How to turn Spotlight OFF (and ON Again)….Leopard Solution

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A number of people mentioned that the previous tip on how to turn spotlight on/off does not work with Leopard. Now that I’ve had a bit of time, I’ve confirmed this and found a way around it (it’s even easier in Leopard). Here are the details specifically for OSX 10.5+ (Leopard).

  • To turn off Spotlight service temporarily
  • % sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

  • To turn off Spotlight service permanently (no worries, you can turn it on again)
  • % sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

  • To turn on Spotlight service temporarily
  • % sudo launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

  • To turn on Spotlight service permanently
  • % sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

Have fun….

6 Comments

  • Josh

    How do I stop the icon from showing in the menu bar?
    I tried the method in the previous post, but it gave me an error.

  • Many

    Hey Josh,

    I haven't tried this and well don't know if it will screw up your machine (It shouldn't if you know what you're doing)…..maybe do a timemachine before you do this.

    Find and edit the file com.apple.Spotlight.plist in /System/Library/LaunchAgents directory.

    Okay the next sentence is weird. You have to replace ( with < and ) with >…..I can't put HTML code in the comment response.

    Add "(key)Disabled(/key)(true/)" without the quotes after the line that says (dict). Save the file and reboot…..That should do it.

    If you want the icon back just take out the Disabled line and reboot again.

    Hopefully this works for you…..let me know. And please be careful. I assume you know what you're doing :-).

    TTYL
    Many

  • Josh

    Thanks. I was actually looking through my LaunchAgents directory after I had made the comment clearing out some unneeded processes that were taking up system resources.

    I deleted a few files, such as the airport agent, dotmac, and a few other things that I didn’t need.

    I saw Spotlight in there, and decided to get rid of it too. My spotlight icon is gone now, so I guess that worked too.

  • Anonymous

    After pasting the turn off spotlight bit in Terminal, it says "No such job"

  • Many

    Hi Anonymous,

    Hmmmm, strange……did you cut/paste the right parts ….ie:

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

    on one line and without the quotes of course.

    Should work fine….I just did it on my machine at work (the temporary command) and it worked like a charm.

  • Alpha

    You are right the temp way works, however the one with -w returns the error:

    launchctl: Error unloading: com.apple.metadata.mds

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