Apple - How to disable Developer and Web Searches in Spotlight?

Spotlight thinks you are a 'Developer', if you have Xcode installed, or happened to install it at any time in the past, and hence shows you search results that maybe relevant to a developer.

When Xcode is actually installed and present on the computer, a check-box called 'Developer' appears in the System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results panel giving us the option to disable 'Developer' results from appearing in our searches. When Xcode is not detected, the check-box disappears from the Preferences Panel, but Spotlight continues to show results from the 'Developer' category.

I am currently on Yosemite, and had installed and un-installed Xcode way back on Mountain-Lion or Lion, opting to use the 'Command Line Tools' instead. I also had Spotlight disabled until recently, and started getting hundreds of Search Results under the Developer category, once I re-enabled it. The clutter was making spotlight unusable.

Unable to find a solution anywhere on the Web, this is what I finally tried, and it worked:

I created an empty file called in the Applications folder, and the missing 'Developer' check-box showed up in Spotlight Preferences, which I could then un-check to solve my problem.

Open Applications > Utilities > then type and press Enter after each of the following lines to create the dummy Xcode app

cd /Applications

then head to Spotlight Preferences and uncheck 'Developer' (you might need to restart the System Preferences app to see the missing check-box appear).


  • You need to keep the dummy even after changing the setting, deleting it will cause the setting to revert back.
  • Another solution would be to install Xcode itself

I detailed a fix in this forum thread:

As the top answer is a link to a forum post, below is the steps from post in case it disappears one day.

The fix below describes how to remove the spotlight developer category without installing XCode first.

Convert the plist to XML:

plutil -convert xml1 ~/Library/Preferences/

Open the file in the editor of your choice:

vim ~/Library/Preferences/

Just before </array> at the bottom, add the following:


Convert the file back to binary:

plutil -convert binary1 ~/Library/Preferences/

Log out and back in again.