What is Photoanalysisd and Why does it have a High CPU Usage?

A lot of Apple MacBook and iMac users have complained about a System process called Photoanalysisd that keeps running in the background and consumes a lot of CPU. Users aren’t sure what is Photoanalysisd and why it has such high CPU usage.

Photoanalysisd is a system process in Apple MacBooks and iMacs that analyzes the pictures in the Photo library to detect faces using the built-in face detection technology. The Photoanalysisd process uses face detection to create a People album of familiar faces when enough photos are found in the Photo library.

This system process runs in the background and has a very high CPU usage which can go as high as 77% to 80%.

The Photoanlaysisd system process was first introduced in 2016 with the macOS Sierra. Since then, this system process has been included in other Operating Systems like macOS High Sierra, macOS Catalina, and even macOS Big Sur.

In this article, I’ll explain whether you should stop the Photoanalysisd process or not and if you should then, how you can kill this Photoanalysisd background process and free up CPU usage.

Should you Stop the Photoanalysisd Process?

Photoanalysisd is a system process that detects faces in pictures using face detection technology. It is not related to any built-in or third-party software in your MacBook.

Photoanalysisd is a one-time system process (till you add more photos) and it runs only when you import pictures into your Photos app or buy a new MacBook or iMac and then download pictures on your Photos app.

When the Photoanalysisd process begins analyzing your pictures, it consumes a lot of CPU and the CPU usage hovers around 60% to 80%. You can check the CPU usage of this process using Activity Monitor. The Package name of this system process is com.apple.photoanalysisd.background.analysis.

After the analysis is done, this process stops automatically and you get a much better User Experience(UX) while using the Photos App because now you can see the names of faces and the photos of similar face names are grouped together.

If you add more pictures on your MacBook then the Photoanalysisd will restart and it will analyze the new pictures you’ve added.

If the Photoanalysisd system process is making your MacBook unusable then you should definitely stop it and if it’s not causing any issues on your device then you should keep it running.

When Does Photoanalysisd Process Become a Problem?

The Photoanalysisd process becomes a big problem when you have lots of pictures saved in the Photos App. If you have thousands of pictures, the Photoanalysisd process could take a few days to finish analyzing.

For example, if your Mac device has around 300 photos then Photoanalysisd will take less time to finish analyzing(2-3 days) but if your Mac device has around 1000 photos then it will take a long time to finish analyzing these pictures(1-2 weeks).

When you open the Photos App on your Mac device the Photoanalysisd process pauses. However, if you minimize the Photos app or close it then the Photoanalysisd process starts running again. This process also pauses when your device is not connected to Power.

You can check the progress of pictures analyzed by the Photoanalysisd Process by going to the “Photos App” and then clicking on the “People” section in the left sidebar.

If you have a large number of pictures(1000 or more) on your Mac device, the Photoanalysisd process will take a few days or even a week to complete its analysis. In such a case, you’ll have to disable Photoanalysisd either temporarily or permanently if you want to run other resource-intensive software for 3D Designing and Modelling like Blender, 4K Video Editing like Movavi, playing high-end games, etc.

You shouldn’t kill the Photoanalysisd process if it’s not causing any major issues. If you find that your Photoanalysisd is showing high CPU usage and your computer has gotten slow and is lagging then you have to kill or disable the Photoanalysisd process.

How to Disable(Force Stop) Photoanalysisd Temporarily?

You can disable Photoanalysisd temporarily by Force Quitting the system process. Follow the steps mentioned below to Force Quit and disable Photoanalysisd.

Step 1 – Press Command and Space together to open Spotlight search, type Activity Monitor and click on it to open the Activity Monitor application.

Step 2 – Click on the “CPU” section on the top. It is on the left side of the “Memory” section.

CPU section of Activity Monitor

Step 3 – Type Photoanalysisd on the search bar.

Step 4 – Select Photoanalysisd by clicking on it and then click the Stop button on the top denoted by a cross symbol (x). The Stop button is on the left of the “i” button.

Click on Stop button

Step 5 – Click on the Force Quit button to disable the Photoanalysisd process temporarily.

Click on Force Quit

Photoanalysisd Stuck

If the Photoanalysisd is stuck and not responding it means that there is a memory allocation problem with this system process. If this process doesn’t have enough memory to operate then it will stop responding.

Another reason why this process can stop responding is if the process is waiting to read a disk block or a network data block. If it doesn’t get the data to read then this process will get stuck.

To fix Photoanalysisd from getting Stuck, you’ll have to Force Quit the Photoanalysisd process. You can Force Quit this process by following the steps mentioned in the section above. After Force Quitting this process, you can restart it again to check if it’s working properly.

This fix works for macOS Catalina, macOS Sierra, macOS High Sierra and macOS Big Sur.

How to Stop Photoanalysisd from Running in the Background?

When Photoanalysisd is showing unnatural CPU usage and slowing down your device you will have to disable Photoanalysisd permanently. Below I have mentioned some of the methods for disabling Photoanalysisd.

