My iMac running High Sierra has become painfully slow.

I suspect photoanalysisd, as it's using a lot of CPU time, but I can't figure out how to get rid of it.

There's at least one other question (What is "photoanalysisd" and why is it using 77% of my CPU?) here about photoanalysisd, but my scenario is different and none of the suggestions in the other thread were helpful to me.

Looking in the Console log, I see odd errors for photoanalysisd, e.g.:

"seekAndRead -- Input/output error"
"error: (266) I/O error for database -- CLSBusinessCategoryCache.sqlite.  SQLite error code:266, 'not an error' errno:5"
"error: -executeRequest: encountered exception = I/O error for database at ... CLSBusinessCategoryCache.sqlite.  SQLite error code:266, 'not an error' errno:5"

Error code "not an error" -- huh?

Using the Terminal, I've tried all of the following:

sudo launchctl remove com.apple.photoanalysisd
sudo launchctl kill -TERM gui/$UID/com.apple.photoanalysisd
launchctl disable gui/$UID/com.apple.photoanalysisd
launchctl kill -STOP gui/$UID/com.apple.photoanalysisd
launchctl kill -TERM gui/$UID/com.apple.photoanalysisd

BUT photoanalysisd is still running, according to the Activity Monitor. Even after I issue commands to kill the process(!?), it's still there. Of course it also comes back when I restart, and slows the machine horribly again.

First question, then: why don't these commands get rid of photoanalysisd?

Next, I have tried starting in safe mode, but it makes no difference: the iMac is still unusable, until I issue commands to kill photoanalysisd.

Also, the screen updates are incredibly slow in safe mode. The desktop appears very slowly and is painted in bands like venetian blinds opening up from the bottom. Never seen this before.

Again, there is nothing in the Activity Monitor that is obviously eating up CPU or memory. Activity Monitor consistently reports over 90% idle, though the system is beachballing constantly.

Finally, I have already re-installed High Sierra once, but it made no difference.

I really don't care if the Photos app does the person recognition thing or not. I just want my Mac to be useable again.

Any suggestions?

EDIT: 25 days later, I still have no solution to this. My basic question about photoanalysisd (above) remains unanswered.

  • Umm cpu time isn't necessarily the best indicator of sluggishness reasons. There are multiple light weight things that run the moment laptop wakes up. Can you check Activity monitor for other indicators? See what is using most power recently, CPU %, memory? And the suggestion about adding some names to photos seems like a good idea. It reduces workload on this daemon I presume
    – anki
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 17:03
  • I have checked Activity Monitor, but the strange thing is that although the machine is very sluggish and beachballing, there's no single process shown to be consuming lots of memory or CPU %. photoanalysisd is shown as consuming the most time, but its % is low. However, after I issue the above commands in Terminal, the machine runs faster, though photoanalysisd is oddly still listed as running. As for adding names to photos, there are literally thousands of them in my Photos library, so I don't know where to begin with that.
    – mrob
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 22:34
  • I tried safe mode but it makes no difference. I have edited the problem text (above) to elaborate on this.
    – mrob
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 6:24
  • try the suggestion of renaming photo library given here apple.stackexchange.com/a/320058/313842. I have never tried it, so do it on your own risk. Better not get photos library corrupted.
    – anki
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:14

2 Answers 2


If you use iCloud photos and sync with another device, you can turned off the photos sync on Mac. In case you go to turn it back on and it gives storage full error, do as suggested in download iCloud photo to mac OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 in second paragraph.

However this will bring the problem back if you would want to use photos later. So best shot can be leaving it on overnight by disabling sleep in System Preferences and keeping it plugged in. This might give it enough time to complete the analysis.

  • I would like to use Photos and iCloud, so I'm not really excited about turning off the sync feature. As for leaving the iMac on overnight, I have already left the computer on for weeks and it never seems to finish with photoanalysisd. FWIW, there are 8 GB of Photos in the library. What I am really wondering is: why is it seemingly so difficult to just kill photoanalysisd? I don't care about this feature at all. Why can't I just get rid of it? Why do the commands above — which various other posts on the Internet claim to work — have no effect?
    – mrob
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 12:33

Welcome to Ask Different. This is just a guess but my Mac was running slowly and began "beachballing" a lot. I couldn't figure out the cause so I restarted my mac in safe mode. It worked fine when I did that. That made me think it was an app I had in my login items. I removed a few of the login items and the machine returned to normal. I don't know which login item it was. Probably a 3rd party app.

  • Thanks for the safe mode idea, I linked two more questions.
    – anki
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 17:40
  • Starting in safe mode doesn't make any difference. Since this question is now flagged as a duplicate, I've edited the original text. Please look there since I can't add more characters here.
    – mrob
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 6:14

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