Since I fresh-installed macOS Catalina on my MacBook Pro, I've noticed a strange process called AXVisualSupportAgent slowly eating up my RAM little by little. Upon a fresh reboot it doesn't seem to be consuming too many resources. However, as time goes on its memory usage starts creeping up. My machine has been on for a week and it's already using half of my available 16GB RAM, which is probably being swapped quite a lot. Any ideas about why this may be the case, and how I can prevent this from happening? I don't want to reboot my laptop every few weeks to give it "proper maintenance" as I would need to with a Windows laptop.
I don't know what the process does but this reference has a description of a way to prevent it from using a lot of cpu time. The process is related to the accessibility settings on your computer. To reduce the time taken open system preferences and click on accessibility. Turn off the zoom function and turn off image smoothing. There are other things listed in the link. The link is originally in Japanese but the googletranslation was pretty good I think. It was also mentioned that the problem really started with Catalina.
I followed the previous answer (I'm on Catalina 10.15.7), and turning off "Use keyboards shortcuts to zoom" in the Zoom section (image smoothing was already off under Advanced > Appearance) and disabling Voice Control caused AXVisualSupportAgent to disappear from Activity Monitor altogether.
I then re-enabled "Use keyboards shortcuts to zoom" and the process reappeared, but running at about 0.1% CPU.
I then re-enabled Voice Control and a little microphone icon appeared bottom-right on my screen that wasn't there before. I also got prompted "A 422 MB download is required to use speech recognition features in Dictation" so I disabled Voice Control and cancelled the download. Also interesting to note that the microphone selected by Voice Control was the USB Advanced Audio Device in my Plugable UD-CA1 powered hub, not my internal mic.
The behaviour when I re-enabled Voice Control suggests to me that it wasn't properly initialised when I disabled it, so perhaps that's what was triggering the CPU hogging. But since I don't want to use dictation I'm not going to spend the time investigating further. If you do, and loading that 422MB chunk fixes thing for you, please leave a comment to let the Community know. Thanks.
I've found a workable solution for this: One can set up a Launch Agent to run a script every 30 minutes to
/usr/bin/killall -HUP AXVisualSupportAgent.
This can be done easily via a tool like Lingon X or any other method to create such an agent or