Dealing With Big Sur Spotlight Previews and Other Problems

Spotlight in macOS Big Sur isn't as useful as it used to be. You don't het previews by default and suggestions get in the way of actual results. Which there's no fix for this problems, there are some workarounds that can make Spotlight more useful.

Comments: 18 Responses to “Dealing With Big Sur Spotlight Previews and Other Problems”

    Hugh Vail
    10 months ago

    Thank you. I was wondering where the preview went. The time it saves appears to of little consequence to me.

    Janis
    10 months ago

    The Tab key doesn’t bring up the preview as described in the video on my MacBook Pro. Tab does absolutely nothing. Please advise. Thanks!

    Janis
    10 months ago

    Disregard the tab issue I previously mentioned – I discovered it depends on what the search is whether it works (which I found it does most of the time).

    Thanks for your time and your videos :)

    Gina Ferrare
    10 months ago

    Good “rant” Gary. I had not yet found the tab solution. I had instead switched to using the FindAnyFile.app, shareware available on the App Store, which is a bit slower but much more comprehensive in its results than Spotlight.

    There ought to be a huge sign over the entrance to the Apple campus: IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT!

    10 months ago

    Gina: If you just want to find files, then skip the Spotlight windows and do what I suggest in the video and go right to a file search. Then you don’t need any odd third-party app slowing you down.
    As for “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…” Wouldn’t we be all still using Apple IIe computers today then? Or, more likely, Apple would have stuck with the Apple IIe, gone out of business, and we’d all be using Windows and flip phones.

    Christy Hemenway
    10 months ago

    Great rant, yes.
    But Gary, every so often you drop such gems! I had no idea I could jump to Finder with Command Option Space. That’s a winner, that one.
    I guess the way I look at this “upgrade” is if I”m searching my computer, that’s all I need to see. And if I need to ask the Internet, I’ll open a web browser, not Spotlight. It’s annoying how it tries to do everything when it used to do one thing really well before, but… no longer. But – Command Option Space! Thanks! :-)

    Richard Thompson
    10 months ago

    Greetings,
    Ever since upgrading to Big Sur, Spotlight has been broken. Apple apps show up in the results but not 3rd party apps (shocking…)… I have searched around and many are having this problem without a workable solution (aside from nuke and pave). Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.

    10 months ago

    Richard: I don’t know why that would be. Have you tried re-indexing? I definitely see all my apps.

    Marjorie Green
    10 months ago

    In Spotlight, when you see the Preview and press the Cmd key to see where the file is located, is there anyway to jump to the folder instead of opening the file?

    10 months ago

    Marjorie: Hold Command and double-click the file. You can also select it and Command+R, though it depends on the file type.

    Robert
    10 months ago

    With Big Sur (11.1) i’ve noticed that spotlight noticeably lagging, at times not showing *any* results for a search.
    This seems to be due to a connected HDD I have for Time Machine. When that drive sleeps, doing ⌘ Space pends until macOS wakes up that drive. Googling around, it seems like there’s beaucoup problems with spotlight and Big Sur.
    I haven’t used Alfred for some time now. Would be interested in anyone’s opinion on it.

    David
    9 months ago

    Thank you to Robert for your comment about external HDD drives….that fixed it for me. I just use it for the Time Machine backup, so I just excluded it from the spotlight searches and bam – works like it should. Thanks again!

    Mr. Biker
    8 months ago

    Gina said “IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT!” and Gary said “Wouldn’t we be all still using Apple IIe computers?”

    No, we wouldn’t. Improvements are welcome. New products and ideas are welcome. Ruining something that was working perfectly is not.

    My attitude towards “upgrades” is that once they have something perfected (Mountain Lion and Windows 7 are two good examples), they want to come up with something new in order to keep their jobs, with no regard for quality.

    Hope this is on topic.

    8 months ago

    Mr. Biker: You said “… once they have something perfected …”
    Who determines if something perfected? In your opinion Mountain Lion is “perfect?” So no iBooks for Mac, no Maps for map, no Continuity or Handoff, no iCloud Photos, only basic Notes, no Metal, no support for newer audio and video codecs, no iCloud file sharing, no Dark mode, still people complaining about a “bloated” iTunes app, etc. That’s just a sample.

    Carlos Porges
    6 months ago

    calculations are wrong on BigSur: For example: 8+2=10. But 8+2.5=33
    Some setting must be off, but I havent changed anything at all from how my new machine arrived…

    Any ideas are apreciated…Many

    6 months ago

    Carlos: My guess is that you have your language settings set to a language that uses a , as a decimal point and a . as a comma. Then 8+2.5 would be just 8+25 which would be 33.

    Christen
    6 months ago

    Search is not working on pdfs in Preview

    6 months ago

    Christen: In Preview? Are you sure the PDF you are viewing as text in it? For instance, it could be an image, even if the image is of text. Try various different PDFs to see. Create your own in Pages and see.

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