Finding Things In System Preferences

The other day I was looking for something in System Preferences. I know my way around in there well. For some reason, I just could not find what I needed. I remembered you could search for things in System Preferences. This search functionality is very helpful, here is how it works.

Searching System Preferences

System Preferences can be a bit confusing. There is a lot of stuff in there. It was helpful for me when I set System Preferences to be listed alphabetically:

You can search System Preferences in two ways. You can search for a specific System Pref Pane by name, which can be helpful. But a better way is to search for whatever idea you need to know. Here are some examples.

Here is a search for DNS (Domain Name System) in System Preferences:

When you type in the Search box, the System Preference containing that information is highlighted. When you hit Return ⮐, it takes you to the DNS area:

If I searched for anything related to Handoff:

I am taken to the General Pane in System Preferences:

Most of the time your search term yields one of two choices. Occasionally a search term will yield a long list of choices:

You click on any item in the list, and it takes you to a Preference Pane. In the example above, two System Preferences are highlighted showing you can find information in either Pref Pane relating to your search term.


Do not allow System Preferences to intimidate you. If you do not know which System Preference to find something, do a search.