Stop Certain Folders, Files From Showing Up In Spotlight Search Results [Mac OS X]

Spotlight is a wonderful indexing tool built into Mac OS X. It indexes your complete system, your applications, documents and folders. But occasionally, a few files or folders may show up in the Spotlight search results which are undesirable, or maybe private, and you don’t want other people using your computer to see them.

Luckily, there is a simple way to hide files or folders from appearing in Spotlight search results. By performing these few steps, you can hide any files you want to, from Spotlight.

  • From Finder, go to Applications >> System Preferences >> Spotlight.
  • To hide content from within certain applications such as Mail, Calendar, or to hide files of certain types, such as images, PDFs etc, you can select the ‘Search Results’ pane, and remove the tick marks from the categories of results that you do not want to appear in the Spotlight results window.
  • To hide specific files or directories, switch to the ‘Privacy’ pane.
  • In the ‘Privacy’ pane, there is a button marked ‘+’ at the bottom. Click this button to add any specific files or folders that you want to hide from Spotlight.
  • Either you can collect all the data you want to hide by placing it in a single folder and then add that folder to the ‘Privacy’ pane, or if you want to keep the data at the original locations, then you can individually add each one of them by the method described above.

If you do not want to use Spotlight at all, you can completely disable it, and use an alternative launcher such as Alfred.

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