(1) Add Names to Pictures Manually

If you have a lot of pictures of yourself and other people then the success rate of this method will be high. If you have a lot of abstract pictures, nature pictures, etc. then this method won’t be as successful.

Adding names to faces in your pictures reduces the CPU consumption of the Photoanalysisd process. You can name the faces in your pictures by following the steps mentioned below.

Step 1 – Open the Photos app on your Mac device.

Step 2 – Double click on the picture to which you want to add a name.

Step 3 – Click on the “i” button (Info) on the top toolbar which is on the left of the Share button.

Step 4 – Click on the “+” sign to the left of the Add Faces option.

Step 5 – Left-click on the “Click to add name” option and then add your desired name.

There is another way to add names to Faces in pictures. This method is shared below. You can use either the command mentioned above or the one mentioned here.

Step 1 – Open the Photos app on your Mac device.

Step 2 – Click on the “People” section under “Photos.”

Step 3 – Click on the number below a photo and add a name to that photo.

Step 4 – Similarly, add names to other photos.

(2) Delete or Rename the PhotoAnalysisD file

Deleting or Renaming the PhotoAnalysisD file can stop this background process from running. Here are the steps to do it.

Step 1Disable System Integrity Protection on your Mac.

  1. Shut down your Mac device.
  2. Turn on your Mac and press the Command and R key together until your device reboots into Recovery Mode.
  3. Go to Utilities > Terminal.
  4. On Terminal, type csrutil disable.
  5. Type reboot, and wait for your Mac device to boot up normally.

Step 2 – Delete or Rename the PhotoanalysisD file.

  1. Go to /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PhotoAnalysis.framework/Versions/A/Support
  2. Find the PhotoAnalysisD file.
  3. Delete this file or rename it to what you want.

Step 3 – Reenable System Integrity Protection

  1. Shut down your Mac device.
  2. Turn on your Mac and press the Command and R key together until your device reboots into Recovery Mode.
  3. Go to Utilities > Terminal.
  4. On Terminal, type csrutil enable.
  5. Type reboot, and wait for your Mac device to boot up normally.

(3) Disable Photoanalysisd using Terminal

You can use the Terminal application to disable Photoanalysisd using certain commands. All the steps are mentioned below.

Step 1 – Open the Terminal application by going to Launcher > Other > Terminal.

Step 2 – Disable the Graphical User Interface(GUI) instance by running the command mentioned below.

launchctl disable gui/$UID/com.apple.photoanalysisd && launchctl kill -TERM gui/$UID/com.apple.photoanalysisd

Step 3 – Disable the Photoanalysisd process by running the command mentioned below.

launchctl disable user/$UID/com.apple.photoanalysisd && launchctl kill -TERM user/$UID/com.apple.photoanalysisd

Alternate Command

If the commands mentioned above don’t work then you can try the two commands mentioned below to disable Photoanalysisd.

sudo launchctl remove com.apple.photoanalysisd

OR

launchctl unload -w/System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.photoanalysisd.plist

(4) Disable Photoanalysisd in macOS Catalina

If you have macOS Catalina installed on your MacBook or iMac then you can disable Photoanalysisd using the steps mentioned below.

Step 1 – Open the Photos app.

Step 2 – On the Photos app menu on the top toolbar, click on Photos > Preferences.

Step 3 – Click on the General tab.

Step 4 – Uncheck the two options in the Memories section “Show Holiday Events” and “Show Memories Notification.”

App preferences of the Photos app

Step 5 – Close the Photos app.

How to Restart Photoanalysisd?

If you disabled the Photoanalysisd process then you can restart or reenable the Photoanalysisd process by running the command mentioned below in the Terminal app.

launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.photoanalysisd.plist

Photoanalysisd Quit Unexpectedly

If the Photoanalysisd process crashes, you get an error message “photoanalysisd quit unexpectedly.” This crash could be due to a memory allocation problem or corrupt user accounts or even corrupt preference files.

You can fix this by Force Quitting the photoanalysisd process. I have mentioned how to Force Quit the photoanalysisd process in the earlier section so make sure to check that out.

If that doesn’t fix the problem then try restarting your MacBook. You can also try to evaluate the preference files and recycle them if necessary.

Photoanalysisd Kernel Panic

If the Photoanalysisd process causes your Mac to restart unexpectedly then you get an error known as Kernel Panic and the error message will read as “your computer restarted because of a problem.”

This Kernel Panic situation due to Photoanalysisd can occur if there is a problem with the Photoanalysisd process or a problem with the Photos app.

You can fix this by Force Quitting the photoanlaysisd process and updating the Photos app to the newest version.

Conclusion

Photoanalysisd is a system process in Apple MacBooks and iMacs that analyzes the pictures in the Photo library to detect faces. When you add photos to your Mac device, this process starts analyzing your pictures to detect faces.

Whenever this process is active, it consumes a lot of CPU. You can disable this process by following the methods mentioned in this article.

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