It seems that Recoll will sometimes find data that Spotlight misses (especially inside pdfs apparently, which is probably more to the credit of poppler than recoll itself).

There several possible ways to install Recoll in MacOS:

  • Use MacPorts: there is a Recoll port in MacPorts. It is currently (2022-03) quite up to date. There is also a quite simple way to build a more recent version through a local ports tree (see further down).

  • Use Homebrew: there is a Homebrew recipee in the recoll source repository, and one on github.

  • Probably best: use a hybrid approach: install recoll through a standalone native Mac package (a .app in a dmg, downloaded from the Recoll Web site), and add the required helper applications (e.g. poppler for PDF) with your preferred method (MacPorts, Homebrew, Fink, etc.).

The MacPorts and Homebrew versions of Recoll have been irregularly updated in the past. The helper applications are more actively maintained in most cases, because they are more commonly used or easier to build (or both).

If you are not a regular MacPorts or Homebrew user, I do think that the third, hybrid, approach is the easiest, moreso in periods where the Recoll port is not recent.

Hybrid approach

You will install the Recoll DMG just like any regular Mac OS application:

Recoll 1.33.4 built on Big Sur, Universal Binary and Qt 6, should run on both Intel x86 and Apple arm64: recoll-1.33.4-20230107-097c8ea8.dmg

Recoll 1.32.1 built on Big Sur, Universal Binary and Qt 6, should run on both Intel x86 and Apple arm64: recoll-1.32.1-20220516-e34ccb69.dmg

Recoll 1.32 built on Big Sur, Qt 5: recoll-1.32.0-20220311-63d1318d.dmg Recoll 1.31 built on Big Sur, Qt 5: recoll-1.31.5-20220104-07867573.dmg

The last one should run on Apple Silicon, but I have not tried because I don’t have the right Mac. Some feedback on the matter would be great !

I don’t sign the application, as I don’t relish paying Apple 99 dollars per year just for this. If the unsigned binary is a problem for you (which I do understand), you can also build the bundle yourself. Also, the .dmg has checksum and pgp signature companion files, as described here.

Here is a tentative recipee to build the bundle. There may be a few rough edges yet, please contact me if you run into trouble.

The base Recoll.app installation processes the "internal" Recoll document formats (text, html, libreoffice, ms-office, mail, epub, etc.). I only tested it on x86 (see above).

It would be difficult and a lot of work to get all helper applications to live inside Recoll.app, as most need a modification to learn where to find their data files. For an important example, the default application cannot process PDF files, for which you will need to install 'poppler'.

So you will need to install the needed helpers with your preferred method (MacPorts, Homebrew etc.).

Recoll then needs a little help to find the commands, because the PATH variable seen when started through the desktop launcher is quite restricted. There is a configuration variable for this: recollhelperpath, to be set in your index configuration file (~/.recoll/recoll.conf by default).

Typically, if you are using MacPorts to install the helpers:

recollhelperpath = /opt/local/bin

With 'classical' Homebrew this would probably be:

recollhelperpath = /usr/local/bin

Newer Homebrew installs, esp. on M1 use /opt/homebrew/bin:

recollhelperpath = /opt/homebrew/bin

You can include several directories by separating the paths with colons:

recollhelperpath = /opt/local/bin:/usr/local/bin:/Users/me/bin

Recoll with MacPorts

The official MacPorts version is usually a bit old as it’s not easy to get it to update. However, the current version (03-2022) is 1.31.6, which is quite recent.

Standard MacPorts install:

link:https://www.MacPorts.org/install.php[Install MacPorts].
Then type "sudo port install recoll"

Recoll is then available from the command line and as an icon in the usual MacPorts applications place.

You can also easily perform a local repository build if the Portfile from the recoll source tree is more recent. Look at the recipe, it’s really quite simple.