OS X: Using Spotlight's Privacy Features

You know that folder you’ve got? That folder full of embarrassing files that have absolutely nothing to do with anyone being nude? Well, you may think that it’s hidden fourteen subfolders deep in your file system, but if someone does a Spotlight search for any terms that happen to be within that folder, you’re kind of hosed, privacy-wise.

I don’t even want to know why there’s a second hit for that phrase on my Mac.

Here’s the thing, though—Spotlight has a built-in way to exclude certain folders from its searches, so your embarrassing stuff will really, truly stay hidden. It’s simple to do, too. Just open System Preferences> Spotlight, select the “Privacy” tab, and then click the plus button at the lower-left to add a new folder to the list.

If you prefer, you can also drag items into that white box.

In either case, the folders you add and their contents will be excluded from your searches afterward. 

See? See how I searched in Spotlight for that folder name, and it didn’t come up? What a relief! I mean, for those of you out there who have stuff to hide. Not for me. Nope.