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?

3 Answers 3


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, 2014 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, 2014 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, 2014 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, 2014 at 9:13
  • This did absolutly nothing for the issue on my iMac running 10.14.6 and I'd restarted only yesterday, so not much time to accumulate issues I would have thought. Apr 18, 2020 at 22:12

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.

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