OS X Tiger: Enable/Disable Spotlight

You may want to turn off Spotlight to increase system performance or to prevent it from indexing personal data. Here’s how to do it under Mac OS X.

Launch Terminal from the Utilites folder.

To disable Spotlight, type the following and press Return:

% sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

To disable it permanently, type this instead:
% sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

To enable Spotlight type the following and press Return:
% sudo launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

To enable it permanently, type this instead:
% sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

For instructions on how to do this in Mac OS X Leopard, see How to completely disable Spotlight.

Comments

  1. Elliot Wilen says

    Don’t you still have it backward? There’s no /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist on the Tiger (10.4) machines I’m looking at, but there is one on the Leopard (10.5) machine.

  2. Dan says

    First: Doesn’t work (in 10.5.1)

    sysadm[~]$ sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
    Password:
    launchctl: Error unloading: com.apple.metadata.mds

    Any ideas? Yes, I typed the admin password correctly.

    Second, there’s a typo, last line:
    For instructions on how to do this in Mac OS X Leopard, see
    ^^^^^^^
    How to completely disable Spotlight.

    That should say Tiger, no?

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