Tracking Plane Flights On A Mac

For many years I have looked for a way to track airplane flights of my friends and family. This usually involved looking up flights on the company website or using some third party App to track a flight. However, Apple has finally included flight tracking capabilities in the macOS. You can track flights in the Messages App or using Spotlight, either one is pretty easy. Here is how that works.

Messages Flight Tracking

It works pretty much the same way in the Messages App and Spotlight search engine. Both of these processes rely on flight tracking inside the macOS. If you are using the Messages App to track a flight, another person needs to send you the flight information in a text. That should look something like this:

Messages Flights

Please take note of this. I tried using the flight listing as “Southwest 426” and “SW 426”. Neither of them appeared as a link. The only thing that worked for me was “Southwest flight 426”. The word “flight” needed to be in the information. As you can see, Messages makes the flight information a link. When you click on the link you get this flight map:

Flight Map

It is pretty handy. I do like to track flight progress of my family when they travel.

Spotlight Flight Tracking

The Spotlight search engine works about the same. Someone has to provide you the flight information in some way and you just enter the information into Spotlight manually and it produces the flight map:

Spotlight Information

I think Spotlight has a little more information and you can enlarge the window as well. Again, I typed out “Southwest Flight 426”. No other combination seemed to work here.


I know you don’t sit around tracking flights all day. But, if and when you need to do so, it is accomplished very easily on your Mac.