In OS X Mavericks, com.apple.IconServices seems to be causing almost 100% CPU usage and is causing Finder to become unresponsive (the "beach ball"). This happens periodically, usually when accessing a directory in Finder for the first time in a while. Restarting Finder stops IconServices from eating all the CPU, but revisiting the problem directory makes the problem happen again. How do I solve this?


Apple user Kieran Healy has apparently solved the root problem and come up with a fix, described on his blog here. The short of it is to open Terminal and then enter the following command:

mkdir ${TMPDIR}/com.apple.IconServices

Apparently, IconServices was seeking a directory and, failing to find it, began thrashing. Kieran's fix creates that directory.

When I tried this solution, the fix was immediate -- that is, no restarting, relaunching, or even re-visiting of directories was required.

All credit goes to Kieran Healy for this fix. I suggest visiting his website and giving him a "like".

  • 1
    I'm happy to up-vote this answer :) – Kieran Feb 17 '14 at 21:31
  • Thanks, Kieran. It's worth noting that user cybeross says here discussions.apple.com/message/24897406?ac_cid=tw123456#24897406 that he found the fix to be only temporary. I'm going to keep an eye out and update my answer if I encounter this issue again. Also, he suspects that the issue seems to crop up with Google Drive, Tabbed Finder Windows, and/or Dropbox. If anyone can confirm that, please note it here or in the thread at the link above. – einnocent Feb 18 '14 at 0:51
  • Yes, it's not a permanent fix: the underlying bug is clearly something that Apple will have to fix themselves. I don't think it's an issue that can be permanently addressed from the user side. – Kieran Feb 18 '14 at 17:10
  • mine gives me this: $sudo mkdir ${TMPDIR}/com.apple.IconServices mkdir: /var/folders/_r/swmf_sy565v7q3gn18n4p3qh0000gn/T//com.apple.IconServices: File exists it didn't solve it – Maziyar Aug 17 '14 at 9:13

This blog post shows how to find out exactly what IconServicesAgent and coreservicesd are up to when they're thrashing your Finder.

In a nutshell, grep the output of fs_usage to find out what files are being icon-serviced all the time. Specific command lines are given, and the files that were causing their problems are the same ones I'm seeing.

The fs_usage invocation is a valuable diagnostic tool, especially if your problem isn't quite the same.

If this works for people, please pass the message on to this related question. I don't have the reputation to answer it myself.


I struggled with IconServiceAgent hitting 100% CPU and beyond - in particular when accessing folders managed by Google Drive.

These steps helped me on MacOS Mojave

1: Remove the main store:

sudo rm -rfv /Library/Caches/com.apple.iconservices.store

2: Remove subsidiary data

sudo find /private/var/folders/ \( -name com.apple.dock.iconcache -or -name com.apple.iconservices \) -exec rm -rfv {} \;

3: Restart and let MacOS rebuild the icon cache. Works like a charm since then.

New contributor
Philipp is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .