What is Tracker?

It's a search engine, and a database.

Tracker indexes content from your home directory automatically, so applications can provide instant search results when you need them.

See the overview for more information.

What files will Tracker index?

The default configuration of Tracker is to look at files and folders in your XDG content directories such as Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. It also looks at files in your home directory and Downloads directory, but it doesn't recurse into folders.

You might want to control what Tracker indexes so that it finds files in other places too.

How can I control what Tracker indexes?

In GNOME, you can use the Search Settings panel to control what Tracker indexes. See GNOME's documentation.

You can control Tracker's configuration directly using dconf-editor or the gsettings CLI tool. The relevant schemas are org.freedesktop.Tracker.Miner.Files and org.freedesktop.Tracker.Extract.

To tell Tracker's indexer to ignore a directory and all its contents, you can create an empty file named .nomedia inside the directory. This trick also works on Android devices. Files named .trackerignore, .git and .hg have the same effect. You can configure this behaviour with the org.freedesktop.Tracker.Miner.Files ignored-directories-with-content GSettings key.

Why does Tracker consume resources on my PC?

When you add or edit files, Tracker will update its index. This should be very quick, but if a huge number of files are added then it may cause noticably high CPU and IO usage until the new files have been indexed. This is normal.

Tracker is not designed to index directories of source code or video game data. If content like this appears in the locations Tracker is configured to index then you might see unwanted high resource usage.

If you see high resource usage from Tracker even when no files have changed on disk, this probably indicates a bug in Tracker or one of its dependencies. We can work together to find out what the problem is.

How can I disable Tracker in GNOME?

Tracker is a core dependency of GNOME, and some things will not work as expected if you disable it completely.

If you are experiencing performance problems, see Why does Tracker consume resources on my PC?.

In case of a bug you may need to temporarily stop Tracker indexing. The simplest way is to edit the configuration so that no directories are indexed. This should bring resource usage to zero.

If the Tracker store is using a lot of disk space and you are sure that there is no unreplaceable data stored in the database, you can run tracker reset --hard to delete everything stored in the database.

Can Tracker help me organize my music collection?

At present, Tracker simply reads the metadata stores in your music files (often called 'tags').

You may be able to use Gnome Music to correct this metadata using the Musicbrainz database.

Programs that fix tags and organize music collections on disk, such as Beets, work well with Tracker.