How to Fix Spotlight Search in High Sierra?

Those who use a Mac every day know that files keep steadily accumulating on the device’s drive to the point at which it becomes extremely difficult to find a specific photo or an audio track. Being one of the most forward-looking tech companies on the market, Apple has devised a way to find virtually anything on a Mac. Spotlight is a neat feature that can be used to find documents, pictures, apps, and other files on macOS-based computers. Not only Spotlight is useful for finding documents on a Mac, but it is also helpful for discovering new information on the Web through Spotlight Suggestions.

On most occasions, Spotlight functions properly; however, sometimes, it fails to rebuild the index of Mac’s drive contents and stops working. Spotlight failures have been increasingly reported after the introduction of macOS High Sierra. The article helps to correct the issue and return the normal functioning of Spotlight.

How Spotlight Works

To perform its primary function, Spotlight searches indexed metadata for file matches. When a file on a Mac is created or modified, Spotlight engine is informed by the kernel that index files should be updated. When a user creates a search query through a client app, Spotlight engine searches for metadata that corresponds to the query. If there is a match, the results are return and grouped. In case the metadata indexes have not updated, Spotlight will not be able to find recently created or modified files. If after upgrading a Mac to High Sierra, a user notices that a Spotlight search doesn’t produce correct results, it’s a sign that the app has to be re-indexed.

What Needs to Be Done to Fix Spotlight

First Aid function of Disk Utility can help to solve the Spotlight issue. Disk Utility is an app for performing internal and external storage-related tasks. Follow these steps to correct the issue:

  1. Boot a Mac in Recovery Mode by pressing and holding the Command+R key combination;
  2. In a window that opens during the restart, select Disk Utility;
  3. In the Disk Utility, select the First Aid tab;
  4. Click on the Run button;
  5. After First Aid finishes checking for errors on a drive, restart the Mac.
  6. Open Spotlight by either clicking on its icon in the menu bar or pressing the Command-Space key combination and run a search.

If First Aid doesn’t improve the functioning of Spotlight, then it is necessary to re-index a volume. To this end:

  1. Click on the Apple Menu;
  2. Go to the System Preferences;
  3. Click on the Spotlight and go to the Privacy tab;
  4. Add a folder or volume that needs to be re-indexed to a window that opens (alternatively use the + sign);
  5. Wait ten seconds and use the sign to remove an item from the window;
  6. Close the Privacy tab;
  7. Quit System Preferences;
  8. Quit Spotlight.

By adding a volume or a folder to the Privacy tab, a user initiates re-indexing, which is necessary to restore the normal functioning of Spotlight. Activity Monitor can be used to check whether the process of re-indexing has indeed been initiated. Launch Activity Monitor from the Utility Folder. Then, click on the CPU tab and enter mdworker in the search box. If an item is being re-indexed, then a user will see several processes named mdworker.