Apple introduced Smart Folders years ago, but they’re often given short shrift compared to other macOS features. While recently responding to readers’ troubles for Mac 911 and researching other stories, I discovered I’d mostly given up on a powerful option for saving recurring searches.
This is partly due to Spotlight. For many years, starting with its introduction, Spotlight indexing could be spotty or crash and re-run, and searches weren’t always as comprehensive and accurate as one could hope. That’s settled down. Even on searches that match hundreds of thousands of results on my 2014 Mac mini (across both a solid-state drive and external hard drives), Spotlight performance is pretty zippy.
In this tutorial, I’ll guide you through crafting Spotlight searches with detailed criteria that you’ll want to save as Smart Folders partly because of the hassle of re-creating them. Smart Folders take up essentially no space, and you can duplicate them and modify criteria later. By saving more Smart Folders, you’ll save time and frustration as you develop searches you want to use either frequently or from time to time.
(I wrote this tutorial with macOS Sierra, and many details work over several previous releases. However, Apple has apparently made minor tweaks that could produce different search results in previous OS releases than in Sierra.(The article continues...)