HomeHow ToHow to Exclude Specific Folders & Files from Mac Spotlight Search

How to Exclude Specific Folders & Files from Mac Spotlight Search



With just a tap on your keyboard, you can quickly access documents, folders, apps, and more on your Mac computer. Spotlight Search will quickly launch suggested files, folders and other results including those from the web when you enter the keywords you are looking for. You can press the Command button then the Spacebar to launch the Spotlight Search on a macOS computer or press the Spotlight icon in the menu bar.

However, not everyone wants to show all their folders and documents on the Spotlight Search results. If you lend your Mac to someone, they can easily check your files without browsing through Finder. Even accidentally, they can see the related folders and apps if they enter a keyword. Not to mention the added weight on your computer’s memory everyone is seeps through all those files and folders.

SEE ALSO: How to Get Apple Student Discount on MacBook, iPad or iMac


If you don’t like others to see specific folders or files on your Mac Spotlight Search results, you can easily exclude or remove those items including certain hard drives from your macOS search index settings.

How to Remove Specific Drives, Folders and Files from Spotlight Search Results on macOS

It is quick and easy to exclude folders and files that you don’t want to show on your Spotlight Search index. If you change your mind, you can always add it back. This method works on MacBook Air, MacBook Pro as well as iMac with the latest macOS version installed. Follow the steps below.

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Screenshot: Windows Dispatch
  • On the top left corner of your Mac, click the Apple icon.
  • Select System Preferences.
  • Look for Spotlight and click to open it.
  • Navigate to the Privacy tab.
  • At the bottom, click the Plus sign button.
  • Now, look for the folder or file that you want to exclude.
  • Highlight the folder and click Choose.
  • Do the same process until you listed all the folders that you want to exclude.

Note that you can only exclude the folder and not the specific file in the settings. If you want to add the folder back to your Spotlight Searches, go back to the Privacy tab under Spotlight. Highlight the folder and click the Minus sign button to remove it. If you need to exclude a single file, you can put it in a folder and then add it to the macOS Spotlight exclusion list.

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Are there specific folders that you want to remove from your Spotlight Search result? What are your reasons? We would love to know them. Please write us a comment below.


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