Troubleshooting File Indexing Issues on macOS Monterey

For a small number of users, Alfred's file search isn't working fully on macOS Monterey.

This is due to the underlying Apple file metadata being corrupt. The macOS Migration Assistant to migrate a user account to Monterey has been reported as one of the causes for this.

Before starting, ensure you've updated to macOS Monterey 12.1+, and Alfred 4.6.1+.


1. Diagnose the macOS File Metadata

We can use Alfred's built-in File Troubleshooting to diagnose file search issues on your Mac.

Open Alfred's Preferences, and navigate to the following:

Help > Troubleshooting > File Search Troubleshooting > Run Troubleshooting...

Click the Run Troubleshooting... button and drop the file which cannot be found from Finder into the troubleshooting sheet, and Alfred will attempt to diagnose the file search issue.

Built-in file troubleshooter

Scroll to the bottom of the File Search Troubleshooting text output to check if it passed or failed.

Troubleshooting Passed or Failed?

If the troubleshooting ✅ Passed, run the troubleshooting for some other files, and try to find a file which fails. If no files fail, continue to Step 2, Widen Search Scope.

If the troubleshooting ❌ Failed, skip to Step 3, Deep reindex your Mac.


2. Widen Search Scope

Widening your search scope can work around the underlying indexing issue in macOS Monterey, allowing Alfred to find most of your files as expected.

Note: If you are still experiencing issues after widening your search scope, Deep reindex your Mac.

2.1 Configure Alfred's Search Scope to /

Open Alfred's preferences and navigate to the following configuration:

Features > Default Results > Search Scope

Perform the following actions:

  1. Untick macOS Applications Folder
  2. Untick Folders in Home (ignoring the warning)
  3. Remove all scope folders by clicking a folder, pressing ⌘A to select all of the folders, then pressing backspace, or the - button below the folder list.
  4. Open macOS Finder, select the Go option in the macOS menu bar, then select Computer. Drag Macintosh HD (or equivalent main drive) into Alfred's search scope list.

Your search scope should now look like this:

File Search Scope as All

2.2 Testing the Widened Search Scope

With the widened search scope set, try a couple of searches using Alfred's file search mode. Show Alfred, press the spacebar to enter file search mode, then type a filename, for example:

[spacebar]desktop

Also try finding some applications, show Alfred and type the application name, for example:

safari

If files or filters are still not being found, continue to Step 3, Deep reindex your Mac.


3. Deep reindex your Mac

Deep reindexing your Mac is a low-level but safe macOS process. There are a number of steps involved, and every step should be followed very closely.

Before reindexing your Mac, there are a couple of simple checks and procedures which are all covered in our indexing guide.

Please follow our File Indexing troubleshooting guide from Step 3 onwards.

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