Spotlight in MacOS is a handy way to find files and folders on your Mac. It is often faster than doing a hunt-and-peck on your hard disk or iCloud and it can return file types or folders by name or extension. But if you have private data that you do not want searchable, it returns those files and folders in Spotlight search results too.
Fortunately in MacOS, it is very easy to stop this from happening. Essentially, all you have to do is tell Spotlight that a folder and its contents are private and thus, not searchable. While you could still find the file or folder if you go through Finder, it will at least be hidden from Spotlight. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to change the settings in Spotlight on MacOS so the folders are searchable.
First, go to Settings>Spotlight on your Mac. On the first screen, you will see all of the different types of files or apps which Spotlight will return results on. If you know, for example, you don’t want calculator to show up in search results, simply uncheck it.
For this tutorial, we are interested in the Privacy tab. Tap that at the top of the page and you will see an empty sheet. In this tab is where you will find any folders that are hidden from Spotlight. By default, none are hidden.
In the lower left corner, click on the “+” icon. This will open up Finder in MacOS. Navigate to the folder that you want to hide from Spotlight on your hard disk or in iCloud. Once you find the folder, click on it, then click on “Choose”.
That is all you need to do. You will be taken back to the Privacy page in Spotlight settings. There you will see the folder that you selected. From now on, when you use the search function, files within that folder, and the folder itself, will no longer appear in results.
Clearly you can have more than one folder. To add more, just tap the “+” icon again and add the next folder. Further, you can remove a folder and its contents from being non-searchable by highlight it on the list and clicking the “-” icon.
For more tutorials like this, head over to the Tips & Tricks section. There you will find helpful tips for Apple Watch, iPhone, iOS, and MacOS.