How to Search on MacBook: A Guide

When it comes to using a MacBook to its full potential, understanding how to effectively search for files, applications, and other data is a massive part of that.

The good thing about macOS is that it offers various tools and shortcuts that simplify the searching process, and I’m going to quickly show you the best ones to use.

Using Spotlight for Quick Searches

Spotlight is a powerful, built-in search tool on your MacBook that allows you to quickly find documents, images, emails, and more.

To access Spotlight, simply press Command (⌘) + Spacebar. Once open, type your query into the search bar.

Spotlight can also perform calculations, conversions, and display definitions, making it a versatile tool for everyday use.

Using Finder for More Detailed Searches

Finder is the default file management system on macOS, and if you’re looking for a more detailed approach to searching for Files, this is where to start.

First, open Finder from the Dock and use the search bar at the top right. You can refine your search by adding criteria like file type, date created, and tags.

This method is particularly useful for locating specific files buried within your system.

Alternate method: Siri for Voice-Activated Searches

For some people that prefer voice commands – shout out to my Grandma specifically – Siri on MacBook can perform searches too.

You can activate Siri by clicking the Siri icon in the Apple menu bar or Dock. Siri can search for files, answer questions, and even control some system functions.

It’s also a good idea to do some customization with Siri too. You can do this by opening up System Settings, and then selecting Siri and Spotlight.

Here, you can tell Siri to listen for a specific trigger, add a keyboard shortcut to activate Siri and even run through your history of Siri searches.

You also have the ability to add and remove specific apps from appearing in your Spotlight search results too.

By mastering these search techniques, you can significantly enhance your productivity and efficiency while using your MacBook.



Full-time writer, Apple fanboy and macOS supremacist. Currently running: 16" Macbook Pro w/ 64GB RAM & M1 Max. Already wants to upgrade to the M3 😫😭

Read more from Ed