How to Disable and Re-Enable Spotlight Indexing on Your Mac

How to Disable and Re-Enable Spotlight Indexing on Your Mac

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These are instructions on how to disable and re-enable Spotlight indexing on Mac OS X Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lion.

How to Disable and Re-Enable Spotlight Indexing on Your Mac

Disable Spotlight
Launch Terminal from the Applications:Utilities folder.
How to Disable and Re-Enable Spotlight Indexing on Your Mac

Input the following command into the Terminal window and press Return.

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
How to Disable and Re-Enable Spotlight Indexing on Your Mac

Enter your administrative password when prompted.
How to Disable and Re-Enable Spotlight Indexing on Your Mac

Notice Spotlight no longer functions as it did.
How to Disable and Re-Enable Spotlight Indexing on Your Mac


Enable Spotlight
To re-enable spotlight simply enter the following command into the Terminal window.

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
How to Disable and Re-Enable Spotlight Indexing on Your Mac

Spotlight will begin indexing again and the feature will work as it did before.
How to Disable and Re-Enable Spotlight Indexing on Your Mac

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A.Torres - February 20, 2017 at 9:16pm
Thanks from Brazil !!
M_Square - June 3, 2016 at 2:32am
This helped a lot. I have been trying off and on for weeks to re-enable my Spotlight and this was the only one to work. Thank you.
zaknafindel - March 8, 2016 at 4:28pm
Yes! This worked for me, many thanks
MikeM - May 17, 2015 at 4:28pm
You don't need terminal to reindex: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201716
Nat - May 17, 2015 at 12:26pm
Who would want to disable a clever feature?
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