My Macbook is frying my lap, and the CPU monitor is going crazy: over 200% CPU being used by something called "installd".

What is it? Can I kill it?

(OS X 10.8.)

  • 200%?, check the status of your RAM,s! – Jadav Mar 28 '13 at 22:04
  • Sometimes CPU goes wild if something else is not responding. Like the RAM or the Hard Disk, so check those for high activity. – Jadav Mar 28 '13 at 22:07
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    In addition to the good advice from Lauri Ranta - the installer program should also be running, and you can click on it's icon from the Dock and then press command L and command 3 to summon the install log file and enable all messages to be shown. You would expect to see pertinent install process while CPU is above 100% and consider killing the installer / looking deeper for error messages in the install log (Console app will show that log file as well once the installer exits). – bmike Mar 29 '13 at 0:17
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    Don't kill it. It's most likely the software update is running background (it could be other installation tho). Also the reason why CPU goes up beyond 100% is that you have multi-core CPU. My Mac has 4 cores so it could go as high as 400%. – Kenji Noguchi Sep 27 '13 at 6:03
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    Kenji is right on. I came to this page when my installd did the same thing. While I was reading, it finally stopped, and then i was immediately given the "updates available" notification. Why this process needs all available CPU on a quad-core i7 for several minutes is another question. – Dan Pritts Sep 22 '14 at 13:44

This is a daemon which is part of PackageKit framework and it's usually running as a background process for the "Software Update" GUI application. For example, if you open the Software Update application and check for updates, take a look at the Activity Monitor--you'll see the "installd" process doing a bunch of work.

The reason it pegs your CPU is because it must compile the current list of software installed on your computer, and compare with the current version list received from Apple's servers.

You can set the frequency of Software Update checks in System Preferences and Software Update.

The default settings are both to "Check for updates" and "Download updates automatically". You may adjust either setting, but I would not recommend turning it off altogether.

There's nothing wicked about this process - it's just set to download updates.

You can solve your CPU problem by lowering the priority of the process or by just killing the process in Activity Monitor.

Technical information:

The location in Lion OSX is in: /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PackageKit.framework/Resources/installd

(if you have locate configured correctly, run: locate installd to find the right location).

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    How do you set the priority of a process? – hawk May 4 '14 at 13:16
  • You can use renice command to change the priority for the process. – kenorb Jul 11 '14 at 9:30
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    Note that renice will lower the priority of a process but won't stop it from using all available CPU. If no other program is asking for CPU time, the system will still give all available CPU to the installd process. – Dan Pritts Sep 22 '14 at 13:42
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    On Mac OS 10.10.1, this setting is under System Preferences -> App Store. Looks like they re-enabled it without telling me when I upgraded to Yosemite. – Ajay Gautam Mar 12 '15 at 0:36
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    You don't need to use locate on macOS. Use mdfind -name installd instead, it uses Spotlight and is always available. – neu242 Dec 20 '16 at 7:42

It's normally run when you for example install an App Store application or remove an application from Launchpad. It shouldn't stay running in the background or keep using that much CPU though. You can probably just force quit it from Activity Monitor or run sudo killall -9 installd.

The binary is in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PackageKit.framework/Resources/installd in 10.8.

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  • So, the question is, how long has it been doing this? – GEdgar Mar 28 '13 at 21:14
  • For me, several minutes, and then it went down, and then it started going again (even though I didn't install anything), and then it went down again. It's gone for now, but who knows if it'll return. – Ken Mar 28 '13 at 21:17
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    You could also run sudo opensnoop -n installd to see what files the processes access or search for installd in Console. – Lri Mar 28 '13 at 23:23
  • Don't just kill -9 a process. SIGKILL should be a last resort, since the process does not necessarily terminate in a well-defined or consistent state. Always try -15 (SIGTERM– terminate) and -6 (SIGABRT – abort process) first. – oarfish Jan 26 '15 at 14:42
  • @user495470 opensnoop does not work for me. I get dtrace: error on enabled probe ID 5 (ID 172: syscall::open:return): invalid user access in action #11 at DIF offset 24. – Albert Oct 31 '17 at 22:42

I used Activity Monitor to kill the process at once. And so:

  • CPU returned back to normal;
  • A notification from App Store showed up in Notification Center asking for when to install updates.
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It's Apple's install process.

What's annoying is:

  1. Apple haven't (as yet) made this less CPU-intensive OR given you the option to do so. Note that the CPU-intensive stage is only at the initial part of the install and does stop.
  2. you can't quickly see the progress of the Downloads

You can see progress but need to do the following:

Apple logo (top left) > App Store > Updates and click Update.

This will then reveal a progress bar with the current download state.

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Mine was installd and storeagent - so I just killed them:

sudo killall -9 installd
sudo killall -9 storeagent
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    What is the impact of killing these? Does it crash or corrupt anything? – mmmmmm Apr 30 '13 at 9:31
  • Mac OS X installers typically do lengthy operations (unpacking, compiling) on install files in a temporary location, and spend relatively little time actually moving the files into place. You can see this for yourself if you run an installer that reports its progress. This suggests that there is a unlikely but existent chance it might leave your system in an inconsistent state. In addition, the last step of install is writing a "install completed" receipt, so if that doesn't get written, it'll just probably try to install the software again later, fixing the inconsistency. – interestinglythere Aug 16 '14 at 19:10
  • Also, I believe the super risky can-leave-your-system-dead-if-killed updates are the ones that require restart and install only when all users are logged out. – interestinglythere Aug 16 '14 at 19:11
  • There's no real guarantee what will happen if you shoot down a process like this. Probably nothing, but you may corrupt something, so try other signals before killing with -9. – oarfish Jan 27 '15 at 7:11

Installd is a process run by Sophos anti virus. The process is called by InterCheck which is a process related to Sophos's active scanning.

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    acutally it seems to be a core component of the operating system that is launched after you authenticate the Installer program to perform an installation. There are issues of it creeping up to hog too much CPU power for some users of Sophos AV for Mac. Edit your answer so that it is suggested as a possibility, one of many, and you'll probably get some upvotes. – NOTjust -- user4304 Apr 23 '13 at 17:12

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