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Some apps don't show up in search results after update


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I seem to have the same issue reported  here. Unfortunately there are no updates to that issue since August and I don't know if it was ever resolved.

 

In a nutshell, I installed Big Sur yesterday and now I have an issue where many of the apps I have installed won't show up in the search results, even after clearing the application cache and rebuilding the macOS metadata. Things I observed:

  • all the apps can be launched from Spotlight, so the issue seems to be only with Alfred 😒
  • if I launch one of the "missing" apps with Spotlight and then search for it in Alfred, the app still won't show up in Alfred's search results 🤬
  • if I launch one of the "missing" apps directly from Finder, I am then able to launch it in Alfred as it will start showing up in the search results 🤨

 

I ran the troubleshooting on one of the apps that weren't showing up and these were the results:

Quote

 

Starting Diagnostics...

File: 'Meeter.app'
Path: '/Applications'

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check file cache database...

File cache integrity is ok

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check if file is readable...

Alfred has permissions to read this file.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check file is in search scope...

File exists within Alfred's default search scope

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check if volume '/' is indexed by macOS...

Indexing is enabled on this drive

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check direct file metadata...

⚠️ Direct metadata is missing, this file is likely not indexed by macOS

Display Name:
 Other Names:
Content Type:
   Last Used:

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check mdls file metadata...

macOS metadata missing essential items

kMDItemFSContentChangeDate = (null)
kMDItemFSCreationDate      = (null)
kMDItemFSCreatorCode       = ""
kMDItemFSFinderFlags       = (null)
kMDItemFSHasCustomIcon     = (null)
kMDItemFSInvisible         = 0
kMDItemFSIsExtensionHidden = (null)
kMDItemFSIsStationery      = (null)
kMDItemFSLabel             = (null)
kMDItemFSName              = (null)
kMDItemFSNodeCount         = (null)
kMDItemFSOwnerGroupID      = (null)
kMDItemFSOwnerUserID       = (null)
kMDItemFSSize              = (null)
kMDItemFSTypeCode          = ""

-----------------------------------------------------------

Troubleshooting failed

 

 

This is also the first time that I installed a version of macOS on a separate partition rather than taking the whole drive - not sure if it might help troubleshooting the issue. Basically, I did the following:

  1. create a new APFS partition on my SSD
  2. launched the Big Sur installer, instructing it to install the OS on the new partition
  3. once Big Sur was installed, I picked the option to import applications, files and settings from another installation of macOS, pointing to the partition where Catalina is installed

 

 

 

 

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@Andrew I had already reindexed the macOS metadata:

 

Quote

many of the apps I have installed won't show up in the search results, even after clearing the application cache and rebuilding the macOS metadata

 

I actually tried both approaches (the one suggested in the Apple support page and the "Rebuild macOS Metadata" and it doesn't make any difference. I just tried to rebuild the metadata once again, waited for the indexing to be completed as indicated in Spotlight, but the issue persists.

 

This is what happens when I try to search for "XConvert", first in Spotlight and then in Alfred:

 

 

1551091028_ScreenShot2020-11-16at14_17_31.thumb.png.ef2971b2985a989b7fda7242a2142541.png

 

1145909066_ScreenShot2020-11-16at14_17_46.thumb.png.11f539433a1f8c0e01342d226014c123.png

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@thatbadboy  Keep in mind that you have just installed Big Sur, which has only been out for mere days, and as an upgrade. Upgrades can sometimes leads to permissions issues or data corruption.

  1. Taking a look at the metadata you shared earlier, if you run this again, is the metadata fixed now? If it isn't, it's a sign that the underlying indexing issue hasn't been resolved.
  2. Could you please open Alfred's preferences to General > Request Permissions, and go through to the macOS permissions.  Please remove and re-add Alfred to the Full Disk Access permissions, then see again if results are being returned.
  3. If the issue persists, please try creating a new user account temporarily, then going through seeing whether your apps are found there.

It's most likely that upon upgrading to macOS Big Sur some permissions were broken, meaning that Alfred hasn't got access to your files.

 

At this point, only a small number of users have reported any issues with indexing on Big Sur, and one user reported resolving it by reinstalling Big Sur. It'll be up to you whether you choose to do this, but the Troubleshooter's output giving you all green ticks will be your best indicator of working metadata. :)

 

Cheers,
Vero

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@Vero I totally agree that running a new OS that was installed as an upgrade can lead to permission issues and data corruption. With that said, I thought that I would report my findings since it appears to be a bug with Alfred and it was reported by at least one more user.

