Disable Spotlight in Mac OS X 10.5

Aug 12, 2009 - 6 Comments

mac spotlightIt seems like people either love or hate Spotlight, if you love it then ignore this tip, but if you hate Spotlight and want to turn Spotlight off in 10.5 here’s your new favorite post. You can completely disable Spotlight in OS X 10.5 by moving a few system files (or you could delete them but that is strongly not recommended for various reasons). Here are the files you should move, be sure to place them in another location for backup in case you want to enable Spotlight again.

Disable Spotlight

Move these two files to another safe location and then reboot your mac


If you want to re-enable Spotlight just move those files back to their original location, reboot, and Spotlight will work again. Please backup the files, if you delete them you will not be able to re-enable Spotlight without a system reinstall!


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in How to, Tips & Tricks


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  1. jsp76 says:


    The disabling part worked. I just tried to enable Spotlight again by returning the files to their proper directories and rebooting as indicated above, and Spotlight is still disabled. It is the same situation as the comment above. Please either respond with an explanation of how to re-enable Spotlight properly, or remove this article so that others don’t make the same mistake of relying on it.

    • Steve says:

      If you undo what you did to disable spotlight then by difanation it will re-enable it. I have tested this and it works.

      Asoming that you do exactly! the opsite.

      Make shore the the file “com.apple.Spotlight.plist” is in the folder “/System/Library/LaunchAgents/” and the file” com.apple.metadata.mds.plist” is in the folder “/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/”

      It’s easey to misstype the folder names.

  2. John Thiede says:

    I need help, so i sent the above files to my dropbox and of course spotlight was gone just like i originally wanted cause i never used it’s menubar feature. but i realized, whoops! this just shuts it off completely and i can’t search my finder. which i didn’t think the two were connected. so i did as you said and put the files back in their proper places, but i still can’t search in my finder. What might have happened and what can i do to fix it?

  3. Jules says:

    Thanks for the tip. My Leopard mac is using 10% less memory (initially @ startup) with Spotlight shut off. This tip completely removes it from the menubar and stops indexing. I never ever have used spotlight, because I guess I’m not lazy?

  4. can canak says:


    i also hated spotlight slowing my system down and did EXACTLY as you desribed here. and now my computer doesn’t even START. i hear the chime, i see the gray apple logo and the spinning wheel then it reboots itself, then again and again and again..

    do you have any idea how can i solve this problem, or restore the files that i deleted (i have backups)..?


    • Steve says:

      First sorry for the spelling I am dislex….

      Reading the post if you moved the folders “System/LibraryLaunch……..” as well as the files “com.apple……..” then that’s the problem. If the backups you have are “TimeMachine” one then your answer is easey. Turn you computer on with the instalation DVD in the drive and when you hear the chime press and hold the “c” key this should boot onto the install DVD you will then be asked to chouse the languge and then you will see the install screen there is an option in the menu’s iver in the pannel in the middel of the screen or in the menus on the menubar to re-store computer from backup folow the instuctions and after some houars (tacks 5 hours on my system with 300GB of data) you should be back to all working.

      I am not being roude Now just a bit of advice; now go on a computer couse and learmn the difences between Files and Folders.

      I hope this helps

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