return key from the keyboard to run the command. You have to make sure the action by typing the password for your administrator account.

Now, this will initiate the re-indexing procedure for all the Mac drives, including external disks. If you want to re-index a particular drive, then you should use the command ‘sudo mdutil -E /Volumes/(name of specific drive).’ As we mentioned earlier that the re-indexing procedure always takes some time based on the volume of data saved on the drive. Hence, you need to wait until the Terminal becomes effective again. When you complete this process, then try to open the Spotlight and check if your Spotlight search not working Mac problem is fixed or not.

On the Whole

In the above discussion, we have provided some of the easiest solutions to fix the Spotlight search not working Mac. We hope if you successfully perform all the steps given above in their respective order, then it will help you to put an end to this issue. After performing the above solutions, if you still face any further problem, then you can get advise from a tech expert. For further query, you can leave your comments in the section below.