After upgrading to Monterey from Big Sur on MacBook Pro (Intel chip), the Books app is very slow and consumes> 100% CPU. The page flips take 5-7 seconds (the spinner wheel also appears), and adding highlights is also slow.

What I found is, this is related to the number of highlights I have in a book.

  1. A new book flips through fine.
  2. For existing books with a decent number of highlights(say ~1000), it causes the slowness.

I found that the highlights will be stored in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iBooksX/Data/Documents/AEAnnotation

After taking a backup, I deleted that folder, and all books opened and flipped through fine. My AEAnnotation folder is >100 MB.

Is there a way I can solve the problem with the Books app being very slow without deleting highlights?

  • I tried deleting the highlights folder described on macOS 13 (Mx) and this made no difference.
    – MiB
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 4:24
  • Update: I'm now in a position of having gotten rid of the slowness and still have kept all my highlights. Problem is I'm not sure how I achieved this, but at one point I zipped and moved everything in my ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iBooksX/Data/ folder to the desktop in Finder, started Books which of course created new content in the Data folder. As I remember it everything was still slow. Most likely I then reverted the Finder move after having closed Books. Only later did I experience that Books now was snappy again. Problem solved, but how?
    – MiB
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 0:10
  • Here we are a few weeks later and Books is slow again.
    – MiB
    Commented Jan 6 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


So what I found in macOS 13 Ventura was that if you have been syncing your books with iCloud and delete the Data folder at ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iBooksX/Data a little later, not right away but perhaps after restarting the Books app a few times, books will be snappy again, which Exuberant shared, and highlights will be retained as these will sync back from iCloud.

The need to sync books is what is added here to what's in the question, which already contains a partial solution (thanks @Exuberant). The downside is that this snappiness isn't there forever. For me, I had it for about 4 weeks and then have to redo the deletion. Posting this as an answer to create a focal point and I hope to build on it as things get clearer.

  • Today, so just a few days later, the slowness reappeared (same title). I closed the Books app and deleted the Data folder. Then I restarted Books again. At once, the snappiness was back and as far as I could tell the highlights were still there too. It might be, the cause is not in the Data folder, but removing it triggers something that takes away the issue. I'll see as this develops further. This method of deleting the Data folder is now at least a work-around.
    – MiB
    Commented Jan 9 at 21:41

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