The last few versions of OS X for the Mac, specifically Mavericks, Yosemite, and El Capitan, have seen a resurgence in Spotlight, the built-in file search utility.
Spotlight indexes files on your Mac and them makes them easier and faster (usually) to access with a system-wide desktop search functionality. I think of Spotlight on my El Capitan-equipped Mac to be something of a silent Siri; a quick way to get to certain kinds of information. There’s just one problem with Spotlight.
Enter The Interface
Spotlight works well enough with keyboard shortcuts and simple searches, but today’s Macs are complex, complicated, and cluttered beasts of burden and there are times when Apple’s little search engine that could, just can’t.
Is there a better way? No. But there are different ways, including Tembo, a Mac app that uses Spotlight’s indexed search engine to make it a little easier to find files, folders, messages, photos, videos, and whatever else you’re looking for where Spotlight itself seems to clutter up the screen.
Tembo works simply enough. Open the app, enter a keyword search term, and get results (usually displayed instantly, thanks to Spotlight’s indexed database).
Tembo’s simple interface displays files or folders or whatever matches the keyword search criteria. What I like about Tembo is the instant filter by file type category. The built-in filters display groups of file types so you can drill down into only those files you know match your initial query.
That combines to make Tembo’s interface simpler, more precise, easier to use, and, in many cases, easier and faster than trying to find the same file by using the standard Spotlight interface.
But not always.
Still, Tembo can find specific email messages, Messages threads, and it comes with an option to find images based on file type and even resolution. For Safari, Tembo is quick to dig through both browser history and bookmarks.
Is Tembo faster than Spotlight? Since it uses the Spotlight index, not really, unless you count the cost of finding what you want, and sometimes Spotlight’s clutter gets in the way. Tembo is uncluttered and direct, albeit a bit pricey to compete with what Apple provides for free in OS X, but there’s a trial version so you can see what you’re getting before you get it. As the app’s name and icon imply, Tembo comes from the bad ass elephant video game.