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File Search in MacOS Monterey


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Update 11/2: 

 

@Vero said (below):

Quote

While I can't conclusively say so, I'm wondering if something is wrong in Apple's current transfer process resulting in broken permissions for apps or underlying issues with the index.

 

If you create a brand new user account and perform some searches on the new profile, what behaviour are you seeing between Alfred and Spotlight?

 

This has solved my issue and a few other users experiencing the same issue also got it resolved. 

 

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

 

I got my new MacBook Pro yesterday and I transferred all my files and apps -- Alfred included, of course -- to my new laptop. However, the file search function is not working properly (it was on my old laptop). Things I have tried so far:

 

  • Give Alfred 4 Full Disk Access
  • Clear cache and rebuild MacOS metadata (completed)
  • Update Alfred 4 to v4.6
  • Include my folders in Search Scope
  • Confirmed that all settings are identical to those on my old laptop (on which the file search works normally)
  • Troubleshoot -- and the results are completely normal: (**update: originally I removed some infos in the diagnosis before posting here; now I have edited the post and attached a complete diagnosis with mdls data.)
    • Starting Diagnostics...

      File: 'fileSearchTest.png'
      Path: '/Users/_YQL_/Desktop'

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

      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: fileSearchTest.png
       Other Names: 
      Content Type: public.png
         Last Used: 2021-09-07 21:41:47 +0000

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

      Check mdls file metadata...

       Metadata contains required items

      _kMDItemDisplayNameWithExtensions      = "fileSearchTest.png"
      kMDItemBitsPerSample                   = 32
      kMDItemColorSpace                      = "RGB"
      kMDItemContentCreationDate             = 2021-09-07 21:41:38 +0000
      kMDItemContentCreationDate_Ranking     = 2021-09-07 00:00:00 +0000
      kMDItemContentModificationDate         = 2021-09-07 21:41:38 +0000
      kMDItemContentModificationDate_Ranking = 2021-09-07 00:00:00 +0000
      kMDItemContentType                     = "public.png"
      kMDItemContentTypeTree                 = (
          "public.png",
          "public.image",
          "public.data",
          "public.item",
          "public.content"
      )
      kMDItemDateAdded                       = 2021-10-26 21:21:25 +0000
      kMDItemDateAdded_Ranking               = 2021-10-26 00:00:00 +0000
      kMDItemDisplayName                     = "fileSearchTest.png"
      kMDItemDocumentIdentifier              = 46
      kMDItemDownloadedDate                  = (
          "2021-09-07 21:41:38 +0000"
      )
      kMDItemFSContentChangeDate             = 2021-09-07 21:41:38 +0000
      kMDItemFSCreationDate                  = 2021-09-07 21:41:38 +0000
      kMDItemFSCreatorCode                   = ""
      kMDItemFSFinderFlags                   = 8
      kMDItemFSHasCustomIcon                 = (null)
      kMDItemFSInvisible                     = 0
      kMDItemFSIsExtensionHidden             = 0
      kMDItemFSIsStationery                  = 1
      kMDItemFSLabel                         = 4
      kMDItemFSName                          = "fileSearchTest.png"
      kMDItemFSNodeCount                     = (null)
      kMDItemFSOwnerGroupID                  = 20
      kMDItemFSOwnerUserID                   = 502
      kMDItemFSSize                          = 57968
      kMDItemFSTypeCode                      = ""
      kMDItemHasAlphaChannel                 = 1
      kMDItemInterestingDate_Ranking         = 2021-09-07 00:00:00 +0000
      kMDItemKind                            = "PNG图像"
      kMDItemLastUsedDate                    = 2021-09-07 21:41:47 +0000
      kMDItemLastUsedDate_Ranking            = 2021-09-07 00:00:00 +0000
      kMDItemLogicalSize                     = 57968
      kMDItemOrientation                     = 0
      kMDItemPhysicalSize                    = 61440
      kMDItemPixelCount                      = 50625
      kMDItemPixelHeight                     = 225
      kMDItemPixelWidth                      = 225
      kMDItemUseCount                        = 4
      kMDItemUsedDates                       = (
          "2021-09-07 07:00:00 +0000"
      )
      kMDItemUserTags                        = (
          "\U84dd\U8272"
      )
      kMDItemWhereFroms                      = (
          "https://o.remove.bg/downloads/8e2d67c9-6990-410e-b93a-5a2cf3f91cde/Unknown-removebg-preview.png",
          "https://www.remove.bg/"
      )
      kMDLabel_kqde5prblvaibjifrcn4saxjwi    = 0001-01-01 00:00:00 +0000

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

      Check file is in search scope...

