Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Hallo, I've recently upgraded to Mac OS Lion from Snow Leopard on my 2009 Unibody Macbook. Now, checking in activity monitor I often find a strange process named helpd taking large parts of the memory ~400 MB.

What is it? Is there any solution for it?

share|improve this question
400M seems reasonable if it's not the same each and every reboot. – bmike Jul 29 '11 at 21:49
Also - have you made sure your disk itself doesn't need repair - a safe boot should rebuild the filesystem and you can see if it's caused by another program before rebooting back to the normal mode with everything running. – bmike Jul 30 '11 at 16:24
Which type of memory - there are several columns in Activity Monitor – Mark Jul 18 '12 at 12:38
It was the real memory. Indeed the problem has disappeared with the last Lion updates. Large amounts of memory are used when opening new applications with large documentations: but it occurs only on the first launch. – Francesco Turci Aug 23 '12 at 14:53
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I hope the fine author of Lingon doesn't disapprove of me using his app to answer this, but here are the reasons why helpd will run.

(the daemon of help)

enter image description here

It's hard to tell if this is one of the processes that needs to run a bit the first time it starts and then it will happily update itself more rapidly when needed (like /Applications being changed) as well as early every Sunday AM.

The virtual memory system should keep the RAM fine, so unless you see it constantly - it's just taking the RAM it needs to serve your help menu with fresh and up to date documents.

You can also disable that launchd job if it's causing you grief until you can isolate why.

share|improve this answer
Is it possible that having many applications helpd is refreshed very often? The problem is that not the process itself , but the fact that the RAM consumption is too high for me. Anyway to bound it? What am i going to loose if I just disable it? – Francesco Turci Jul 30 '11 at 12:15
It should run and exit fairly quickly - it should index the various help files and quit. My guess is it's either stuck on one of your files or something is changing /Applications constantly. Your help indexes will be out of date, but I would turn it off until you figure what's causing it to cycle continuously. – bmike Jul 30 '11 at 16:22
Anyway to monitor it? – Francesco Turci Jul 31 '11 at 9:04
I don't know of a way, but it's gladly chewing up a lot of memory on one of our macs. Something's up that wasn't there before. httpd is running but web sharing is off, cron is running, I'm thinking some app is running a whole suite of server processes without being asked to... – bmike Aug 8 '11 at 21:05

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.