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Alfred not finding Homebrew apps on M1 (/opt/homebrew)


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I install Emacs from Homebrew. For years, Alfred has been able to find it. On the new M1 Macs, the Homebrew (v3) location is in /opt/homebrew.


Here's my Emacs.app:

% ls -lA /opt/homebrew/Cellar/emacs-plus@28/28.0.50| grep Emacs
drwxr-xr-x  3 mfisher  staff     96 Feb 14 11:51 Emacs.app


Per the recipe instructions, I did:

To link the application to default Homebrew App location:
  ln -s /opt/homebrew/opt/emacs-plus@28/Emacs.app /Applications


I added `/opt/homebrew/Cellar` into my Alfred search scope. But when I activate Alfred and type "emacs", Alfred doesn't find it.


Alfred v4.3.2 [1220]

macOS Version 11.3 Beta (20E5172i)




Alfred Preferences.jpg

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I went to take a look and noticed /opt/homebrew-cask/Caskroom is part of the defaults. That no longer makes sense, @Andrew, as anyone with their Caskroom on that location has a really old and unsupported installation which I doubt even works. And I agree /opt/homebrew/Cellar makes sense to add.


@mfisher Does Spotlight find that Emacs? Alfred depends on it.

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On 2/14/2021 at 6:52 PM, vitor said:


@mfisher Does Spotlight find that Emacs? Alfred depends on it.


@vitor It does not. Are there any clever ways to force indexing on a path? I tried Apple's procedure to rebuild a Spotlight index for /opt.


For the time being, I made a workflow to launch Emacs, so I am content again.





Starting Diagnostics...

File: 'Emacs.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 if volume '/' is indexed by macOS...

Indexing is enabled on this drive


Check direct file metadata...

Direct metadata available

Display Name: Emacs.app
 Other Names: 
Content Type: com.apple.application-bundle
   Last Used: 2021-02-14 16:51:11 +0000


Check mdls file metadata...

macOS metadata missing essential items

kMDItemFSContentChangeDate = 2021-02-14 16:51:11 +0000
kMDItemFSCreationDate      = 2021-01-10 01:11:39 +0000
kMDItemFSCreatorCode       = ""
kMDItemFSFinderFlags       = 0
kMDItemFSHasCustomIcon     = 0
kMDItemFSInvisible         = 0
kMDItemFSIsExtensionHidden = 0
kMDItemFSIsStationery      = 0
kMDItemFSLabel             = 0
kMDItemFSName              = "Emacs.app"
kMDItemFSNodeCount         = 1
kMDItemFSOwnerGroupID      = 20
kMDItemFSOwnerUserID       = 501
kMDItemFSSize              = 1
kMDItemFSTypeCode          = ""


Troubleshooting failed

Edited by mfisher
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  • 11 months later...

I found a way to let Alfred open aliases to applications (that is, .app directories). Funny, my use case was also to get Homebrew-installed Emacs to show up. As a result, these instructions are for Emacs, but they should generalize to any .app alias.


First, create a macOS alias, not a symlink:

  • In Finder, press Cmd-Shift-g and use Tab auto-complete to enter the path of the directory containing Emacs.app (In my case, it is currently /opt/homebrew/Cellar/emacs-mac/emacs-27.2-mac-8.3)
  • Press Cmd-n to open a new Finder window, then Cmd-Shift-a to go to /Applications
  • Create an alias by Cmd-Option dragging Emacs.app from the homebrew window to the /Applications window.

Now, let's make Alfred include macOS aliases in search results:

  • Open Alfred's preferences, navigate to General > Default Results, and under Extras: click Advanced. A popup window will open that allows you to add file types that will be shown in search results.
  • Drag the Emacs.app alias from the Finder /Applications window to the popup window. The new entry should read com.apple.alias-file  |  alias

Close the popup and try searching for emacs. The result list should include the Emacs.app alias.


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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

This still continues to be a problem. I'm not sure why even the Finder link is failing for me when I upgraded the app (I recreated the link with correct path, but it is not visible in the search results anymore). I wound up just creating custom workflow with the keyword I want + universal actions I want associated with the homebrew app (Emacs, in this case). This is somewhat unfortunate as this *used* to work fine. Would it be an option just to make some way to use non-spotlight search of specific paths possible or something? I don't really care if Alfred does it once when booting or once per day or something.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm running into this still. The workflow did not change anything. Neither Spotlight nor Alfred can see the emacs-plus alias in /Applications.


It's the only time I've ever run into Alfred not being able to find something. Strange!

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