syspolicyd is consistently using ~20% CPU and consuming lots of power. Tracing it with sudo fs_usage "$(pgrep syspolicyd)" reveals that it's repeatedly scanning the same dozen or so Steam apps in my ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/steamapps/common directory.

Is there any way to convince it to be less aggressive about scanning, or remind it that it's already scanned these locations? Or at least get it to tell me why it's doing this without resorting to dtrace tooling?

  • 1
    Have you read this article: organizingcreativity.com/2020/12/…
    – X_841
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 19:35
  • Thanks for the reference. It's really just describing the same problem, and doesn't have a solution, though.
    – Glyph
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


In my case, it seems to be related to syspolicyd contacting Apple's iCloud services.

I have then turned off various iCloud services, including Photo synching. After that, it seems that syspolicyd has stopped running constantly.

What's left active in my case:

  • iCloud Drive
  • Safari
  • Keychain
  • Find My Mac

This suggests these were not the culprits.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's really the Photo sync service - I've had a similar issue on iOS two years ago where the iPhone apparently got stuck with some picture that it kept uploading endlessly, apparently due to some issue with it (and due to a bug in Apple's software, of course).

However, I don't see how that could relate to Steam and its files.

But perhaps you can, like I did, use Little Snitch to block all connections, and see if that helps. If it does, you may figure out what the problem is, too.

So, while this answer may not be particularly fitting to the question, others who search for problems with syspolicyd may find my answer helpful.

  • As I mentioned in my question, the I/O that is causing power drain is against .app bundles in my Steam library. How, exactly would this relate to iCloud or photos? Wouldn't that be cloudphotod / photolibraryd ?
    – Glyph
    Commented Sep 7, 2021 at 17:40
  • Also, dtruss suggests that the I/O is purely to disk, it's not talking to the network.
    – Glyph
    Commented Sep 7, 2021 at 17:40

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