       File exists within Alfred's default search scope

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

       Troubleshooting passed

 

With all the attempts above, when I type in "find 408", nothing pops up:

 

Xnip2021-10-27_11-28-21.thumb.jpg.ec08db8823a04c998e39a08f05d7ac55.jpg

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

 

Edited by Skorpion
Problem solved
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@Skorpion It looks like you removed some of the essential information such as the file path and the mdls file metadata.

 

If you're not comfortable sharing that information in public and you're a Powerpack license holder, you can pop an email to our info@ email address with your details and I'll take a further look.

 

Cheers,
Vero

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2 hours ago, Vero said:

@Skorpion It looks like you removed some of the essential information such as the file path and the mdls file metadata.

 

If you're not comfortable sharing that information in public and you're a Powerpack license holder, you can pop an email to our info@ email address with your details and I'll take a further look.

 

Cheers,
Vero

Hi! I've created a new .png file in ~/Desktop/ and I've also added ~/Desktop to my Search Scope. Below is the result from troubleshooting:

 

Starting Diagnostics...

File: 'fileSearchTest.png'
Path: '/Users/_YQL_/Desktop'

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

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: fileSearchTest.png
 Other Names: 
Content Type: public.png
   Last Used: 2021-09-07 21:41:47 +0000

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

Check mdls file metadata...

Metadata contains required items

_kMDItemDisplayNameWithExtensions      = "fileSearchTest.png"
kMDItemBitsPerSample                   = 32
kMDItemColorSpace                      = "RGB"
kMDItemContentCreationDate             = 2021-09-07 21:41:38 +0000
kMDItemContentCreationDate_Ranking     = 2021-09-07 00:00:00 +0000
kMDItemContentModificationDate         = 2021-09-07 21:41:38 +0000
kMDItemContentModificationDate_Ranking = 2021-09-07 00:00:00 +0000
kMDItemContentType                     = "public.png"
kMDItemContentTypeTree                 = (
    "public.png",
    "public.image",
    "public.data",
    "public.item",
    "public.content"
)
kMDItemDateAdded                       = 2021-10-26 21:21:25 +0000
kMDItemDateAdded_Ranking               = 2021-10-26 00:00:00 +0000
kMDItemDisplayName                     = "fileSearchTest.png"
kMDItemDocumentIdentifier              = 46
kMDItemDownloadedDate                  = (
    "2021-09-07 21:41:38 +0000"
)
kMDItemFSContentChangeDate             = 2021-09-07 21:41:38 +0000
kMDItemFSCreationDate                  = 2021-09-07 21:41:38 +0000
kMDItemFSCreatorCode                   = ""
kMDItemFSFinderFlags                   = 8
kMDItemFSHasCustomIcon                 = (null)
kMDItemFSInvisible                     = 0
kMDItemFSIsExtensionHidden             = 0
kMDItemFSIsStationery                  = 1
kMDItemFSLabel                         = 4
kMDItemFSName                          = "fileSearchTest.png"
kMDItemFSNodeCount                     = (null)
kMDItemFSOwnerGroupID                  = 20
kMDItemFSOwnerUserID                   = 502
kMDItemFSSize                          = 57968
kMDItemFSTypeCode                      = ""
kMDItemHasAlphaChannel                 = 1
kMDItemInterestingDate_Ranking         = 2021-09-07 00:00:00 +0000
kMDItemKind                            = "PNG图像"
kMDItemLastUsedDate                    = 2021-09-07 21:41:47 +0000
kMDItemLastUsedDate_Ranking            = 2021-09-07 00:00:00 +0000
kMDItemLogicalSize                     = 57968
kMDItemOrientation                     = 0
kMDItemPhysicalSize                    = 61440
kMDItemPixelCount                      = 50625
kMDItemPixelHeight                     = 225
kMDItemPixelWidth                      = 225
kMDItemUseCount                        = 4
kMDItemUsedDates                       = (
    "2021-09-07 07:00:00 +0000"
)
kMDItemUserTags                        = (
    "\U84dd\U8272"
)
kMDItemWhereFroms                      = (
    "https://o.remove.bg/downloads/8e2d67c9-6990-410e-b93a-5a2cf3f91cde/Unknown-removebg-preview.png",
    "https://www.remove.bg/"
)
kMDLabel_kqde5prblvaibjifrcn4saxjwi    = 0001-01-01 00:00:00 +0000

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

Check file is in search scope...

File exists within Alfred's default search scope

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

Troubleshooting passed
 

Nevertheless, typing "find fileSearchTest" or simply "find file" still does not return anything. 

