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Configure Spotlight settings on Macs using configuration profiles

This document helps you configure Spotlight settings on Macs using custom configuration profiles.

Apple provides the Spotlight search option to assist customers in finding items on their macOS device or receiving suggestions from the App Store, Internet, Music, etc. Spotlight searches for items based on various different categories, like Applications, Images, Fonts, etc. But what if a company’s IT administrator only wants a select few categories to appear in the search results? Well, the admin can achieve this using a custom configuration profile that can be remotely deployed to multiple enrolled macOS devices using Hexnode’s Deploy Custom Configuration feature.


The configuration profile provided below is adapted from a third-party open-source site.

Creating customizations to configure Spotlight settings

The device management profile contains the orderedItems array, which lists the various categories that can appear in the Spotlight search results. To disable any category, say Applications, change the value of the enabled key of the category from true to false. The disabled category will no longer appear in Spotlight search.

What happens at the device end?

Configure Spotlight settings on Macs to enable or disable various categories

There may be a possibility that the disabled category will still be shown as enabled in the System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results page (System Settings > Siri & Spotlight in Ventura), but it will be excluded from the search results regardless.


  • To create and customize configuration profiles, you can use tools like Apple Configurator, Profile Manager or manually create them using text editors.
  • Use non-encrypted .mobileconfig, .xml, or plist files to deploy profiles across macOS devices.
  • Ensure that you do not associate conflicting configurations with the devices.
  • Use wildcards to fetch key values from the portal.
  • It is recommended to manually validate the configuration profile execution on a system before executing the action in bulk.
  • Hexnode will not be responsible for any damage/loss to the system on the behavior of the configuration profile.

  • Configuration Profile Repository