My MacBook is frying my lap, and the CPU monitor is going crazy: over 200% CPU being used by a process named installd.

What is it? Can I kill it?

  • 200%?, check the status of your RAM,s!
    – Jadav
    Mar 28, 2013 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, 2013 at 22:07
  • 2
    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, 2013 at 0:17
  • 4
    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%. Sep 27, 2013 at 6:03
  • 2
    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, 2014 at 13:44

7 Answers 7


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).

  • 1
    How do you set the priority of a process?
    – hawk
    May 4, 2014 at 13:16
  • 1
    You can use renice command to change the priority for the process.
    – kenorb
    Jul 11, 2014 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, 2014 at 13:42
  • 4
    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. Mar 12, 2015 at 0:36
  • 4
    You don't need to use locate on macOS. Use mdfind -name installd instead, it uses Spotlight and is always available.
    – neu242
    Dec 20, 2016 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.

  • So, the question is, how long has it been doing this?
    – GEdgar
    Mar 28, 2013 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, 2013 at 21:17
  • 10
    You could also run sudo opensnoop -n installd to see what files the processes access or search for installd in Console.
    – Lri
    Mar 28, 2013 at 23:23
  • 2
    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, 2015 at 14:42
  • 2
    @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, 2017 at 22:42

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.


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.

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

sudo killall -9 installd
sudo killall -9 storeagent
  • 7
    What is the impact of killing these? Does it crash or corrupt anything?
    – mmmmmm
    Apr 30, 2013 at 9:31
  • 1
    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. Aug 16, 2014 at 19:10
  • 1
    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. Aug 16, 2014 at 19:11
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    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, 2015 at 7:11

honestly- i have the same problem, you posted this in 2013 and its 2020 and literally im updating xcode and installd is taking up 1.02 gb of memory (which is a lot) and 268% of my cpu which is a LOT for simply updating xcode, (and not to mention, its caused my fans to max out and my computer's gpu temperature is at 186 in a cool room and the fans aren't even covered), another problem we have still with things about system processes is things like windowserver, if you dont restart your computer for a while, after a week of not logging out or restarting, just simply shutting the lid, windowsever goes COMPLETELY wack, i just restarted my computer yesterday because it was at (with no actual tabs or pages opened, literally nothing is running) 1.32 gb of memory (its supposed to be at around 440 mb for my computer in normal, unwacky circumstances), windowserver just seems to get overwhelmed after a while which is a BIG problem, and even after a long enough time i've had windowserver ALONE get my computer to 176 degrees, but granted that was after i found out that a lot of the system processes like windowserver and kernal_task go to wack after a long enough time without a restart (so basically it took up 2.45 gb of memory with, again, nothing open because i didnt restart my computer for over 2 or 3 months because i was constantly needing it for school in those months)(oh wow great, for some reason discord is taking up 1.02 gb of memory even though it normally takes up 320 mb (it fixed itself as i typed this little sentence but like- wot)), but honestly this is me just ranting that honestly you arent alone and it seems to still not be fixed which is a little annoying, i wish that macos would periodically "refresh" these system programs when idle or closed and/or check and repair them because yes, ik ik, macbooks barely get any viruses, blame it on apple literally pushing out updates, WHOLE updates, just to fix 1 or 2 vulnerabilities that only ONE, literally probably only one, website, takes advantage of, good part on them but tbh its kind of a lot, i just wish that while they do this, they could simply include in one of those updates a little option maybe, or maybe instead it could be in the a small update that does have features in it, maybe this could be one of them, like, its so simple yet, clearly in these 7 years they somehow still haven't thought about it, and another problem with it is, if it was such a problem we used to be able to upgrade memory, now there is not a SINGLE thing you can upgrade in the computer, not memory, not storage, nothing, so is it too much to ask for a little update that'd help them manage their memory a little better? idk, i mean, to be fair i believe logging out does refresh the processes as well, but at that point it closes out of everything anyways, why not just shut off the computer and turn it back on while your at it? reeee im sorry for the rant AND necropost but basically i swear, they still have a problem with these things with is a little annoying, and plus, why does it take 267 cpu to even update xcode when it doesn't even take that much to download something that is of that equivalency to the update, like, i've downloaded whole 12 gigabyte downloads from chrome and didnt even really need to keep my fans exposed like i did just now, ok ok thats enough of the rant- sorry again for the necropost, i hope you or someone else atleast finds this a little amusing, relatable, or something, because its just a bit annoying, reeee goodbye random person who posted this in 2013 and i hope your life is goin pretty well. (oh and also, im aware i dont have great punctuation, dont worry i dont normally type like this, its only when im ranting freely, some smartass on apple discussions started a whole thread of a fight just because of it (luckily i wasn't being the one bombarded, it was him being bombarded by a bunch of level 10's bashing him for being a nuisance, considering he was level 6 and judging people in a judgement free page, basically made him look like a fool- slkjfsdlfkj))

  • 2
    It’s totally OK to vent - just come back a bit later and edit this so you don’t get hammered by down votes. Lots of great tidbits and helpful items in here once it gets an edit to reveal some excellent details and a clear answer.
    – bmike
    Sep 26, 2020 at 15:48
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    About the "WindowServer" thing - I have noticed that thing drop from 44% to 5% just because I removed Google Chrome. Read chromeisbad.com and you will know the details.
    – Vaibhav
    Dec 26, 2020 at 6:42
  • Thanks. I thought I was the only one who can't figure out how a company that has some amazing hardware and software can let sh*t like this go on for a decade. This issue is just one of the things that really piss me off.
    – pathfinder
    Dec 8, 2021 at 5:02
  • I have no clue why mine spawned and it's sitting around taking up 3GB of RAM and it says 10GB of virtual memory :\ Seems it's likely because of a pending system update? Still it seems weird it's sitting around doing nothing taking up too much RAM.
    – CTS_AE
    Dec 28, 2021 at 19:39

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.

  • 2
    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. Apr 23, 2013 at 17:12

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