back to article OS X search tool Spotlight runs roughshod over Mail privacy settings

Spotlight, the desktop search engine for OS X computers, will ignore privacy settings in Apple's Mail client when showing messages in its search results. The programming booboo means pictures and possibly other files linked to in HTML emails will automatically show up even if you've told Apple's supplied client to not load …

  1. Mitoo Bobsworth


    I've always been suspicious of spotlights need to 'index' drives in order to search them. I've always used 3rd party search apps that seem far more able than spotlight, & deliver more comprehensive & useful results (for me at least).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Busted

      Which search replacement do you use?

      I was OK with Spotlight, that is, once I had killed off the "absolutely everything" search mode. However, I *hate* the Yosemite version because it shows too much, and none of it is useful - it's as if you swap out Google with Altavista. Try doing a simple filename search - you'd have to switch to Finder to get anything useful now and even that is an approximation, a simple extension search is at least 2..3 steps (I may have missed something, though).

      As for Mail leaking: I've been using Thunderbird for years. Never seen the need to change that..

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Busted

        > Which search replacement do you use?

        What happened to "It's Unix"?

      2. Mitoo Bobsworth

        Re: Busted

        @ AC

        I tried a few & settled on an app called "Find Any File" which i find quicker & more convenient than spotlight. Very flexible, and has helped me do a comprehensive delete of apps & ALL their associated files that some uninstaller apps and Spotlight have missed.

  2. A. H. O. Thabeth

    A rock and a hard place

    Apple are caught between adding new features and making the old stuff work well.

    IMHO I think that Apple have been too busy try to add new features and updating the GUI and have not given enough time to clean up things after them.

    My favourite version of OS X was Snow Leopard; it was relatively small and fast. What it did; it did well.

    I only moved from Snow Leopard when new apps that I wanted were only supported on more recent version of OS X; and then I moved from Snow Leopard to Mavericks just before Yosemite shipped because I wanted to last stable version of OS X.

    I think that Apple needs a Snow Leopard moment again; i.e. clean out the crud and ensure what is there works.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A rock and a hard place

      New features? Desk top search? Not exactly new, in fact spotlight (or locate) has been around for a long time.

      This is a fundamental thing, searching emails but FOLLOWING THE LINKS in the emails? I mean come on! This is just stupid! What you have hear is someone treating desktop search the same way they approach the internet where they feel it is GREAT to show a titbit from that link (Ever used Slack?) It adds sod all to usability, just more of this silly self inflated expectation of interconnectedness.

      It is like moving into a brand new home, all the mod cons and shiny shiny and coming with your mailing address already sent out to all the marketing companies 'so you don't have to worry about sending them your change of address!'.*

      It is just a complete lack of embedding security and privacy into the mindset of those coming up with ideas. There is no alternative, not now, not ever.

      *actually, this isn't quite right, but I quite liked the imagery :)

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: A rock and a hard place

      "I only moved from Snow Leopard when new apps that I wanted were only supported on more recent version of OS X; and then I moved from Snow Leopard to Mavericks just before Yosemite shipped because I wanted to last stable version of OS X."

      Same here, holding off, as I got bit by bugs and various programs not liking Mavericks at first.

      Maybe I'll go with Yosemite in a year or so.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge


    Don't use the default supplied Email Client.

    I use Thunderbird. Seems to work ok.

    On the subject of privacy, why does MS Office for Mac ask me after every update to allow remote access to Word/Excel etc? I said no before but you keep on trying.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Or?

      It's used to check there are no more instances of Office with the same licence key running on other computers on the LAN.

      If you deny the firewall request as you are doing then the check doesn't work...

    2. Jay 2

      Re: Or?

      I'm not too sure what it is about Apple email programs/apps, but setting up an account with Authenticated SMTP always seems to be more hassle than it should be. In the end I gave up with and used Thunderbird instead. That was a few years back, but I can't say I've bothered to see if they've sorted it yet.

  5. jake Silver badge

    Cool. Ta for the input.

    During the meanwhile, I think I'll stick with mutt for email.

    1. Wzrd1

      Re: Cool. Ta for the input.

      Mutt is nice, but I prefer Alpine.

      Still, for GPG encrypted mail, I stick with Thunderbird. Even my wife can work that.

  6. Alan Denman

    Busted ?

    Spotlight is mainly their to control your search habits and aid iAds.

    Your cash matters, pure and simple, unwanted user functions are a consequential part of that fallout.

    Think positive though, that Apple device will eventually sell as cheap as the chips in them, just like Android.

  7. Peter27x

    Apple; insecure, by default.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really? What do you use?

    2. Wzrd1

      "Apple; insecure, by default."

      Apple; broke *BSD security badly by default.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I reckon it's the old Outlook problem..

    If I recall correctly, Microsoft had this problem with Outlook as well: the preview function would actually trigger whatever was embedded in an email (probably by trying to render it) which was really helpful (not) if you wanted to nuke an email containing malware.

    I am not entirely sure why it is so bloody difficult to just present the first lines of text - you don't need to render an email for that (and frankly, anyone who relies on HTML to make an email readable ought to be summarily blacklisted anyway).

    It's disappointing - Apple was certainly a bit ahead in safety but this sort of stupid stuff needs weeding out. It should have been caught by Apple internally, not by a (very good) 3rd party.

  9. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Search for Windows

    Shamelessly hijacking this discussion to ask if anyone can recommend a good program to search user-defined categories on a desktop machine. Google desktop used to be v. good at this, but it seems to have been withdrawn.

    (I know Windows has a built-in search function, but it seems to take forever to index my mail files and even then misses things.)

    1. Fogcat

      Re: Search for Windows

      Seems pretty fast for what it does (have only used the lite version)

  10. ecofeco Silver badge

    Secure from hackers and viruses!

    But not from Apple itself.

    Oh the irony.

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