I have a process named tic that occasionally shows its ugly face in htop or Activity Monitor, consuming around 100% CPU. I couldn't find any good info on it last time I tried. What is it for, what would make it suck up my processor cycles, and what can be done about it.

I'm on the latest sub-version of Mojave: 10.14.3 (18D42).

Update: this happened again, and about 80% of the lines displayed by sudo lsof -p PID were related in some way to Visual Studio Code. I don't know if that's a useful clue for anyone about the cause... but I'll put it out there...

1 Answer 1


man tic says:

tic - the terminfo entry-description compiler

You can use it to enable features in you terminal (like italics) that Apple didn't include in the terminfo database. See: How to show italic in vim in iTerm2

tic is a one-shot program and should not run in the background.
Open Activity Monitor, select tic & do ⌘-I, the first line says Parent proces: followed by a (blue) name which is a link. This tells you what launched tic, you can click that link to dive deeper in the launchers (Parent Proces) until you end up on kernel_task.

If the Parent process says launchd you may have an entry in either

  • /Library/LaunchAgents
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents/

Here there live .plist files which control the running of background processes.

You can use LaunchControl to see all such daemons or agents.

  • LaunchControl is an awesome utility! (I'm a paid user, but I also appreciate how much you can do with it before you pay. I heartily recommend it to anyone reading this!)
    – iconoclast
    Feb 8, 2019 at 17:16
  • The ancestry goes like this: ticzsh → Code → launchdkernel_task. Apparently a VS Code extension is the problem. Quiting tic in Activity Monitor returns things to normal after several minutes...
    – iconoclast
    May 1, 2019 at 19:16

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