How to Rebuild Spotlight Index on Mac

rebuild spotlight

One of the most tiring things to happen to an individual using a computer is looking for a feature, an app, or a file on his computer without success. There are many things users search for on their computers other than music, applications, files, and videos. They will search for as well bookmarks, web browser history, and specific words in documents.

For many users, especially computer geeks, the root cause of this issue is relatively unknown, while for those the known reason for this annoying issue is simply because these missing apps, files, and features have not been indexed. Spotlight indexing is a software-based operation and it is the process by which an index is created for all items and files on your Mac system including but not limited to documents, audio, and video files.

Spotlighting is peculiar to Apple Macs and the iOS operating system alone. It is an almost seamless and stressless operation especially if it is done according to instructions, for computer systems like the macOS, depending on the number of files present on your Mac, it will take between 25 minutes to several hours to complete the indexing. Spotlighting is an exclusive preserve of the operating system as this system is responsible for saving and arranging every item from the very first time the user logs into the system. While there have been much applause and pundits for the Spotlight, many Mac users have been and are still concerned about privacy issues as Apple collects every search item using the spotlight.

Why You Need to Rebuild Spotlight on Mac

From the introduction, it is evident why Spotlight needs to be rebuilt in the event the index of your Apple Mac and iOS system crashes. We have selected a few reasons why you should rebuild your Spotlight as highlighted below.

  • Searches will become tedious and completely impossible without a Spotlight.
  • Files such as PDFs, and ePubs saved on Mac may become inaccessible when needed.
  • Accessing definitions on Apple’s built-in NewOxfordd dictionary becomes impossible without a rebuilt Spotlight.
  • Accessing the calculator function on your Mac is impossible without a Spotlight index.
  • Information about creation dates of apps/document/contents in files, modification dates, sizes of apps/documents, file types, and others. “File attribute” allows the user to narrow down searches that will become impossible with a Spotlight index.
  • Indexes of files on Mac such as external hard drives that are connected to the system or have been connected to the system will be extremely difficult to access.
  • Simple operations like initiating a query become extremely complex if the Spotlight index is not rebuilt.

How to Rebuild Spotlight Index on Mac (Easy & Quick)

Step 1. Install MacDeed Mac Cleaner

First, download Mac Cleaner and install it.

MacDeed Mac Cleaner

Step 2. Reindex Spotlight

Click “Maintenance” on the left, and then select “Reindex Spotlight”. Now hit “Run” to reindex Spotlight.

Mac Cleaner Reindex Spotlight

Just in two steps, you can fix and rebuild the Spotlight index with MacDeed Mac Cleaner in an easy way.

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How to Rebuild Spotlight Index on Mac via The Manual Way

There is so much comfort in knowing that a faulty and dysfunctional Spotlight index can be built manually. We have drawn out a list of how this procedure can be completed quickly, easily, and definitely in record time, and consult the list below.

  • On your Mac, open the Apple menu (it usually has the Apple icon).
  • The first procedure is followed by you accessing the System Preferences.
  • Follow this procedure by clicking the Privacy tab.
  • The next procedure is to drag the folder, file, or disk that you were unable to index but would want to be indexed again to the list of locations. Another way to achieve this is to click the “Add (+)” button and select the folder, file, application, or disk you want to add.
  • In some cases, there might be files, folders, and applications that you might want to remove, this operation can be achieved by clicking the “Remove (-)” button.
  • Close the System Preference window.
  • The spotlight will index the added content.

An important point to note is that any Apple macOS, like Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), Mac OS X 10.6, Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), OS X 10.10 (Yosemite), OS X 10.11 (El Capitan), macOS 10.12 (Sierra), macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), macOS 10.14 (Mojave), macOS 10.15 (Catalina), macOS 11 (Big Sur), macOS 12 (Monterey), macOS 13 (Ventura) requires that you have the permission of ownership for an item to add it.

How to Disable Spotlight Search on Mac

There may be not any ostensible reason to disable Spotlight Search on your Mac. But in cases when you would like to wipe your Mac out for sale, we have also highlighted a series of steps you can follow to disable Spotlight Search on your Mac. These steps are easy to follow and you can achieve the expected results.

We must state that there are two ways to disable Spotlight Search on your Mac. You can choose the way you want. It depends on if the operation about to be done is selective or complete.

How to Completely Disable Spotlight Search of Items

  • Click on the Search/Finder portal.
  • Select the option labeled Go.
  • Under the option, select Utilities.
  • Under the option, select Terminal.
  • Type this command to disable indexing:
    sudo launchctl load -w
  • Reboot your Mac.

How to Selectively Disable Indexed Items

This operation can be completed in less than six quick steps all you need to do is:

  • Click on the Search/Finder portal.
  • Select the Apple menu (showing the Apple icon).
  • Select System Preferences.
  • At the top row of System Preferences, select Spotlight.
  • Uncheck the items you want the Spotlight to un-index.
  • Reboot your system.


The search tool Spotlight can be used on iPhone and Mac, and its presence on Mac and iOS devices helps the user search and find files, folders, apps, pre-saved dates, alarms, timers, audio, and media files quickly. Spotlight feature is one of the best features of Mac that you must love to use. So if there is something wrong with your Spotlight, you can follow this guide to rebuild your Spotlight on Mac to fix it by yourself.

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