Turn Spotlight into an Application Launcher Only in Mac OS X

Jul 6, 2010 - 4 Comments

Spotlight You can easily turn OS X’s wonderful Spotlight search engine into only an application launcher for Mac apps by adjusting the Spotlight search settings that are found within System Preferences.

  1. Launch System Preferences from the  Apple menu
  2. Choose the Spotlight icon to adjust settings for the search feature
  3. Uncheck every item except for “Applications” and “System Preferences”
  4. Close System Preferences

spotlight application launcher

You can now this this out immediately by summoning Spotlight as usual with Command+Spacebar (or whatever other key command you have assigned to the Mac search feature).

Now your Spotlight menu will only return Application and System Preference results when a search is made, making for a very quick and completely integrated application launcher. Of course, you can use Spotlight as an application launcher even with the other search category items selected, but your search results will be a bit more cluttered.


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Posted by: Manish Patel in Customize, Mac OS


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  1. Sergey says:

    Thanks a lot! That’s useful advice – even now, 8 years later :)

  2. […] use the Dock as an app launcher, this probably won’t be that useful for you. I almost always use Spotlight to launch apps and have my Dock automatically hide, so I’m going to try this out for a while and see how […]

  3. […] use Spotlight constantly to find literally anything on my Mac or iPhone, it makes for an incredible application launcher and with all the search operators you can dig really deep into your file system and find just about […]

  4. Mike L. says:

    I prefer leaving spotlight indexing everything and use Berokyo (http://www.berokyo.com) from Think, Code, Release to quickly access and launch my applications.

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