How to prevent mediaanalysisd from hogging your CPU on macOS


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There have been various reports about the media analysis background process causing excessive CPU usage in macOS when scanning photos. Here’s what it is, what it does, and how to stop it.

The internet has been abuzz over the past year with discussions about whether or not Apple has been silently scanning users’ photo libraries to send to law enforcement. Independent tests have confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is not the case.

However, high CPU usage in the media has been reported by various sources. This background processing can load the Mac’s processors and slow down your machine to varying degrees. Even in the absence of any silent Apple reports, mediaanalysisd simply analyzes photo libraries for AI purposes such as facial recognition and Spotlight indexing.

Either way, you might want to disable mediaanalysisd to avoid excessive CPU usage.

To do this, you must first disable macOS System Integrity Protection (SIP).

How to Disable System Integrity Protection in macOS

To disable SIP on macOS, follow the instructions on Apple SIP page.

Apple warns that disabling System Integrity Protection should only be done temporarily and should be re-enabled as soon as possible afterward. The company also claims that it can make your computer “vulnerable to malicious code”.

Disabling SIP involves restarting your Mac in recovery mode, and in Terminal entering:

You may or may not also need to unlock the LaunchAgents directory itself by modifying the permissions of the directory. Just be sure to set the permissions back to what they were when you were done. You can use a third-party utility such as BatchMod to do this:

Do not change user or group permissions on the folder, -rxw permissions. Be sure to return them to their original state when you’re done.

Then delete /System/Library/LaunchAgents/ In Terminal by typing:

sudo rm -R /System/Library/LaunchAgents/

Apple’s is launch services demon loader which tells macOS where to find the mediaanalysisd binary and how to run it. Once you remove, macOS will no longer launch it on startup or intermittently.

If macOS automatically regenerates the .plist file, you will need to edit the file directly to set the update NO. The default is YES.

Be aware that modifying this file may alter the behavior of your Mac, and even render certain parts non-functional, so do so at your own risk.

You can also try changing the value of from YES to NO. In fact, you can try disabling all MachServices settings except the two Homekits. But again, it’s currently unknown what each of them does.

But again, be aware that changing these settings will disable some macOS features, namely Spotlight indexing and text selection in Photos and Preview.

You can also play with the Activate transactions parameter, although it is not yet clear if this value is what tells the daemon whether or not to use network transactions.

Apple’s plist files are just XML files. So if you know XML you can use any text editor or use the Apple one X-Code development tool to modify them.

When editing .plist files in Xcode, you get a built-in editor that converts the XML into an array of editable fields with data types and presets for certain types in the center column:

The .plist also gives us a clue to the location of the actual daemon binary on disk in macOS. Under the “ProgramArguments” field: In “Item 0” we see a value of:


So the mediaanalysisd binary itself lives inside the MediaAnalysis.framework bundle. Disabling this bundle is unclear, but do so at your own risk as we have not determined the impact of removing this framework from the system.

Peek into the LaunchEvents .plist

Examination of the LaunchEvents-> dictionary in the .plist file, we see a few more interesting things. In fact, this dictionary contains five photo analysis elements:


XPC (sometimes called IPC) is Apple’s interprocess communication technology that allows applications to communicate with each other through XPC services, including over networks.

The task is obviously used to convert words from images to text, both for Highlight and for Spotlight.

But the extent of what and do is still unknown.

The “ExpectedDuration” field of each element corresponds to the execution duration of the task in seconds. So “3600” would be 60 minutes – one hour.

The “Priority” and “CPUIntensive” fields are also interesting. It is not clear what setting the CPUIntensive field to NO would affect system performance, and there is little Apple documentation on this.

The “Interval” field is the time between the process starts, also in a few seconds. In the case of, it is set to 7200, which means 120 minutes.

The Interval field of the service is set to 86400 by default, which means it runs once every 24 hours.

There are also fields to report if a task repeats, if it runs during screen savers, and if it runs during PowerNap.

Final Thoughts and Additional Information

Most of the macOS daemon architecture is run by a background daemon called spear which handles starting, running and closing daemons. You can learn more about launchd in Terminal using the man page:

man launchd and squeeze Feedback.

There is another Terminal command, launchctl, which interfaces with launchd to control daemons and background processes. It also has a manual page for usage and more information.

In Terminal, you can also view all running processes (applications and daemons) on your Mac by typing the high order:

An easier and cleaner way is to use the Apple application /Applications/Utilities/Activity Monitor. Typing “media” in its search field will reveal the use of mediaanalysisd:

If you double-click on a process name in Activity Monitor, you will get a window with more detailed information about the process:

Under the Open files and ports We can also learn a bit more about where mediaanalysisd interacts with the filesystem. We also see that it uses several other Apple frameworks:

  1. CoreNLP.frameworkCoreNLP.framework
  2. DataDetectorsCore.framework
  3. Lexicon.framework
  4. MetalPerformanceShaders.framework

We also learn from this log that there is another mysterious Apple daemon in the system: analyticsd. There is an analyticsd man page, but it contains little information and just states that it is used for “diagnostics”.

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