Spotlight is your default system-wide search tool, allowing you to quickly locate files, investigate configuration options, research terms, and even perform mathematical calculations. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty solid, has a lot of tricks up its sleeve, and gets the job done in most cases.

Launchers for third-party applications are useful in this situation. You can use them to do a lot more than just look for documents and programs. You can use a launcher for a variety of purposes, such as accessing your clipboard history, expanding text snippets, automating mundane tasks, and performing searches more quickly, among other things.

Top Mac Apps That Can Replace Spotlight

If you’re interested in replacing Spotlight with something more powerful, or you’re not much reliant on Spotlight—due to lack of features—but would like to start using an application launcher, here are the best Spotlight alternatives on Mac.


When it comes to Mac applications, everyone uses Alfred. It’s one of the indispensable tools for maximizing your Mac’s potential and your own efficiency.

Alfred’s primary functions are app launch and file search throughout your Mac and the web. It remembers how you use it and adjusts its search results accordingly. Your queries will generate an instantaneous list of results that you can scroll through, preview, and perform actions on all from your keyboard.

Alfred’s extra capabilities include a clipboard history that displays previously copied objects and a snippets tool that allows you to extend a text snippet or abbreviation into its longer counterpart.

When it comes to complex processes, Alfred has robust workflows that will help you get things done faster and easier than ever before. These workflows are both easy to make on your own and available for download from the community.

Highlights of Alfred’s Features

Verify word meanings and correct spelling
A quick rundown of System instructions to get you up and running faster
Unique layouts
Compatibility with shell commands for execution
Invoke Apple Quicksilvers

Paid, Unpaid

The Alfred Download


Raycast can be downloaded without cost on Macs. Raycast, however lacking in functionality compared to Spotlight and Alfred, is the ideal alternative you should look at if you find Alfred to be too cumbersome and you don’t want to pay for its powerpack to unlock all of its functions.

In comparison to Spotlight, Raycast’s lightweight and responsiveness make it ideal for short searches and other activities. In addition, you may utilize these shortcuts to launch your favorite web browsers or access your most recent projects with ease.

In addition, like Alfred, Raycast provides system commands that can be used to swiftly execute various tasks on your Mac. You may automate your daily tasks by connecting your favorite apps with online APIs and by writing scripts to control them, if necessary.

Features that Set Raycast Apart

Paste-and-paste functionality
Faster typing using custom snippets
Controls for desktop management and window resizing
Check your math
Make notes that float
Get instantaneous entry to your daily agenda

Get Raycast at no cost now!


Another excellent choice to replace Spotlight search is LaunchBar. It has several useful features that will make your daily tasks much easier and faster.

LaunchBar is the slowest of the three app launchers to produce results when searching for documents, programs, and bookmarks using abbreviations. In addition, it contains a robust file manager that facilitates actions like copying, moving, and renaming files and directories as well as querying file metadata.

Like Raycast, LaunchBar displays reminders and allows you to organize your schedule so that you never forget an appointment or other important occasion. In addition, you can utilize your own scripts to automate mundane activities and expand Raycast’s capabilities.

Highlights of LaunchBar’s Features

Smart abbreviation lookup in context
Instantaneous Paste-History Access Quickly disseminate documents
Make speedy edits to files

Download LaunchBar for free for 30 days or pay $29.


QuickSilver has been around longer than other Mac app launchers. However, despite its limitations, it is still a superior program launcher to Spotlight. There is a catch, though: it isn’t as powerful in its bare bones version, so you’ll need to download plugins to maximize its potential.

QuickSilver is not like other app launchers in how it handles searching for items. Here, instead of typing your query into the search bar, you’ll need to use the “search” tab to specify what you’re looking for and then “action” to specify what you’d like to do with those results. Then, select an item from the menu and press return to carry it out. QuickSilver adapts to your search habits over time to provide better results.

One more thing that makes QuickSilver stand out is that it allows you to do extended searches, which means you can use it to find a folder on your Mac and then look up objects in it at the same time.

Summary of Selected QuickSilver Features

Deeper investigation
Advice on taking steps based on a search
Add-ons that broaden its applicability
Possibility of creating shortcuts for common operations
Allows AppleScript to be used as a trigger for other scripts.

Get QuickSilver here.

Efficient Mac Searching and Task Performing

Apple has continuously improved its search tool Spotlight with new features and enhancements throughout the years. A better Mac search tool is needed because updates to Spotlight have been delayed in coming and weren’t designed with that goal in mind.

This means that you need to replace Spotlight search with a third-party app launcher, such as those on this list, if you want to get the most out of your Mac right now, where you can quickly find items, execute advanced workflows directly from the search, and efficiently carry out repetitive operations.

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