Im running a mid-2012 macbook pro on 10.9.5.

I've been having massive lag spikes over the last few weeks which have gotten more consistent and prevalent the last day. I have been wearing this macbook out for a while but these lag spikes are like nothing I have seen before.

CPU Spikes that have happened while writing this post

These are the spikes that have happened during the writing of this post. The system seems to take up to 80% of my cpu for differing lengths of time with no clear intervals.

Any tips on solving this or limiting the damage? I have been thinking of updating this machine to 10.11.1 for a while to make it compatible with my Wacom pad, but now I'm questioning if my old friend could still handle this...

EDIT1: The spikes have just started again and I have managed to capture the entire screen this time. Interesting to note is that as you can see I am running the steelseries engine for my mouse. During spikes my mouse completely ticks off as well and gets super sensitive until the end of the spike.


I hope this shines a bit more light onto the situation. Having trouble with my wifi TimeMachine backup at home so buying an external harddrive for backups soon after which i'll try to clean the insides to see if that helps any!

EDIT2: Used the sudo syscallbypid.d command. These were the top results: Try 1:


Try 2 (Noticed hamachi taking alot of space so deleted that anyways):


EDIT3:Tried it again, this time while not running chrome. Got another spike with these results:


EDIT4(Still going): I've closed spotify and decided to see what happens then, still kept spiking. Was working with only pages open on a paper, first time with syscallbypid.d showed only pages taking up some space, but second time and third with some spikes later other stuff started to show up. Any idea what this could be?



EDIT5: I've captured another screenshot of the entire screen from activity monitor to show what has been eating up most of the CPU, which is the Kernal_task. This spike happened with no other programs open, only stuff running in the background.


  • You need to check in the same window what precisely is eating all that CPU - if it's kernel_task, then it may be doing it simply to cool the machine, which may imply the hardware needs cleaning
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 30, 2018 at 21:40
  • Could you also post a screen shot of the individual CPU consumers, at least the op 10. This one does not show who is doing it.
    – Ruskes
    Oct 30, 2018 at 22:37
  • @Buscar웃 updated the post with some more information, hope this might help some... Really appreciating the help! Oct 31, 2018 at 17:34
  • Thank you, as you can see it is your Kernel tasks (the OS X) been very busy with something. Lets try to find out what is it.
    – Ruskes
    Oct 31, 2018 at 18:12
  • Open Terminal and paste this sudo syscallbypid.d enter your password, let it run for a minute (it wont stop by it self) then hold control + press c, now look on the right for the highest number and take screen shot of some of those and report in your original post.
    – Ruskes
    Oct 31, 2018 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


The chart representing the CPU usage in the Activity Monitor can be misleading.

The scale on the Y -axis is not 100% but changes according to the CPU usage.

You could see what it looks like spikes even if they are of extermly low magnitude.

See my example. It looks like spikes while the actual CPU consumption is low. In this case the User- CPU load is 0% to 5.93% and the chart Y-axis is set to 6% so it just looks like huge spikes.


You must log in to answer this question.

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