Link to comment

I am having the same issue. Have gone through the recommended steps, including rebuilding the macOS metadata and no luck. The File Search troubleshooting shows all green checkmarks - before I did any troubleshooting and after everything was rebuilt. Focusing on one test file (an Excel .xslx file within home directory structure) The file in question showed up in spotlight without issue and continues to do so. This is all on a new 2021 MBP (M1 Max) that brought over another system's data (2019 MBP) via migration assistant. On that prior/source system, both before AND after upgrade to Monterey (up to current 12.0.1), that .xlsx file comes up on file search in Alfred with no issue. Both systems using 4.6 [1266]. On new MBP it appears that it will return folders under the ~/ structure, but otherwise no files. It will return files elsewhere (under /Applications/*, /System/*, etc.). Settings are the same between systems, including Home Folder: ~ (Unix Standard). Nothing weird in Spotlight settings under Privacy - all default system settings. Hopefully these details help trace this issue, however I am baffled by the different results between the 2021 and 2019 MBPs with essentially the same settings/data/etc. Is this an Apple Silicon issue, somehow?

Link to comment

Hello, just to share the same issue. Currently on Monterey and intel iMac. Can't find any file even if the diagnosis tool shows that everything is ok. I can use spotlight as normal and it shows everything. 

 

Thank you.

Link to comment
14 hours ago, Andrew said:

Could you confirm that Spotlight is finding the files which Alfred isn't? As that makes the difference between needing a reindex vs a permission issue of sorts.

Yes, I can confirm that Spotlight is able to find the file. Please see attachments below:

 

Xnip2021-10-29_21-27-45.thumb.jpg.e57a3e92852f3d577ff140b9f43d097f.jpgXnip2021-10-29_21-28-05.thumb.jpg.d040bf46a1c10968628298e9fcabd051.jpg

 

What makes matters more interesting is that `find' seems to work when I'm searching for folders in ~/, but it somehow fails when I'm searching for files under the same path. jhutch's comment above indicates they have the same issue. Below illustrate what I mean:

 

Xnip2021-10-29_21-32-26.thumb.jpg.3f10eb556841792d93af0e4a6a2e6870.jpg

Xnip2021-10-29_21-30-12.thumb.jpg.ae8bf55f29891d04baaab0bbd2aaf0b0.jpg

Edited by Skorpion
Link to comment

I uninstalled Alfred, rebooted, and reinstalled it. I noticed a few things.

1. I was using a much older version of Alfred

2. When it came to authorizing Alfred in the Security and Privacy area, the app shows up under Accessibility and Contacts, but not Full Disk Access. When I made my first couple of searches I was asked to allow access to the Downloads Folder, Documents, etc. as I searched files in different places. It's still not listed under Full Disk Access.

3. It will not search the Google Drive folder. It seems this is a Google issue and the current version of Googles Desktop Drive is not allowing macs to index the drive. This is affecting both silicon and intel chips.

 

Now that I have reinstalled it seems to be working, but again I am using Alfred 4 so the whole app is different from what I was using before. I am hoping Google updates the indexing issue and it seems to be on the message boards for 2-3 months now. 

 

Running masOS Monetery 12.0.1 Intel Chip

Link to comment

@iclark With regards to Full Disk Access, you can add Alfred manually by unlocking the padlock at the bottom (which will require entering your user profile password), then clicking the + button and adding Alfred.

 

In terms of your last question, an update to Google Drive in recent months has caused Spotlight and macOS to stop indexing the files.  Google is very opaque about what's happening under the hood with Google Drive so we don't know whether they intend to re-enable indexing in the future.

 

In the meantime, one of our most long term community members @vitor has created an excellent workflow for use with Google Drive:

 

 

Cheers,
Vero

Link to comment

Hello Guys, 

 

Has anyone found a solution yet? I have the same problem: 

 

Just bought a 14 inch MacBook Pro, transferred everything from my Mac mini to my new MacBook Pro but I can not search for files in Alfred (folders are being found).

 

Things I have tried: 

  • Troubleshooting in help menu gives all green check marks;
  • 1. Use the "find", "open", and "in" keywords -> not working;

  • 2. Set the Search Scope correctly -> done, no effect;

  • 3. Check your Spotlight settings -> done, no effect. Spotlight is finding the files just fine;

  • 4. Check the Spotlight Privacy tab -> done, nothing there;

  • 5. Rebuild your Mac's metadata index -> done, no effect;

  • 6. Reload the Applications cache -> done, no effect;

  • 7. Check the name of the file you're searching for -> done, can't find any files;

  • All access is given: Accessibility, Full disk access, Automation & contacts;

  • uninstall, reboot & install -> done, no effect. 

