Spotlight not working on Big Sur: how to fix Spotlight index on MacOS Big Sur

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After installing Big Sur, I was having issues with Spotlight.

Applications were not listed and generally it didn’t seem to work properly.

These are the steps that helped me to fix Spotlight indexing on Big Sur.

System preferences

Open “System preferences” and open “Spotlight”.

Make sure that the categories you want are checked, and then click on the “Privacy” tab.

Add and remove your home folder to the list so that the indexing might start by itself.

mdutil to the rescue

mdutil is an utility to manage spotlight indexes.

Check Spotlight indexing status

First, check if Spotlight is enabled with the command

sudo mdutil -s /

This will print out the Spotlight indexing status.

Optional: Enable Spotlight indexing

If it is disabled, you can run

sudo mdutil -i on /

Rebuild Spotlight indexes

To rebuild the Spotlight index, run

sudo mdutil -E /

Final thoughts

I read way to many forum posts and stackoverflow questions regarding Spotlight indexes that I really don’t know why this happened.

A few recommended reinstalling MacOS. Others to do a PRAM reset.

I have no clue what happened, but now Spotlight indexing works on my machine.

Here, have a slice of pizza 🍕