Do You Use It? Spotlight Sees Targeted Use for Finding Files and Launching Apps

Originally published at: Do You Use It? Spotlight Sees Targeted Use for Finding Files and Launching Apps - TidBITS

The results of our poll asking how often people use Spotlight and what they use it for are in. While Spotlight enjoys broad usage, by far the most common features are finding files and launching apps—most of its more esoteric capabilities aren’t heavily used.


No one mentioned using Spotlight to track flights, but if you enter an airline code and flight number like AA123, you’ll get tracking information.

This is indeed very nice to have. Unfortunately, it requires turning on “Siri Suggestions” which introduces a bunch of to me useless clutter, so I prefer to just use Safari’s search bar (which grabs the data from the excellent FlightStats website) for the same thing.

Before macOS 10.11 El Capitan, Apple let users rearrange the order of the Spotlight results. Few people probably took advantage of that option, but it’s a shame that Apple removed it.

I used to heavily tweak that to my liking. Unfortunately, I can no longer affect the order so I have to deactivate certain categories (like the above) entirely just to remove clutter and keep Spotlight result display nice and snappy. :slight_smile:


I just use Houdah Spot- which I find superior in every way.
I can save searches -hone in on individual folders- extremely quickly and much much more in an intuitive interface.

I like your Do you use it? series @ace . A good balance of information. At least for someone like me who uses Apple stuff as daily tools but not as a job, isn’t an expert but enjoys learning how to use the tools better. I have a hobby interest that has served me very well over the years.


I am one who rarely uses Spotlight because it is too unreliable finding files, etc that I know are in my storage and that I can enter the title of actual files. The effort and frustration of using Spotlight outweighs the possibility of getting a search result that might be useful.


Today, on iPhone, I searched for the Files app. Got everything but the Files app. Went to App Library. Not shown, would have to search…but it does show apps that I use 1x/year. I don’t know who is (if anyone is?) designing this stuff anymore, but the brilliant Apple I loved is dead as a doornail…and it makes me sad every single day.

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For a while, Spotlight Search on the iPhone wouldn’t find Voice Memos for me. I fixed but I can’t remember how—perhaps by toggling the switches in its listing in Settings > Siri & Search. There’s also this:

And don’t get too nostalgic. The Apple of yesteryear required things like rebuilding the desktop, zapping PRAM, and resetting permissions to solve inexplicable problems. There’s nothing new here, apart from many more devices and operating systems with far more powerful and complex code to have bugs.

Let’s stay on the topic of Spotlight—we’re already straying off the path by talking about the iPhone instead of the Mac.

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