 

Thank you in advance.

 

Kind regards,

 

Pim

 

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@Pim @iclark @jcrisp16 @rocklobster There seems to be a pattern here; All those who are reporting issues finding files seem to have gone through the same scenario of transferring from a previous Time Machine or migrating everything from another Mac rather than done a fresh install.

 

While I can't conclusively say so, I'm wondering if something is wrong in Apple's current transfer process resulting in broken permissions for apps or underlying issues with the index.

 

If you create a brand new user account and perform some searches on the new profile, what behaviour are you seeing between Alfred and Spotlight?

 

Cheers,
Vero

 

 

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@Vero Thank you for linking me into this thread. You are correct as far as I am concerned I just time machined over to a new m1 mac. Wierdly, I did the same from an intel big sur mac to m1 monetary and everything was fine. That m1 machine developed a fault though and was replaced. The process of the old m1 backup to the new m1 is where things went south.

 

I have now done a clean install and everything works fine. Alfred wasn't the only app developing issues I later realised.

Link to comment

Hi, I'm in this bandwagon as well. I've been a powerpack user for over a decade.

 

I used Migration Assistant to transfer direct between two MacBook Pros. Alfred was fully functional on the old MacBook Pro. Both are runnning macOS 12.0.1.

 

On the new MBP, Alfred can find folders that are directly in my home directory, but it does not find files or folders deeper in the hierarchy. I have rebuilt my spotlight index. The files can be found with mdfind. The file find diagnostics show green checkmarks. I have granted Alfred Full Disk Access.

 

Quote

$ mdfind wicked_pdf
/Users/ryan/projects/wicked_pdf

(... and all the files in that folder)

 

Quote

Starting Diagnostics...

File: 'wicked_pdf'
Path: '/Users/ryan/projects'

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

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: wicked_pdf
 Other Names:
Content Type: public.folder
   Last Used: 2021-11-02 19:55:55 +0000

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

Check mdls file metadata...

Metadata contains required items

_kMDItemDisplayNameWithExtensions      = "wicked_pdf"
kMDItemContentCreationDate             = 2012-10-30 16:29:04 +0000
kMDItemContentCreationDate_Ranking     = 2012-10-30 00:00:00 +0000
kMDItemContentModificationDate         = 2012-10-30 16:29:04 +0000
kMDItemContentModificationDate_Ranking = 2012-10-30 00:00:00 +0000
kMDItemContentType                     = "public.folder"
kMDItemContentTypeTree                 = (
    "public.folder",
    "public.directory",
    "public.item"
)
kMDItemDateAdded                       = 2021-11-01 21:17:05 +0000
kMDItemDateAdded_Ranking               = 2021-11-01 00:00:00 +0000
kMDItemDisplayName                     = "wicked_pdf"
kMDItemDocumentIdentifier              = 0
kMDItemFSContentChangeDate             = 2012-10-30 16:29:04 +0000
kMDItemFSCreationDate                  = 2012-10-30 16:29:04 +0000
kMDItemFSCreatorCode                   = ""
kMDItemFSFinderFlags                   = 0
kMDItemFSHasCustomIcon                 = (null)
kMDItemFSInvisible                     = 0
kMDItemFSIsExtensionHidden             = 0
kMDItemFSIsStationery                  = (null)
kMDItemFSLabel                         = 0
kMDItemFSName                          = "wicked_pdf"
kMDItemFSNodeCount                     = 14
kMDItemFSOwnerGroupID                  = 80
kMDItemFSOwnerUserID                   = 501
kMDItemFSSize                          = (null)
kMDItemFSTypeCode                      = ""
kMDItemInterestingDate_Ranking         = 2021-11-02 00:00:00 +0000
kMDItemKind                            = "Folder"
kMDItemLastUsedDate                    = 2021-11-02 19:55:55 +0000
kMDItemLastUsedDate_Ranking            = 2021-11-02 00:00:00 +0000
kMDItemUseCount                        = 1
kMDItemUsedDates                       = (
    "2021-11-02 07:00:00 +0000"
)

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

Check file is in search scope...

File exists within Alfred's default search scope

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

Troubleshooting passed

 

Uh, I tried to attach my Alfred diagnostics file but it says that file type is not allowed.

 

Happy to provide any additional information that might be helpful.

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@Vero I created a new user account and the search function worked properly. Last week I used time machine to upgrade from a 2017 MacBook Pro to a m1 MacBook Air. Everything else from the transfer seems to have worked perfectly though and spotlight appears to be completely functional.

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@jhutch @smokedalmond Tagging you both to ask you to please take a look at this post and let me know whether your scenario matches this?