 

With regard to your questions:

1. The metadata isn't fixed, as reported by the file search troubleshooting, unless/until I launch the application from the Finder, first.

2. Tried that, but the issue persists.

3. Haven't tried that yet, but I can give it a try.

 

I will be definitely doing a clean installation of Big Sur at some point and hopefully the issue will be solved.

 

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6 minutes ago, thatbadboy said:

I thought that I would report my findings since it appears to be a bug with Alfred and it was reported by at least one more user.

 

@thatbadboy When the metadata is broken (returning red crosses in the metadata tool), the issue is squarely out of Alfred's hands. This metadata is maintained by macOS and, while Alfred can tell macOS to start to rebuild the index, Alfred doesn't maintain or control said index. 

 

Once your index is healthy and complete, with no red errors when running the troubleshooting tool, you'll be one step closer to macOS providing Alfred with the necessary file metadata to be able to return results when searching. A broken index means that any other apps relying on the same index behind the scenes would eventually also exhibit the missing files issue.

 

A fresh install of Big Sur is the most sure-fire way to resolve any permissions or indexing issues that could've occurred from an upgrade. 

 

Cheers,
Vero

 

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I'm having the same problem described here. Since upgrading to Big Sur, I noticed that new applications were not appearing in Alfred. I clicked the button to have Alfred rebuild the application cache, and now no applications show up in Alfred.

 

I ran the file metadata troubleshooting on an application and it returned similar results to the one posted above. 

 

Starting Diagnostics...

File: 'Basecamp 3.app'
Path: '/Applications'

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check file cache database...

 File cache integrity is ok

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check if file is readable...

 Alfred has permissions to read this file.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check file is in search scope...

 File exists within Alfred's default search scope

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check if volume '/' is indexed by macOS...

 Indexing is enabled on this drive

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check direct file metadata...

⚠️ Direct metadata is missing, this file is likely not indexed by macOS

Display Name: 
 Other Names: 
Content Type: 
   Last Used: 

-----------------------------------------------------------

Check mdls file metadata...

 macOS metadata missing essential items

-----------------------------------------------------------

 Troubleshooting failed

 

I've triggered a rebuild of the macOS Metadata, I've tried toggling the Full Disk Access permission, but nothing has improved the situation.

 

Is there anything else I can try that doesn't involve wiping my hard drive and starting over fresh?

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@willcosgrove When rebuilding your Mac's metadata, did you see any errors in Terminal? 

 

You can always try dragging your Applications folder into Spotlight's Privacy tab, waiting 30 seconds, dragging it back out then waiting again. This is another way to force macOS to rebuild specific folders.

 

While the vast majority of users (ourselves included) have upgraded to Big Sur totally smoothly, a few users are seeing indexing issues like yours. While Big Sur is a pretty solid release, macOS isn't completely flawless, and minor corruption issues like this can occur upon OS upgrade. Try the above first as it might sort it out for you :)

 

Cheers,
Vero

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Hi - this has now been solved after writing Alfred support. The troubleshooting that worked for me was: 

"

First, open macOS's System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Full Disk Access and grant Terminal Full Disk Access. This will ensure that a reindex is done properly.
 
Next, type "?rebuild" into Alfred. When the window pops up, check the box to Delete Spotlight-V100 before rebuilding. This will ensure macOS is able to do the most thorough reindex. 
 
Once you're in Terminal and you type your password, pay attention to any error messages in the Terminal window. If there are any issues starting the reindex, Terminal should tell you there.
 
If the reindex starts properly, wait an hour or so, then look at the metadata results again to see whether the metadata is complete.
 
Some users have opted for a full reinstall of Big Sur, as the issue you're seeing would affect any apps relying on the metadata, not just Alfred, but I appreciate that this is a more time consuming undertaking so can be saved as a last resort."
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Hi all, just posting what worked for me, it might help anyone else.

TL;DR: run the commands in the box below, then "Rebuild macOS Metadata".

 

I'm also using Alfred (4.2.1 [1187]) and I installed Big Sur (11.0.1) recently.

I was not seeing applications nor folders in Alfred.

The "File Search Troubleshooting" showed similar responses as in the posts above: "Direct metadata is missing, this file is likely not indexed by macOS".

