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I'm logging network traffic (with Radio Silence), and noticed that the studentd process from /usr/libexec/studentd is connecting to some server.

What is this process doing, why does it need internet access?

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studentd manages the Apple Classroom experience for students and teachers that use MDM and the Apple School Manager service.

The manual page also says it is designed to run without classes configured, so I would allow the traffic so that it knows you aren’t needing management and then sits idle.

Unless there’s a resource issue, you have thousands of processes that run, self configure and then sleep or wait for a task. Blocking the traffic might make the daemon keep trying to connect and finish it’s run-once (or perhaps a regular check in) setup process.


On a larger stage, this design is how Unix and all of the Apple os work. They design small hardened daemons to serve narrow purposes, and often make a user account to run these behind the scenes to isolate permissions and sandbox everything cleanly. For us using the OS, I only try to manage these processes if there is a resource or usage issue.

In your case, this process will connect to very specific servers, so you can know it’s talking to Apple or to your MDM server in all likelihood. We would need details to dig into that deeper by using wire shark or tcpdump to capture and analyze the traffic. Also, don’t be misled - the process could have initially been designed to manage the student log in for iPads and then the code base was used for all the OS to receive and validate MDM / security details and/or sync user data to iCloud or other network stores. If you’re interested in just shutting this process down, there may be options on some macOS to do that.

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    This doesn't properly answer the question. 90+% of us aren't high-school students, so given we have almost no likelihood of ever using Apple Classroom, can/should studentd be hidden/disabled/removed from the launchctl list? Can you certify that studentd only ever sends information about student activities, and nothing else?
    – smci
    Jul 13, 2020 at 20:52
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    but that's missing the point: what tiny subset of users would ever actually legitimately need this feature, ever? And for all the rest of us who will never use Apple Classroon, why shouldn't we disable it? Every MacOS release Apple pushes new cryptic daemons without informed user consent. At best they simply waste valuable system resources (CPU, memory, network), at worst they are a privacy risk.
    – smci
    Jul 13, 2020 at 23:40
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    bmike: I disagree, you're proving the point; Apple keeps pushing new unnecessary, cryptic or undocumented features, bolted into the OS, without informed user consent. The onus is on Apple to explain what this is and why I should ever enable it, not on each of us hapless users to waste each of our time troubleshooting whether it can be disabled (such as the icloud 'helpers' that all us non-iCloud users don't need), and how much resource hog it is. As to keeping a checklist/kill-list of features we should re-disable every MacOS release, fine, let's do it.
    – smci
    Jul 13, 2020 at 23:42
  • @smci I’ve added some details on not confusing the name of the process with the actual function. I did try to answer the question as best I can - if you still don’t like the answer, it would be great to see your take (or anyone’s take) as an answer. I learn so much from feedback and other people I’d love to learn what I missed the mark here. I’ve also linked to a question on how to disable this entirely for those willing to modify their OS.
    – bmike
    Nov 4, 2021 at 17:35

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