How to Disable Image Search in Spotlight on Mac

Spotlight has always been handy and is one of the core features of any Apple device. Even before, it is made to do quick access on anything and is an integral feature to make things accessible to all Mac users.

With the integration of image search, Spotlight is now more useful than ever, making your computer much smarter than before. 

Though it really comes in handy, some might find the feature confusing and all over the place. It can also pose privacy concerns since it might display thumbnail images drawn from your library or on the web if you search for a similar name or scenario using it.

With that being said, let’s walk you through the process of how to disable image search in Spotlight on Mac. 

Let’s dive right in!

Despite the advantages of image search, there are also concerns with the feature. One of the main concerns is privacy. There are instances when a photo pops up in the Spotlight while searching for something. 

One good example is if you are searching for a contact and their photo from your photo library pops up. However, you did not want their photo showcased in front of everyone else. 


Other times, Spotlight shows unnecessary or unrelated images in the search result, which only clutters the display. 

Fortunately, disabling the feature is straightforward. 

On your Mac, access the “Apple Menu” by clicking the “Apple logo” in the upper left corner of your display. 

After that, go to System Preferences and click on Spotlight. 

disable image search in spotlight on mac

Make sure that “Search Results” is selected and turn off image search by unchecking the “Image” option. 

disable image search in spotlight on mac

Close System Preferences to save the changes. 

Hiding Selective Photos on Spotlight

Hiding selective photos from Spotlight search is not possible directly from the settings. If you want images to appear, you’ll have to accept that all your images will appear on Spotlight. 

Luckily, there is a workaround for this. 

As it turns out, you can hide photos and videos using the Photos app. Contents that are in the hidden album won’t appear on your Spotlight searches. 

Moreover, you can also set a password for your hidden album on macOS. 

To hide a photo on your Mac, launch the Photos app and navigate to the image you want to hide. 

disable image search in spotlight on mac

Now, right-click on the image and choose “Hide 1 Photo”. 

The image should now be transferred to your hidden album, and it should not appear on Spotlight. 

Related: Remove Images from Spotlight Search on iPhone

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