The Finder on your Mac helps you organize your files and folders and find them quickly with its search feature. This feature is frequently used by Mac users. Sometimes, the Finder can stop working for a variety of reasons. It can be frustrating when the Finder suddenly stops responding or doesn’t display accurate results.

finder search not working on mac

In this guide, we’ll learn how to fix the Finder so it can help you work with your Mac again. When you’re ready, let’s get started.

9 Steps to Fix Finder Search Not Working on Mac

Rebuild Search Index

search index on mac

Follow this step if the Finder cannot find certain files on your Mac. You can rebuild the search and fix this problem. Rebuilding the search index on a Mac means refreshing or updating the database to include all files and their locations on your computer. This process helps fix issues with search features like Spotlight or Finder when they aren’t working properly. You can rebuild the search index using the main settings and Terminal.

How to rebuild the search index on Mac

  • Click on the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen, then choose “System settings.”
  • Select “Siri & Spotlight” in the sidebar, then scroll down and click “Spotlight Privacy” on the right.
  • Now, drag the disk or folder that you want to reindex to the list of locations Spotlight is prevented from searching, or click the add button (+) and select the disk or folder you want to add.
  • Select the disk or folder you just added from the same list, then click the Remove button (-) to remove it from the list.
  • Launch Terminal, type mdutil -E /, and click Enter. This will rebuild the search index on the Mac

Force Quit the App and Relaunch the Finder

force close finder app

If the Finder doesn’t respond or doesn’t open, force quit the Finder and try to restart it. This may be due to some error or glitch that is causing the problem at startup.

force quit apps on mac through force quit function

How to Force Quit Finder app on Mac

  • Click on the Apple logo at your screen’s top left corner.
  • Select “Force Quit” from the drop-down menu.
  • This will also open the “Force Quit Applications” window. Find the Finder app and click the “Force Quit” icon.
  • Alternatively, you can press and hold the Command + Option + Esc keys on your keyboard. This will open the “Force Quit” window.

Force Quit the App and Relaunch the Finder

kill the finder process on mac

If force quit doesn’t help, kill the Finder processes in the Activity Monitor.

Step 1: Open Spotlight:

  • Press the Command key and the Spacebar key on your keyboard simultaneously. This will open up Spotlight, a search function on your Mac.

Step 2: Access Activity Monitor:

activity monitor

  • In the Spotlight search bar that appears, type Activity Monitor and press Enter.

Step 3: Find the Application:

  • Look through the list of running applications in the Activity Monitor to find the Finder app.

Step 4: Initiate Force Quit.

kill finder processes on mac

  • Once you find the app, click on it to highlight it.
  • You’ll see a small X button at the top left corner of the Activity Monitor window. Click on this button.

Step 5: Confirm Force Quit:

force quit finder app

  • A small window will appear asking you if you want to end the process.
  • Click the “Force Quit” button to confirm.

Restart Your Mac

restart mac

Restarting the Mac is a simple and effective way to fix the problem that is not working. To restart, click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen, select Restart, and then click Restart again in the window that opens.

Uninstall Third-Party Launchers

uninstall third-party laucher apps on mac

Check if you have other third-party launcher apps installed on your Mac. These may prevent the Finder app from launching, and some apps may replace the Finder app search with their own search. Try using Spotlight search, Siri, or Launch Pad to find and uninstall the apps. If you can’t find the apps, use the third-party file management apps on the Mac.

Update Your Mac

update your mac

Update your Mac to the latest version to fix the problem. Sometimes the specific version of your Mac may contain bugs that prevent you from using the Finder. Update your Mac to the latest version. If you have issues after updating to the latest version, you can downgrade the update to fix the problem.

How to update Mac

  • Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen.
  • Select System Preferences from the dropdown menu.
  • Click Software Update.
  • If an update is available, click Update Now.

Logout of Our Account

logout of your account on mac

Logging out of your Mac can help fix the issue. Try logging out and then logging back into your account. When you log out, all operations in your account will stop.

How to logout from the Mac

  • Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen.
  • Click Log Out.
  • A window will pop up asking if you are sure. Click Log Out again.

Clear Storage on Your Mac

clear storage on mac

When your memory is full, your Mac’s performance is affected. This causes applications to load slowly. To fix this problem, you can clear the storage on your Mac or use third-party Mac tools to free up space on your Mac.

How to manage Storage in Mac

  • Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen.
  • Select About This Mac from the menu and click on the More info
  • Scroll down. Click on the Storage settings.
  • Here, you’ll see a bar showing your storage and what’s using it.
  • Click on different storage tabs for more details and options for freeing up space.

Reset Your Mac

reset your mac

If none of the steps worked, reset your Mac to default settings. This will erase everything on your Mac. Make sure you have backed up your important files before resetting.

How to reset your Mac

  • Click the Apple menu at the top left of your screen, then choose System Settings.
  • Select General in the sidebar.
  • Click Transfer or Reset on the right side.
  • Click Erase All Content and Settings. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reset.

Easy Fixes for Finder Search Problems on Mac

You should be able to easily fix the problem with the Finder not working on your Mac by following the recommended steps. If the problem persists, you can contact Apple support. You can also try Spotlight search. We hope you found this guide helpful.

To avoid problems with Finder in the future, keep your software up to date, perform regular checks such as repairing disk permissions and deleting old files, don’t interrupt Finder while indexing, and be careful with third-party cleaning programs.

FAQs about Mac Finder Search Not Working

1. Why is my Finder Search not working?

There can be many reasons why the finder search is not working. The most common ones include temporary glitches, Slower performance, temporary glitches, outdated software, corrupted index, incorrect settings, and more.

2. Are there any third-party applications that can help?

You can try Commander One, ForkLift 3, and Nimble Commander as best alternatives to Finder for Mac.

3. Can I exclude certain folders from the Spotlight search?

You can exclude certain folders and filers from the spotlight search settings. To exclude, Go to Settings> Siri & Spotlight> Spotlight privacy>Click on Plus> Add files and applications you want to exclude from the spotlight search.

4. How to prevent finder issues in the Future

  • Keep Updated: Always update your Mac to the latest software version.
  • Stay Organized: Keep your files and folders tidy and well-organized.
  • Regular Check-ups: Do regular check-ups like repairing disk permissions.
  • Avoid Interruptions: Don’t interrupt Finder when it’s indexing files.
  • Use Trusted Tools: Only use trusted third-party cleaning or optimization tools.
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