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How to get Spotlight to quit if you are using Mac High Sierra.

September 19, 2018

I just tried to update Safari on my MacBook. I got a message saying that extensions for the application called Spotlight were still in use.

I checked force quit, and it wasn’t there.

I then tried google for tips. Most of which did not help – probably for earlier operating systems.

I am currently running High Sierra 10.13.6.

I finally found  instructions that worked to make Spotlight quit.

Go to system preferences, then Spotlight, then de-select all the things Spotlight searches. You will find all but one of them in the white window in the middle. Scroll down to see all of them.

The boxes, which you will need to click on, are in blue. If you de-select them (click on each one), they turn white.

There is one box below the main white window. Don’t forget to click on that little blue square as well.

Then, restart, or not, depending on which tip you follow from one of my readers.

One writes to restart, the other writes,

“You can avoid the need to restart as follows.
Open up Activity Monitor (it’s usually in the Utilities folder in LaunchPad).
Find Spotlight in the processes list there. Double-click on it to open up a small dialog.
In the dialog, hit the Quit button. Then in the next dialog choose Force Quit.
Wait a few seconds for it to take effect.”

I have not tried this yet. I had forgotten about Force Quit.

I followed the instructions, including the restart, which I had done before writing this post, but forgot to mention in the first draft.  I was reminded by a reader who posted the first comment, so I added that part of the instructions here in the post. I got the comment about not needing a restart after writing this post.

I then went back to the App Store, and was able to install the update.

After that, I went back to Spotlight in system preferences, and re-selected all the spotlight functions.

Hope this helps.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2018 1:45 PM

    Hi, I followed your instructions and it worked! The only thing you didn’t mention was that you have to restart after deselecting everything in Spotlight for it to take effect. After that I was able to reselect everything and it’s all working. Thanks for the tip!

    • Tom Meninga permalink*
      October 19, 2018 4:57 PM

      Thank you! Sorry I forgot to mention that. Thanks for letting me know, and I will put the rest of the instructions in the post.

  2. Steve T-B permalink
    December 6, 2018 4:56 AM

    You can avoid the need to restart as follows.
    Open up Activity Monitor (it’s usually in the Utilities folder in LaunchPad).
    Find Spotlight in the processes list there. Double-click on it to open up a small dialog.
    In the dialog, hit the Quit button. Then in the next dialog choose Force Quit.
    Wait a few seconds for it to take effect.

    • Tom Meninga permalink*
      December 6, 2018 10:47 AM

      Great! Thank you!

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