How to Stop OS X Yosemite's Spotlight From Sending Location, Search Data to Apple

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How to Stop OS X Yosemite's Spotlight From Sending Location, Search Data to Apple

Apple has made several improvements to Spotlight search on OS X Yosemite, the latest version of its operating system for Mac devices. Spotlight search now shows several smart suggestions from App Store, iTunes Store and the Internet, based on your history. To do this, OS X Yosemite uploads your searches and location to Apple servers in real-time by default, similar to what Google and other similar services do. Indeed, this is a requirement due to the very nature of how auto-complete works.

This caused a bit of needless controversy on the Internet, forcing Apple to issue the following statement:

We are absolutely committed to protecting our users' privacy and have built privacy right into our products. For Spotlight Suggestions we minimise the amount of information sent to Apple. Apple doesn't retain IP addresses from users' devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Spotlight doesn't use a persistent identifier, so a user's search history can't be created by Apple or anyone else. Apple devices only use a temporary anonymous session ID for a 15-minute period before the ID is discarded.We also worked closely with Microsoft to protect our users' privacy. Apple forwards only commonly searched terms and only city-level location information to Bing. Microsoft does not store search queries or receive users' IP addresses.You can also easily opt out of Spotlight Suggestions, Bing or Location Services for Spotlight.

In case you still don't want to share data with Apple servers, here's how you disable auto-complete aka Spotlight Suggestions.

1. Open System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results.

2. Now scroll down and uncheck Spotlight Suggestions, Bookmarks & History and Bing Web Searches.

If you are using Safari, you should also do this step:

1. Open Safari > Preferences > Search.

2. Find and uncheck the option with the name "Include Spotlight Suggestions"

Has this issue been blown out of proportion? Let us know via the comments. For more tutorials, visit our How to section.


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Further reading: Apple, OS X Yosemite, Spotlight Search
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