I'm also annoyed by this bug and filed a feedback >2 weeks ago (FB9208491).
Today I went to tracking down the problem and even found a doable workaround (later more on this).
First, the Spotlight process is spilling a lot of warnings to the log. You can check the "Console" app and see the logs for your simulator device: Thousands of "No system placeholder found with identifier ...".
It seems that Spotlight is stuck in some strange loop, trying to find some placeholders and generating logs.
One way to resolve this: Kill the Spotlight process in Activity Monitor.
But whenever Spotlight is triggered in the Simulator, it will start again. Also when you restart the simulator instance, this will start again. Therefore I tracked down the root cause for the error and found it in "Siri suggestions":
- It seems that for an unknown reason, Siri suggests on Simulator devices the use of "Mail" and "Tips" app. But those apps do not exist in the Simulator environment! Therefore Spotlight cannot find the apps icon...
So the real workaround which works for me:
- Go to "Settings" > "Siri & Search"
- Disable anything related to "Siri suggestions".
- Restart the device
After restarting, the Spotlight search can be triggered without any issue. No more CPU cycles wasted to logging about missing placeholders.
I filed this as a new feedback (FB9335101) to Apple, in the hope somebody fixes it soon.
One caveat: It is not possible to apply this workaround for the Simulator devices used by SwiftUI previews.
So if you use SwiftUI previews, you will have to stop/kill the Spotlight process yourself using the Activity Monitor app.
If somebody finds a solution to configure the SwiftUI Preview simulator instances (which can be found ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/UserData/Previews/Simulator Devices) I would gladly learn about it.