 

 

 

If you've also transferred/migrated from another Mac, could you please try creating a new profile on your Mac temporarily and see whether Alfred can find files?

 

I can't recall *exactly* which version of macOS caused this same issue, could've been Mojave or Catalina, but this isn't new; Apple's migration system is not flawless, and Monterey is brand new, so it's likely that there are permission issues on this migrated set of data, stopping Alfred from gaining access to the indexed data.

 

A new profile or fresh install (without migration of data) would almost certainly resolve this issue, or Apple may fix this in an upcoming Monterey update.

 

To everyone in this thread, please do share any progress or discoveries you make with your fellow community members :)

 

Cheers,
Vero

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Same issue here on two devices that were migrated using Migration Assistant (from macOS 12.0.1 to macOS 12.0.1 (Apple Silicon)).

 

Spotlight as well as other apps can see the files just fine 😞

 

I didn't try to create a new user profile given that's not a solution I would be willing to accept.
Removing all permission via Preferences as well as

tccutil reset All com.runningwithcrayons.Alfred

did not make a difference.

 

Any ideas on what could be worth resetting are very welcome. Broken file search is a massive productivity killer for me.

Link to comment
18 hours ago, andreas0 said:

I didn't try to create a new user profile given that's not a solution I would be willing to accept.

 

@andreas0 The aim isn't for you to have to switch to a new profile permanently if you don't want to; It's a way to test the theory that the issue you're experiencing is exclusively on your primary profile, which then narrows down the next steps to look for.

 

As this isn't an issue we're seeing on our own Monterey Macs, we're relying on the handful of people experiencing this issue to provide more details so that we can help you based on what you report :)

 

Please keep in mind that macOS Monterey is mere days old in terms of public release, and that there are bugs in every single macOS release, which are exhibited by third-party apps even though the issue is caused by macOS itself. We've seen this before in almost every macOS release, and most of these hiccups are ironed out after a couple of post-release Monterey updates from Apple. 

 

Cheers,
Vero

 

 

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I did not see it referenced above, but Disk Utility sees no issues (permissions or otherwise) when running a repair disk routine and there is no impact on the file search issue with Alfred. If it is a permissions issue, then it is a very odd one given the interplay involved with Spotlight and seeming restriction to only files (but not folders) in user’s home directories tied to migrations.

 

By-the-by, I’m also another 10 year user and have had Alfred running daily across countless systems/migrations/etc. over that time period with no issue (other than some weirdness with snippets when that was a new feature). Also have generally kept it on pre-release updates, too.

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A few more observations:

  • The file search results do indeed include folders - but only the ones in the user directory. Nested folders do not show up
  • The search results do not include files - even when located directly in the home directory.
  • Console logs didn't show anything very obvious but adding a few relevant lines here to be able to rule out a few things
    • No obvious errors or warnings
    • TCC seems to be happy and full disk access is indeed being granted (explains why resetting it doesn't help I guess)
access	info	16:20:41.106914+0100	tccd	Handling access request to kTCCServiceSystemPolicyAllFiles, from Sub:{com.runningwithcrayons.Alfred}Resp:{<TCCDProcess: identifier=com.runningwithcrayons.Alfred, pid=4738, auid=501, euid=501, binary_path=/Applications/Alfred 4.app/Contents/MacOS/Alfred>}, ReqResult(Auth Right: Allowed (System Set), DB Action:None)
access	default	16:20:41.106946+0100	tccd	AUTHREQ_RESULT: msgID=331.213, authValue=2, authReason=4, authVersion=1, error=(null),
access	info	16:20:41.107225+0100	tccd	REPLY_MSG: msg={
	auth_value=2 (0x2)
	result=true
	auth_version=1 (0x1)
	auth_reason=4 (0x4)
}

 

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Ok, yeah, this is super weird.

 

1. Create a new user account

2. Add /Users/original to the Alfred search path

3. Search for and successfully find the exact same files in Alfred that you couldn't when logged in as original.

 

Switching to an entirely different user account would be quite a hassle, though. Especially given my understanding that the original admin account on an Apple Silicon mac is a special super admin account that ties into some of the hardware locking and activation.

 

BTW, `ls -le` isn't showing extended ACLs for any of the home directory folders other than the usual everyone deny delete on the built-in default user folders like Desktop and Music.

 

EDIT: WOW. Step 4: Switch back to your original account. Alfred can now find the files it couldn't find before. So this isn't even just a diagnostic thing; creating a new user profile actually fixed my existing user. The only thing I see that's different is that my original user account got added to a new group called com.apple.sharepoint.group.#.

Edited by rdj
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