If I remember correctly, Spotlight in Snow Leopard reordered results based on frequency of use. I noticed that Spotlight in Lion is not doing this; it's possible I'm missing something.

For example, when I type "ch", the top result is Chess, not Chrome, even though I repeatedly select Chrome. I have to type "go" for Google Chrome to be the top hit.

How can I reorder the results of Spotlight?


Sid has provided a neat solution below. I tried it and it works. But what if I want to keep Chess in my Spotlight results?

2 Answers 2


Lion spotlight has to learn what apps you use the most over time, so you just have to use the app more often to have it displayed earlier. But you can remove apps that popup as first on the list that you do not use. (Ex: Chess App)

A way to remove results would be to use the privacy setting in Spotlight Preferences.

To access this: Search anything in spotlight. Go to the last option (Spotlight Preferences...) Click the Privacy tab at the top. Here you can add the folder you do not want to be searched.

For annoying apps like the Chess App that can not be moved or deleted, you can create a Junk folder and move them to that folder and add that folder to the privacy settings in Spotlight.

To do this:

  1. Create your "junk folder"
  2. Open terminal
  3. type: "cd /Applications/"
  4. then type: sudo mv Chess.app/ (junk folder location)

I created my junk folder in the Applications folder named Junk, so I used "sudo mv Chess.app/ Junk" The terminal will ask for you password for using sudo. Enter it.

Then add the junk folder to my spotlight privacy list And now Chess.app will not be first. (It will prob. be Google Chrome since you use it most)

(Warning: sudo allows a user to basically do anything, including erasing the entire disk. Make sure you know what you are doing whenever you use sudo.)


You can go to Preferences>Spotlight and drag the items in the list to determine their preference.

  • 1
    Chess app and chrome are both applications. The preferences will not allow you to distinguish between them.
    – Sid
    Jul 16, 2012 at 23:14

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