1. Diagnosing the problem
  2. Enabling indexing at the filesystem root

After upgrading to macOS Big Sur I noticed that Spotlight would no longer list any local applications or files.

Diagnosing the problem

Open Terminal, and type sudo mdutil -sa. Your password will be requested. You will see something like this:

1
2
3
4
5
6
sudo mdutil -sa
Password:
/:
	Indexing and searching disabled.
/System/Volumes/Data:
	Indexing enabled.

Enabling indexing at the filesystem root

In my system, I had Indexing and searching disabled. for /. I had to enable it again, using these commands:

1
2
cd /
sudo mdutil -a -i on

Resulting output:

1
2
3
4
/:
	Indexing enabled.
/System/Volumes/Data:
	Indexing enabled.

Done! Indexing is now enabled for / and Spotlight starts indexing again (you will see the progress bar when pressing Cmd+Space).

After a while, local apps and files start appearing in the list.