How to Use the New Spotlight Search in Mac OS X Yosemite to Find Anything

Mac OS X Yosemite Spotlight

Mac OS X’s Spotlight feature has long allowed you to search for anything on your hard drive, but OS X Yosemite takes it even further. You now can get results from the Internet, maps, iTunes, and more. Here’s how to use the new spotlight and turn off the extra features if you don’t need them.

1. Click the magnifying glass in the upper left corner of the screen. You can also type Cmd-space.

Yosemite Spotlight

2. Enter a search term in the search bar.

spotlight search in Yosemite

3. Scan through the results in the left column. Spotlight will find results of many kinds, including:

results in Yosemite Spotlight

  • App Store apps
    Search the App Store
  • Definitions
  • Maps
  • Websites
    Websites like Wikipedia
  • iTunes

How to Manage Spotlight Preferences Including Turning Off the Additional Results

1. Select Spotlight from System Preferences.
Spotlight Preferences

2. Uncheck the items you don’t want showing in the results. You can also drag the categories around to display the most useful categories first.

Uncheck what you don't want

3. In the “Privacy” pane, click the plus icon to add folders you never want to display in the results.

Add directories not to search

4. Navigate to Security & Privacy in System Preferences and click on the “Privacy” tab.

Security and Privacy Preferences

5. Select “Location Services”, scroll down to find the “System Services” and click “Details…”

System Services Details...

6. Uncheck “Spotlight Suggestions” to prevent the Spotlight from using your location. You can also display an icon in the menu bar when your location is requested by System Services.

Locations for System Services

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