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How Do I Have Spotlight Search In iCloud?

Gary… I have all my documents in iCloud. When I open Spotlight and type in “Rental Expenses”, which is a Numbers spread sheet located in my iCloud Documents folder, it does not find it. I can type in “Numbers” in Spotlight and scroll down within Spotlight and open it that way… but is there a way to just type exactly which document you want in Spotlight and have it show up at the top of the Spotlight search? Do I need to move my Documents folder out of iCloud… or make an Alias of my Documents folder out of iCloud?
Thank you… Doug
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Doug Brandt

Comments: 10 Responses to “How Do I Have Spotlight Search In iCloud?”

    4 weeks ago

    It is a bit of a mystery. First, it really depends on whether you have “Optimize” turned on or not. If you don’t have it turned on, then you should have a copy of every file in iCloud Drive on your Mac’s local drive, and so everything should turn up in searches. It may also depend on whether you are using the Desktop & Documents option in iCloud Drive.

    On my desktop, I have “Optimize” turned off and Desktop & Documents turned on. It can find everything as you would expect.

    I have “Optimize” turned on and Desktop & Documents turned off for my MacBook Pro. I can search iCloud Drive or “This Mac” and sometimes things show up, and sometimes they do not. It seems that if I have never visited the folder in which the item is located, then it doesn’t show. The folder itself takes a second or two to appear, so it looks like the Finder doesn’t even know what is in there until I look. Which makes sense in a way. Why would it look in every folder and subfolder in iCloud Drive in advance.

    It would be nice, though, if Spotlight indexed these folders and files so search would work. Complicating things is the fact that I am using the Catalina beta, so this may not be the same as in Mojave or even in the final version of Catalina. Plus, with an update just the other day, it may not have finished Spotlight indexing.

    What did seem to work is that if I went into a folder that contained the file, and then searched for it, it would then show up. I tried it a few times with different folders and sometimes it took a few minutes to appear in a search. So definitely some indexing is being triggered.

    Also, I noticed that selecting iCloud Drive (or any folder inside) for the search scope and searching there didn’t always work in cases when “This Mac” worked. But that could be a Catalina beta issue.

    Doug Brandt
    4 weeks ago

    I also have Desktop & Documents Folders on and Optimize Mac Storage off. I reverted back to Mojave two weeks ago when I bought the new 2019 MBP… prior to that I had the Catalina Beta OS on my MBAir. Seemed to me Spotlight worked as I wanted then. In your Spotlight Prefs, do you have your Time Machine HD listed in your Privacy section to prevent Spotlight from searching it?
    Thanks again… Doug

    4 weeks ago

    Doug: I typically have my TM drive listed, yes. On this MacBook I have TM turned off (shocker!) — but that is because it is a “cloud machine” with not a single local file. My Mac Pro on my desk has the real files and that is backed up in TM and remotely.

    Doug
    4 weeks ago

    Gary… I went back and tried Alfred… works perfectly! Hopefully when Catalina public is released.. Spotlite will also work… I’d prefer to use Apple all the way.

    Don Palmer
    4 weeks ago

    In the general category of what to store in iCloud Drive, do you recommend selecting Mail? A bit off topic, but thanks for your time.

    4 weeks ago

    Don: Yes, why not? It comes in useful when you set up a new Mac and it is nice to have your email account preferences automatically filled in.

    Doug Brandt
    4 weeks ago

    Sorry everyone… seems that perhaps Spotlight just needed to ‘renew’ itself. All is working fine now…. finding what I am looking for in iCloud (Desktop and Documents). Is there a way to change the order in which items are displayed in Spotlight?

    4 weeks ago

    Doug: Not sure what you mean by the order. The order in Spotlight Menu (Command+Space) or the order in a Finder search? In the Finder search, you can click on the title of any column to sort, but you should be in List View for that Finder window.

    Doug
    3 weeks ago

    Sorry Gary… order in Spotlight Menu (Command+Space). I usually am looking for a Numbers document… and they always show up third or fourth tier in the Spotlight lineup.

    3 weeks ago

    Doug: No, there no way to change the order. There used to be, but it was removed as an option at some point.

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