3 Replies Latest reply: Feb 11, 2014 6:37 AM by mechno
_daniel_ Level 1 (20 points)



Spotlight in Mavericks shows the contents of MP3 files (i.e., the contents of the tags) instead of the filename of the MP3 files – even when dedicately searching for filename.


This is different from the old Spotlight version showed search results (and I liked the old way better because if I am search for filenames I would expect to see filenames, not tag contents, as the result of such a search).


How to Change Spotlight to Show Filenames (not Tags) of MP3s? And btw. is there a way to set Spotlight to per default search for filename only, not contents? All failing, are there alternatives to Spotlight?


  • mechno Level 1 (0 points)

    I'll try to find it, but there are other threads on this matter and you are not alone. I absolutely validate your point.

    A music suite, such as iTunes, can return results by metadata "Name" instead of filename. But a file management application like Finder should not.


    I have written to the author of "Xtrafinder" in hopes that they will add a preference to return all results as filename. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a reply, but I'm hopeful because it does seem that they know their way around Finder pretty well.


    Interesting side note; On my computer which was upgraded to Mavericks, this issue is not present. This makes me very hopeful that there's an "under the hood" hack possible to return to the old result format by adjusting the preferences manually.

  • _daniel_ Level 1 (20 points)

    Hi mechno, hi all,


    Thank you for the reply, mechno! If you ever find out why this is different in your Maverick, please let me know (I have two MBPs and one iMac, all Mavericks, all with the same problem).


    It's a really a straight forward functionality, just wanting search (only) for filenames, not contents + having filenames displayed as search results, not contents.


    Note: I know you can set the search to "Name" (filename), which should be the default, really, but there are three problem with that:


    1) It is actually quite a fiddeling to do get to that option. When I open Spotlight (typically either via Cmd-Space, or clicking on the menubar logo) there is NO option to search for filenames only. The option only becomes available if you perform a search, which gives you a list of results, on top of which is the option "Show All in Finder". Once you click on that option and move to Finder, you can delete the last letter of the search term, re-type that letter (...) and THEN you are able to select "Name matches:[searchterm]" from the dropdown menu... This is so annoying if you search a lot, which I do. >> In short, it is too difficult to search for filename only.


    2.) Even if you do that, not all files are actually displayed. For example, I wish to find all MP3 file with the name "Example" in the name of the file. However, the file "01 - Example Artist - Track01.mp3" (this is from an actual example, I just replaced artist and track names, as these are irrelevant) is found in the "Music results" section when searching for content in the menubar-Spotlight, but not found when limiting the search to filenames in Finder (yes, the file is indexed and indexing is completed). Oddly enough, the file "05 - Other Artist - Example Track.mp3" is found, probably because Example here is in the MP3 name tag >> In short, not all files are found.


    3.) Finally, assuming the file is found, it only displays the MP3 name tag (instead of the filename). For example, the search result for "05 - Other Artist - Example Track.mp3" is only shown as "Example Track". If you wish to delete "05 - Other Artist - Example Track (conflicted copy).mp3" and keep "05 - Other Artist - Example Track.mp3" than you are out of luck because both search results are only shown as "Example Track". Not great if you have 300 conflicted copies... (which can easily happen with Dropbox). >> In short, search results are rather useless, at least for media files.


    I still hope to find a way to "fix" Spotlight, or find the way to use Spotlight differently that is unknown to me. Otherwise, I would really need to move to an Spotlight alternative. This would be ridiculous, as Spotlight was always one of the strong points of Mac OS X, wasn't it?


    Thanks for your thoughts and help on this!

  • mechno Level 1 (0 points)

    When I first realized this new behavior, I opened a support case with apple. A computer that was natively installed as Mountain Lion and then upgraded to Mavericks does not exibit this problem, while a native Mavericks install does.

    It turns out that this is the intended behavior and that it's the upgrade to Mavericks that is faulty.


    I entered feedback and my tech-support case manager entered his personal opinion on the matter, but I am not really sure how to make Apple reconsider.


    I wrote the author of xtrafinder because, if nothing else, he seems to really know how the finder functions under the hood. I've yet to hear back, but I will definitely revisit the discussion if I find anything.