The bird process is out of control on my machine, running 80-100% of cpu nonstop. Rebooting did not settle it down.

I know this runs iCloud. This page suggests it should be possible to use brctl log to find problematic files causing the process to be wedged.


But the page recommends a command

brctl log -w --shorten

that does not seem to work in Big Sur -- neither "w" nor "shorten" flags seem to exist any more.

Does anyone have a useful prescription for reining in iCloud when it goes out of control?

EDIT: My first problem was copy/paste error from the appletoolbox article, where their typesetting software had replaced "--" with "—" and broken the command. I actually saw that and could have sworn I fixed it, but apparently not.

New problem: macOS now replaces the filenames you actually need to know with "" in the log output. What can I do about that? Or is there a better way to go about this entirely?

1 Answer 1


The problems seems to be that you have written the command slightly incorrectly - it needs to be typed in exactly as per the link you have. I.e. instead of a single "-" you need to have double "--" for the shorten argument.

The correct command is here:

brctl log -w --shorten

Perhaps use copy and paste to ensure it is the correct command, you're running.

The command above works also on the latest macOS versions.

Note that in order to view file names that are redacted as <private>, you need to install a profile allowing you to do so. You can read how to do that in my answer here:

MacOS alternative to USBLogView for Windows

  • God. I fuckin know that. How did I type it wrong that many times?
    – c roald
    Jun 1, 2022 at 11:52
  • Does that mean that you still have a problem (if so, what is the output) - or that it is fixed for you now?
    – jksoegaard
    Jun 1, 2022 at 11:55
  • The problem now seems to be that it is replacing all the filenames I might need to know, with "<private>".
    – c roald
    Jun 1, 2022 at 11:57
  • 2
    You need to install a profile that enabled private data logging first. See my answer here: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/430156/…
    – jksoegaard
    Jun 1, 2022 at 12:03
  • That looks like it might be relevant, thanks, but I don't fully understand it. I'll comment over there.
    – c roald
    Jun 1, 2022 at 12:12

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