 

I tried these solutions from posts above with no luck:

  • Alfred Preferences / Advanced / Clear Application Cache
  • Alfred Preferences / Advanced / Rebuild macOS Metadata
  • Remove and add back folders in System Preferences / Spotlight / Privacy

These commands worked for me:

sudo mdutil -a -i off
sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
sudo mdutil -a -i on

I found the solution in this article: How to fix Spotlight search not working on macOS.


This was the output:

$ sudo mdutil -a -i off
/:
2020-11-24 21:16:03.161 mdutil[65865:26582587] mdutil disabling Spotlight: / -> kMDConfigSearchLevelFSSearchOnly
        Indexing disabled.
/System/Volumes/Data:
Error: invalid operation.
        Error: unknown indexing state.
✘-1 ~
$ sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
✔ ~
$ sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
✔ ~
$ sudo mdutil -a -i on
/:
        Indexing enabled.
/System/Volumes/Data:
        Indexing enabled.

Just to be sure, I ran: Alfred Preferences / Advanced / Rebuild macOS Metadata.
Now everything works.

 

I don't know if it's related, but I have Apple's System Integrity Protection turned off.

 

I didn't want to format and reinstall Big Sur to solve the problem.

I refuse to format and reinstall fresh unless it's the very last resort.

 

Thank you all!

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@dd852 I had already tried your suggestion, but unfortunately it didn't solve the issue. Thanks for sharing, however!

 

9 hours ago, dd852 said:

Hi - this has now been solved after writing Alfred support. The troubleshooting that worked for me was: 

"

First, open macOS's System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Full Disk Access and grant Terminal Full Disk Access. This will ensure that a reindex is done properly.
 
Next, type "?rebuild" into Alfred. When the window pops up, check the box to Delete Spotlight-V100 before rebuilding. This will ensure macOS is able to do the most thorough reindex. 
 
Once you're in Terminal and you type your password, pay attention to any error messages in the Terminal window. If there are any issues starting the reindex, Terminal should tell you there.
 
If the reindex starts properly, wait an hour or so, then look at the metadata results again to see whether the metadata is complete.
 
Some users have opted for a full reinstall of Big Sur, as the issue you're seeing would affect any apps relying on the metadata, not just Alfred, but I appreciate that this is a more time consuming undertaking so can be saved as a last resort."

 

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@andreoliwa your solution worked for me - thanks!

 

I actually couldn't follow all your steps, since SIP must be disabled in order to run the following:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

 

I was in the middle of work and I couldn't take time to reboot and disable SIP. I just tried my luck and ran:

sudo mdutil -a -i off
sudo mdutil -a -i on

 

All my applications now show up in the search results and I see no more errors when troubleshooting.

 

4 hours ago, andreoliwa said:

Hi all, just posting what worked for me, it might help anyone else.

TL;DR: run the commands in the box below, then "Rebuild macOS Metadata".

 

I'm also using Alfred (4.2.1 [1187]) and I installed Big Sur (11.0.1) recently.

I was not seeing applications nor folders in Alfred.

The "File Search Troubleshooting" showed similar responses as in the posts above: "Direct metadata is missing, this file is likely not indexed by macOS".

 

I tried these solutions from posts above with no luck:

  • Alfred Preferences / Advanced / Clear Application Cache
  • Alfred Preferences / Advanced / Rebuild macOS Metadata
  • Remove and add back folders in System Preferences / Spotlight / Privacy

These commands worked for me:


sudo mdutil -a -i off
sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
sudo mdutil -a -i on

I found the solution in this article: How to fix Spotlight search not working on macOS.


This was the output:


$ sudo mdutil -a -i off
/:
2020-11-24 21:16:03.161 mdutil[65865:26582587] mdutil disabling Spotlight: / -> kMDConfigSearchLevelFSSearchOnly
        Indexing disabled.
/System/Volumes/Data:
Error: invalid operation.
        Error: unknown indexing state.
✘-1 ~
$ sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
✔ ~
$ sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
✔ ~
$ sudo mdutil -a -i on
/:
        Indexing enabled.
/System/Volumes/Data:
        Indexing enabled.

Just to be sure, I ran: Alfred Preferences / Advanced / Rebuild macOS Metadata.
Now everything works.

 

I don't know if it's related, but I have Apple's System Integrity Protection turned off.

 

I didn't want to format and reinstall Big Sur to solve the problem.

I refuse to format and reinstall fresh unless it's the very last resort.

 

Thank you all!

 

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