Top 4 Spotlight Alternatives in 2023 – Spotlight is the default system-wide search feature that allows you to search for files, find system settings, look up definitions, and perform calculations. Although it is quite reliable, it has a ton of features up its sleeve and performs most of these tasks well; it is far from perfect.
This is where third party app launchers come in. With them, you can not only search for files and applications, but also perform a variety of other operations. For example, depending on the launcher you use, you can use it to access your clipboard history, expand text snippets, automate repetitive tasks, and search more efficiently, among other things.
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Best Spotlight Alternatives for Mac
If you want to replace Spotlight with something more powerful, or if you don’t rely heavily on Spotlight, due to a lack of features, but want to start using an app launcher, here are the best Spotlight alternatives on Mac.
Alfred is the most popular app launcher for macOS. It is one of the must-have productivity tools that helps you power up your Mac and increase your productivity.
In its simplest form, with Alfred you can launch applications and search for files on your Mac or on the web. It learns your usage behavior and prioritizes results accordingly. All your query results are instantly presented in a list, from which you can navigate, preview or take action, right from your keyboard.
As additional features, Alfred gives you clipboard history: to see the items you have previously copied to your clipboard; and fragments: to expand a text fragment or abbreviation into its longer equivalent.
Speaking of advanced operations, Alfred is packed with features with powerful workflows, allowing you to perform tasks more efficiently and automate repetitive tasks. You can create these workflows yourself or download ones created by the community.
- Check spelling and find word definitions
- Quick View
- System commands to help you perform system operations faster
- custom themes
- Shell integration to execute shell commands
- Run macOS Shortcuts
Free, Paid Download Alfred
Raycast is a free app launcher for Mac. If you’re overwhelmed with Alfred and don’t want to spend on your power supply to unlock all its features, Raycast is the best alternative to Spotlight and Alfred, albeit with a limited feature set that you should check out. .
One of the things that makes Raycast stand out, compared to Spotlight, is that it’s lightweight and fast, allowing you to quickly search for things and perform operations. Additionally, you can use quick links to quickly open links in browsers or open projects in their respective programs.
Also, like Alfred, Raycast also offers system commands to help you quickly perform certain system operations on your Mac. If needed, you have the ability to write scripts to control various applications and connect to web APIs to simplify your workflow . of daily work.
Raycast Feature Highlights
- Access to clipboard history
- Ability to create snippets for faster typing
- Commands to organize the desktop and resize windows
- perform calculations
- Create floating notes
- Quick access to your daily schedule
Free Download Raycast
LaunchBar is another great Spotlight search alternative. It incorporates many features to ensure that you perform most of your daily operations quickly and efficiently.
LaunchBar lets you search for documents, apps, and bookmarks using short abbreviations, though it’s not as quick to get results as the other two app launchers. In addition, it has a powerful file manager, which allows you to check the metadata of the files and easily perform operations such as copying, moving and renaming files and folders.
Similar to Raycast, LaunchBar also shows you your reminders and lets you manage your events, so you never miss what’s on your agenda for the day. Additionally, you have the ability to create or use custom scripts to extend the functionality of Raycast and use them to automate repetitive tasks.
Featured Launchpad Features
- Adaptive search for abbreviations
- Access to clipboard history
- Instant Send for quick sharing
- Perform quick file manipulations
Free (30 day trial), Paid ($29) Download Launchpad
QuickSilver is one of the older app launchers for the Mac. Even so, it’s still a better app launcher than Spotlight and does more than Spotlight can currently do. There’s a catch though: it’s not that efficient in its simplest form, so you have to install plugins to get the most out of it.
In terms of usability, finding items in QuickSilver is a bit different than most app launchers. Instead of entering your query in the search window, you must first enter the query in the search tab, and then enter an action you want to perform there in the action tab.
Then, based on the available options, choose an action and press Enter to perform it. When you use QuickSilver, it learns from your search behavior and displays more relevant results next time.
What adds even more to the highlight of QuickSilver is that it is fully searchable, which means you can search for a folder on your Mac, and then search for items within it while you’re there.
QuickSilver Feature Highlights
- extended search
- Research-Based Recommendations for Action
- Complements to expand the field of use
- Ability to set triggers for frequently used commands
- AppleScript support to allow you to attach triggers to scripts
Free Download QuickSilver
Find Mac and perform operations more efficiently
Over the years, Apple has made changes to Spotlight to make it a better and more functional search tool. However, these changes were slow to appear and were not strictly intended to extend Spotlight’s functionality, prompting the need for a better search utility for Mac.
So, if you want to get the most out of your Mac right now, where you can find things quickly, perform advanced workflows right from search, and perform repetitive operations efficiently, you should replace Spotlight Search with a third-party app. launchers, like the ones mentioned in this list.