Is Spotlight supposed to work in safe mode?

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by theorist9, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. theorist9, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016

    theorist9 macrumors member

    May 28, 2015
    Quick question summary: Under 10.11.6, is Spotlight supposed to be fully functional in Safe Mode? Apple Support says yes, but wanted to confirm.

    For those interested in the details:

    I'm having problems finding imported (but not new) emails in the Outlook 2016 database (can find keywords in the subject line or email address, but not in text body); same emails imported into Apple Mail are fine. Outlook uses Spotlight for indexing (consistent with this, when I search for those emails directly in Spotlight, it doesn't see them), so I'm trying to determine if the problem is Outlook or Spotlight.

    To check Spotlight, I booted into Safe Mode, and found that Spotlight doesn't work at all there. [More specifically, it still returns web results, but can't find anything on my computer; e.g., I went into Finder and opened a folder with several documents that had "xyz" in their titles; when I searched that folder for "xyz", it returned no results.] No folders are excluded from Spotlight in the Privacy Pane.

    According to Apple phone support, Spotlight should be fully functional in Safe Mode. Since reinstalling the OS didn't fix the problem, they say I need to make an appt. with the Genius Bar and have them check the computer. But before I take the time to do that, I wanted to double check: Is it really the case that Spotlight should operate in Safe Mode? I couldn't find any online documentation addressing this, so I'm asking here. Thanks!

    System: Mid-2014 MBP (11,3), 2.8 GHz i7, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, OSX 10.11.6
  2. theorist9 thread starter macrumors member

    May 28, 2015
  3. theorist9, Sep 12, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016

    theorist9 thread starter macrumors member

    May 28, 2015
    ANSWER: Apple Support was wrong. Spotlight DOES NOT work in Safe Boot under El Capitan (it used to do so under older OS's).

    So I just got back from the Genius Bar. Both the tech, and his supervisor, echoing Apple Support, said Spotlight works in Safe Boot mode (and I should mention that the tech at Apple Support confirmed this information with her Senior Advisor). They said this mean my Spotlight's not working properly, and my only recourse at this point would be to erase the drive and reinstall everything from scratch (all applications, etc.). I said: "You guys are all saying it's your understanding that it should work in Safe Boot; but I gather than none of you have tried it for yourselves. Do you have a computer here we could test that on? Sure enough, after testing it, we found that, just like on my computer, Spotlight DOES NOT work in Safe Boot under El Capitan (it used to do so in older systems). So everyone -- the Apple Support tech, her Senior Advisor, the Apple Genius, and the Apple Genius Supervisor, had it wrong. Good thing I decided to insist on evidence before reinstalling my entire user account -- imagine the time I would have wasted!

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