Get better – and more – answers than ever before from OS X’s built-in search engine
Apple is determined to make Spotlight the go-to place for finding anything using your Mac. Not just files and folders, but also online information, weather reports, your contacts and much more.
In recent years, Apple has started to blend search results from the internet with the ones from your Mac, adding a few new sources to make Spotlight more effective at answering a range of questions.
El Capitan gives you the ability to find certain things – files, folders and email – by expressing yourself using natural language. Spotlight then interprets your meaning to give you more accurate results, such as files you worked on a week ago when you want to continue a project.
One small but very welcome improvement is that you can also move the Spotlight window around. Once the window is showing results, you can resize the window’s height to show more results – important now that Spotlight can search many more sources, including various online services.
Among them is weather – you only need to enter that word to get results for your current location, though you can easily look up the forecast for other locations, too. Like Siri on iOS devices, Spotlight can look up team standings and upcoming fixtures when you enter the name of your favourite football team. It even looks up stock values, though how useful you’ll find that depends on your opinion of the iPhone’s equivalent app
While Siri remains lamentably absent from OS X, you can use your Mac’s Enhanced Dictation feature – and either a double-press of a key or, thanks to a returning feature from Yosemite, a spoken key phrase to trigger it – to open and control Spotlight. Read on to find out how to do all of these things…