Rebuild Spotlight Index to Fix Search Issues

Spotlight is a handy system-wide search feature that allows Mac users to quickly locate a wide variety of items on their devices. Have you encountered any issue when searching something via the Spotlight? If Spotlight Search does not return expected results on your Mac, you can rebuild the Spotlight index to help fix the issue.

Here are the simple steps to rebuild the entire Spotlight index on a Mac:

  1. Head to the Apple menu and then choose System Preferences from there.
  2. Click Spotlight in the System Preferences panel, and then click the Privacy tab.
  3. Drag the folder or disk you want to index again to the list of locations that Spotlight is prevented from searching. Or you can click the Add (+) button below and select the folder or disk to add.
  4. When prompted, click OK in the pop-up window to confirm the change.
  5. From the same list of locations, select the folder or disk that you just added, and then click the Remove (-) button below to remove it from the list.

Adding a disk to the Prevent list means the disk will not be indexed by Spotlight and you will not be provided the results from it. Deleting the disk from the list will let Spotlight rebuild the index of the disk. After that, you can click to quit System Preferences, and try if you could get accurate search results through Spotlight.

If that does not work, there’s an advanced option you can try. Do the followings:

  • Open up Terminal from Applications/Utilities folder, or via Spotlight.
  • Type in the following command in the Terminal window: sudo mdutil -E /
  • Enter your password when prompted, and hit Enter key to execute the command.

The deletion command will cause Spotlight to delete the old index and re-catalog your entire hard drive. It may take some time to complete the indexing process. You can click the Search box to display the Spotlight menu and check the process.

Does this troubleshooting guide help solve your Spotlight issues? Are you able to successfully rebuild your Spotlight index with the tricks? Any comment is welcomed.


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