Hide files and folders from Spotlight in OS X

How to prevent certain files and folders from showing in Spotlight search results

Spotlight is a terrific tool when you need to find something in OS X on your Mac. But it can also be a privacy concern if you have files and folders that you'd rather not have seen in Spotlight's search results.

In this tip I'll show you how you can easily hide specific files and folders from being displayed by Spotlight.

How to hide specific files and folders from Spotlight in OS X

Just follow these simple steps to hide specific files and folders from Spotlight's search results:

1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.

2. Click on Spotlight.

3. Click the Privacy tab.

4. Click the + tab and add the specific file or folders that you want hidden from Spotlight's search results.

5. Spotlight will still index the file or folder but it will not appear in any search results.

hide files and folders in spotlight search results osx

How to hide entire categories from Spotlight search results in OS X

It's also possible to hide entire categories from Spotlight's search results. Just follow these steps to do this:

1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.

2. Click on Spotlight

3. In the Search Results tab you'll see a list of categories.

4. Uncheck the box next to the category that you want hidden from Spotlight's search results.

hide categories in spotlight search results osx

For example, if you don't want the Fonts category showing up in your Spotlight search results, just uncheck the box next to it. Getting rid of certain categories can be a great way of filtering things out that just don't care about and don't want to see when you do a Spotlight search.

Spotlight in OS X is a great tool that you can make even better

I give Apple credit for making Spotlight so customizable. Once you take a few minutes and set it up the way you want, you'll find that it's even better than just using it in its default state.

For example, while writing this post I realized that I hate seeing Bing Web Searches showing up in Spotlight search results. So I unchecked that box and got rid of them. I do most of my Web searches right in my browser window, I never use Spotlight for them. So it was good to just get rid of them so I didn't see Bing search results when I wanted to find something on my Mac.

Unfortunately, I wonder how many Mac users take the time to customize Spotlight or are even aware that they can do it? Well, hopefully the folks that don't know about it will eventually discover how to do it. I've found that Spotlight becomes even more useful once you filter out or hide the things you don't want showing up in its search results.

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