Spotlight & Indexing on OS X

Some time ago I turned off Spotlight all the way, since I rarely need it and it's rather annoying, since it does make the fans go crazy more often than not. But then, other times I think it's helpful and I go back to turning it on again. Until the next time when too much fan noise… and so the story goes.

Here are the commands just in case you do want to do the same:

Disable Spotlight The primary method by using launchctl which loads/unloads the Spotlight mds agent into launchd. This command requires your admin password.

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

Reenable Spotlight

To reenable Spotlight just reload it with the same command using launchctl:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

Another way is to disable/enable Spotlight is with the mdutil command, which sets the indexing status for the provided volumes to on or off. You"ll also need your admin password to do so.

sudo mdutil -a -i off

sudo mdutil -a -i on