How To: Prevent Mac Spotlight from Showing Certain Items in Search Results

Mac Spotlight search is great for searching items stored on the Mac as well as performing quick search on the web. This handy search feature covers many areas, allowing users to quickly find documents, contacts, apps, images, messages and much more quickly. While Spotlight is great as it is, sometimes users complain that it shows items that are not very useful to them and the search results are too crowded. Some uses also feel that the search displays certain content that they are not comfortable showing.


Luckily Spotlight offers a great deal of control to the users, allowing them to not only disable certain items from appearing in the search results but also restricting items stored in certain folders from showing up as well. Follow the steps below to restrict certain types of contents and specific folders from appearing in spotlight search.

Restrict certain items from appear in Spotlight

Spotlight settings mac

  • First of all open Systems Preferences from the Launchpad and click on ‘Spotlight‘ icon.
  • Now under the ‘Search Results‘ tab you will find a list of things that appear in the Spotlight search.
  • Simply uncheck the ones that you don’t want to show in Spotlight and you are good to go.

Hiding items stored in specific folders from Spotlight

Spotlight Search Mac

In addition to restricting item types, you can also prevent items stored in certain folders from showing up in spotlight. This is useful when you want documents to appear in Spotlight while restricting the ones you consider sensitive.

To restrict access to specific folders click on the ‘Privacy‘ tab from the top and then hit the ‘+‘ button. Now simply click on the folder and hit the ‘Choose‘ button.

You can add as many folders to the list as you want by clicking the ‘+‘ button repeatedly.

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