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MacOS Big Sur - and the case of the missing entries in Spotlight

Posted at — Apr 19, 2021

I heavily rely on Spotlight to start applications when I’m on MacOS. I generally disable a majority of things that end up in the Spotlight index and only leave applications as that’s the primary thing I’m wanting to be accessible when I use spotlight via its keyboard shortcut cmd+space.

I recently went through the upgrade procedure to get MacOS Big Sur on one of my machines and noticed that my applications were completely missing from Spotlight. After some brief searching, I came across a stack exchange[1] that seemed to have a solution that works. For bookmarking purposes, I’ll record the commands from that entry that worked for me (should I ever need to do it again).

The gist is basically retriggering an index by stopping and starting spotlight.

Stop Spotlight:

sudo mdutil -a -i off

Start Spotlight:

sudo mdutil -a -i on 

The other commands to load and unload Spotlight did not work on my machine as I have some Integrity Protection system that must be enabled. I don’t really have details on it, but since simply stopping and starting resolved my issue, I left it at that.

[1]Source: Apple Stack Exchange