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Fix: Safari not showing in Spotlight Search

Fixing Spotlight Search results not displaying the Safari browser? Troubleshoot and resolve this issue to launch Safari from Spotlight Search quickly.

The macOS has the spotlight search feature that allows to quickly open any applications or document stored in the system. However, it might face any intermittent issue that stop Safari browser from displaying in search result. In that case, we can check the Spotlight settings page under System settings, reindex the Applications folder to include Safari, and even restart the system for fixing temporary glitch.

Fix: Safari not showing in Spotlight Search

The Spotlight Search (shortcut: Cmd + Spacebar) feature on Macbook is a convenient way to access all your apps just by searching for them. It only takes you to type a few letters, and Spotlight gives you a list of correct recommendations. Undoubtedly, this feature has been serving really well until the recent Mac upgrade.

Apple users who have upgraded their Macs to macOS Sierra or higher versions encounter issues with the Spotlight Search. Per the user’s reports, Spotlight Search no longer provides them with the right search results.

More specifically, if they try to access Safari through Spotlight, the search results do not show the proper result anywhere on the list. Instead, it comes up with some inappropriate suggestions. And no matter how often you try a different word combination or type the entire name, it doesn’t affect the result.

Well, that must not be a big deal, as we can manually look for these apps. However, after delivering for so long, it seems to disturb the entire user experience of Mac users completely.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry anymore, as there are a few workarounds available to make things right. All you go to do is follow us till the end to develop a fix for Spotlight Search issues on Mac.

If Spotlight does not yield the correct result for Safari or any other searches, it might be due to a few possible reasons. In case this doesn’t help, another way of fixing the issue is by rebuilding your Spotlight index.

Re-check your Input Text

If your Spotlight Search doesn’t yield the right suggestion, firstly, make sure to check whether you have made any typos in the Search. Type the words correctly to get the appropriate results.

Spotlight Search shows you a list of suggestions based on your search text. But it randomly shows all those results that may contain words in the same sequence as in the input text.

For instance, if you type safari, the search result might show all the resources containing saf.... And this has often troubled the users. Therefore, if that is what you are going through, consider using double-quotations to contain the word or phrase something like this "safari". It will increase the probability of generating more accurate results.

Include the Applications in Spotlight Search

If you are particularly experiencing this issue for Safari or any other application, it might happen if the Applications folder is excluded from your Spotlight Search. Here’s how to include them in your Spotlight Search:

  1. Click on the Apple apple logo menu and select System Settings options.
    Apple Menubar with System Settings highlightedIt will open the Safari Settings window.
  2. On the sidebar, open Siri & Spotlight and enable the checkbox for the Applications folder.
    Include Applications items in Spotlight search on Mac

Since the Safari app is inside the Applications folder, it will automatically include it in search results. Once you are done, try to access Safari through Spotlight Search again.

Re-index Spotlight Search

If the above fixes don’t work, you may have to re-index your Spotlight Search. Now, this process varies based on the macOS you are using. The earlier versions than Ventura and the later ones have some changes with the options. Well, we have mentioned how to re-index the search for both, so make sure to check which macOS you are using before going through the steps.

Re-indexing on Ventura and later

For the later versions of macOS, the process is a bit different. Here’s how to re-index the Spotlight Search on Ventura and all later versions.

  1. Click on the Apple apple logo menu and select System Settings options.
    Apple Menubar with System Settings highlightedIt will open the Safari Settings window.
  2. On the sidebar, open Siri & Spotlight and scroll down to click on the Spotlight Privacy button.
    Spotlight Privacy Settings command on macOSIt will open the Spotlight Privacy pop-up window.
  3. Click on Plus + to add the Applications folder for indexing and hit on the Done button.
    Adding Applications folder into Spotlight Privacy window
  4. Again, open the Spotlight Privacy window and remove the same Applications folder using the Minus command from the list.
    Remove Applications Folder from the Spotlight Privacy window
  5. Hit the Done button and close the System Settings window.

Reindexing will start in the background and will take time based on the size of the folder. Later, you can try searching for Safari on Spotlight Search.

Re-indexing on earlier versions

The system settings window got a facelift after the Mac Ventura upgrade. Hence, the steps for reindexing spotlight search will be slightly different than the latest macOS version. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to Apple apple logo menu and select the System Preferences menu.
  2. Now, click on Spotlight and switch to the Privacy tab.
  3. Click on Plus + to add the Applications folder for indexing.
    Alternatively, drag and drop the Applications folder from the Finder window.
    macos system preferences spotlight privacy add
  4. Select the same Applications folder in the Privacy tab and Click the Remove or button.
  5. Close the System Preferences window.

The Spotlight will automatically re-index all the contents in the Application folder and make Safari available in search results.

Restart your Mac

Restarting devices often rectify the most common issues that we cannot troubleshoot. A simple restart can fix the problem with Spotlight search and also clear any glitches that might have occurred.

A system restart will also ensure that the changes made on the Spotlight settings page are saved and applied across the device.

Bottom Line

As Apple users, we all are used to the Spotlight feature as it saves up a lot of time. Not only apps, but we can search for a lot of stuff directly from the Spotlight search on our Mac. But encountering these types of issues can completely ruin the entire user experience.

However, we cannot deny that Spotlight showing irrelevant results is anything new. It happens to most of us once in a while. But the good thing is we always have ways to fix it right.

If you think the Spotlight search is too slow, you can uncheck the useless folder items included on the Spotlight settings page. It will enhance the search performance and might deliver accurate results.

Lastly, if you've any thoughts or feedback, then feel free to drop in below comment box. You can also report the outdated information.

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Rahul Verma

Rahul Verma

Rahul is a Computer Science Engineer with a MBA degree. He is keenly interested in the field of tech and cryptocurrency. He has 6+ years of technical content writing experience, mainly experimenting with and troubleshooting computer and mobile operating systems. Connect him on LinkedIn.

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