mail not searching in Big Sur

Created at: 2021-04-18 15:56:06
Questioner General

The search feature in Mac Mail is not working properly after I upgraded to Big Sur and installed all recent updates (11.2.1). I've tried quitting application, restarting program, and rebuilding mailboxes. Still nothing. I have not tried deleting accounts yet, but I was hoping to avoid that.



I assume this is a known bug, and I was hoping 11.2.1 would fix it. If it is not a iOS issue, does anyone know a permanent solution?

Thanks,

Answer #1:

By: Dr. Beau Harris Jr.

The search feature in Mac Mail is not working properly after I upgraded to Big Sur and installed all recent updates (11.2.1). I've tried quitting application, restarting program, and rebuilding mailboxes. Still nothing. I have not tried deleting accounts yet, but I was hoping to avoid that.



I assume this is a known bug, and I was hoping 11.2.1 would fix it. If it is not a iOS issue, does anyone know a permanent solution?

Thanks,

Answer #2:

By: Dr. Howard Connelly II

There is no permanent solution, and the bug exists since 11.1 at least.

Multi-user configurations seems more affected, and for sure when one user logs off Mail search is broken for every other user.



You can temporarily fix the problem by force killing the process 'corespotlightd' in Activity Monitor, it is faster than rebooting.



There is a 16 page discussion here:

Mail search not working after Big Sur ins… - Apple Community



Please report to Apple, we have been doing it for months but there is always hope someone will notice:

Feedback - Mail - Apple

Feedback - macOS - Apple

Answer #3:

By: Vivianne Heathcote DDS

There is no permanent solution, and the bug exists since 11.1 at least.

Multi-user configurations seems more affected, and for sure when one user logs off Mail search is broken for every other user.



You can temporarily fix the problem by force killing the process 'corespotlightd' in Activity Monitor, it is faster than rebooting.



There is a 16 page discussion here:

Mail search not working after Big Sur ins… - Apple Community



Please report to Apple, we have been doing it for months but there is always hope someone will notice:

Feedback - Mail - Apple

Feedback - macOS - Apple

Answer #4:

By: Jessy Zemlak

Hey there!



I’d look here first, although I know you’ve already tried at least one of these steps:



Rebuild the Spotlight Index on your Mac:



https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201716



If that doesn’t do the job, I’ve come across this a number times. Different OS’ call for certain fixes if the OS doesn’t do the job itself, this should do it:



Quit Mail.



Find and delete this file:



Open Finder.

While holding the Option key, click on Go on the top menu and click Library, (You have to be holding Option to see it).



In the ~/Library, open MetaData/CoreSpotlight, delete the contents of CoreSpotlight, (Not the folder itself).



Restart your Mac, wait a while and see if it works.



If it doesn’t, open Terminal and press Return after each of these three commands:



Finder > Go > Utilities > Terminal:



sudo mdutil -i off /

sudo mdutil -E /

sudo mdutil -i on /



Be sure to enter them correctly, and it’s always a good idea to keep a backup, although I’ve never had an issue, everyone has their own setup.



Give it a while, even up to a day, then test out Mail, hope that helps!

Answer #5:

By: Rowland Mitchell

Thanks DiZoe, you gave me hope that deleting the content fo the folder MetaData in the library would be a definitive solution.



I did it, for the three users on my Mac, restarted, rebuilt the Spotlight index, and.... the bug is still there ! as soon as I log out of one users the search is broken for the other users.



At least I had a few minutes of hope ! 😩

Answer #6:

By: Dr. Conor Muller

Well, worth a try, those steps have worked for me with more recent OS’. Did you rebuild Spotlight using Terminal? I’ve found it to be more effective than the interface. Do you normally keep more than one user logged in at a time? Hope it works out, I think there is another update as well.

Answer #7:

By: Jarret Erdman

Yes, I keep two sometimes three users logged in at a time: I work for two different companies, I created a user for each one, this way I can perfectly separate each activities and documents. I have also a user for my personal stuff: when I don't work I am not bothered by the work interactions...

This is why it is important for me that Mail search works !

Answer #8:

By: Mrs. Marcella Jones DVM

Did you try using the Terminal method? I briefly read the related article you posted, but not the entire thing, but besides that, can you say if this happens on a clean install? (Considering I think you’ve tried many steps thus far). It takes time, but even if you do an install of the OS on an external drive, (Or install on a volume on the internal drive for testing), maybe a good indicator, although, since your setup requires multiple users and configurations, and different software setups for each user that maybe difficult to test, or re-create, I get that.



From what I understand, this will happen on each user intermittently, if you switch from one to another? Maybe narrowing down the cause to a single user, or even a single Internet Account is the way to go. Did you use Terminal and give it some time to finish?



Also, not sure if V_J_C is having similar issues, other than mail search, or if they’ve tried any of the steps, but you may have a different cause considering the isolation steps you’ve done so far. But that information helps!

Answer #9:

By: June Lebsack

I completely erased a MacBook Air, reinstalled Big Sur and nothing else and the bug happens ! not when you switch between users, but when you log out of one user. Might happen for other reasons, but it is 100% reproducible when you log out of one user.

Again, on a stock MacBook Air, with a shining new Big Sur, without a single byte of extra software installed. Just one email account for one user, log in into another user, log out of that user and search is broken for the original user.

Answer #10:

By: Turner Wuckert

GanawaGangunawa figured this out. There's a quick summary of his work on my blog: https://tech.kateva.org/2021/02/big-sur-bug-mail-search-corespotlightd.html. Fix for me is AppleScript:



do shell script "killall -9 corespotlightd"



Otherwise we wait for Apple to fix the bug. I'm guessing it's now getting enough attention that there will be a fix in next few months.