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For the last several weeks, possibly since I updated to macOS 14 (but I think more recently than that), my MBP has been experiencing these periodic hangs in UI responsiveness. Every once in a while (sometimes every 10 seconds, sometimes I don't notice it for minutes or hours), the UI will stop responding for a few seconds. Often not long enough for the rainbow cursor to appear, but it frequently does.

The beachball never lasts long. Sometimes it's just text won't appear as I'm typing for a few seconds. Sometimes I'll get a beachball when copying or pasting, or dragging something.

It happens in all apps. I usually notice it in Safari, Messages, and Xcode, but those are probably my most-used apps.

Restarting seems to fix it, then a day or two later the behavior resumes.

I've tried initiating Spindumps when I notice it, hoping it will happen before the spindump completes. I did catch one freeze once, but don't know enough about analyzing the dumps to see anything that's a likely culprit.

Any ideas for how to diagnose this? I've already filed feedback with Apple, but I doubt they'll even look at it.

UPDATE: I'm fairly certain the culprit is configd. I see it constantly spiking to nearly 100% CPU usage, and hovering above 80% when the incidents occur. diagnosticd is frequently up there also, as well as SystemUIServer, but configd rarely rests. I have never noticed a lockup while configd was resting.

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    Does the menu bar clock stop whilst this is happening? [You need seconds displayed, of course, to see this.]
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 12, 2023 at 8:42
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    That's a great question, and I keep forgetting to check. I'll try to be more cognizant and let you know.
    – Rick
    Dec 12, 2023 at 9:50
  • I recommend keeping Activity Monitor open all the time, and see if you can switch to it. It's unusual for the ENTIRE UI to become unresponsive: it's usually just one app, like the Finder, and you may be able to switch while it's happening.
    – benwiggy
    Dec 12, 2023 at 12:45
  • @benwiggy - I've seen different responses on different Macs. My old Mac Pro on Mojave, everything except the cursor is halted [hence my comment about the clock], but on an M1 iMac you see the spinny wheel. [I've had less interaction with that one, it's my partner's machine, so I don't know all the foibles]. Both were fixed by making Time Machine less intrusive.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 12, 2023 at 14:57
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    So, the answer is…sometimes. Sometimes the seconds keep ticking, other times they do not.
    – Rick
    Dec 13, 2023 at 2:17

1 Answer 1

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I've had issues on several Macs, from Mojave to Ventura, which I've narrowed down to being Time Machine.

My solution was to use TimeMachineEditor to prevent backups whilst I'm working.

See backupd using massive CPU

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  • In this case, it's not that, as far as I can tell.
    – Rick
    Dec 12, 2023 at 23:55
  • hmm… in that case you might need to keep Activity Monitor visible all the time & see if you can catch what spikes. Try speeding up the sampling time, & also check memory pressure after a spike. We have am M1 iMac with only 16GB RAM & that can get hit hard if memory if under pressure.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 13, 2023 at 8:15

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