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Ever since I upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion and installed OS X Server, I keep getting prompts for my Keychain password from a process called assistantd. I'm pretty sure that it's an OS X process, but don't want to give access to my keychain to just any process.

So, my ultimate question is: does anyone know what assistantd is and why it would need access to my keychain?

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If you search for it with mdfind, you'll see that it's in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/AssistantServices.framework/. See also mountain lion - Daemons or other processes responsible for dictation in 10.8? - Ask Different. – user495470 Aug 6 '12 at 14:34
up vote 1 down vote accepted

According to this site, Ongoing Cross-Section of assistantd Headers - Useful for Siri Mods, it appears assistantd is associated with Siri functionality on iOS.

Given this, I suspect assistantd on Mac OS X is related to the new dictation functionality. Dictation on Mac OS X 10.8 uses Contacts and other personal information to improve accuracy; gaining access to this information would explain the need for Keychain access.

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No, not exactly. Retrieving the contacts does not need Keychain access. It's a separate API. – Max Ried Jul 26 '12 at 9:33
@MaxRied could you expand on what you mean by being a separate API? Keychain access may be required for purposes other than storing passwords; it may be the daemon requires proof that it has appropriate authority to the requested information. – Graham Miln Jul 26 '12 at 10:55

It is there to support the speech function. By default, dictation runs when you press the fn button twice.

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