mdworker process slows down Mac: Rebuilding Spotlight index helps

In the operating systems of the Apple Mac, i.e. Mac OS X or macOS, processes and applications that improve file and storage management are actually constantly running in the background. The computer is supposed to keep its working power for as long as possible and perform tasks quickly. However, the system is not perfect, like the one among others mdworkerProcess shows. Similar to that kernel_task it slows down the system under certain circumstances and slows down the system and apps - even though the Mac, iMac or MacBook is still technically up-to-date. A remedy against a mdworker who generates a high CPU load is to create a new spotlight index.

Mac is slow due to mdworker process

Symptoms for a faulty Spotlight index and a madworker process in macOS is a slow Mac that lets the fans spin like mad right from the start. There are also long waiting times for actually simple tasks in standard apps, so that even saving a text file becomes a test of patience. In contrast to the kernel_task, the mdworker does not react to the CPU temperature and deliberately slows down the Mac. The reason is, as already indicated, that the index of the Spotlight search function got mixed up. So you have to recreate it to solve the problem.

Rebuild Spotlight Index: System, OnyX, CleanMyMac

Deleting the Spotlight index and recreating it to bring the mdworker process back to order can be done in various ways - e. B. manually after the instructions "Renew Spotlight indexing on the Mac" from Apple in the system settings of macOS, but also with the help of cleaning apps such as OnyX or CleanMyMac. Here I show you all three options in detail.

Refresh Spotlight indexing in macOS settings

  1. Apple menu Call up () in the menu bar
  2. System settings ... select and there on Spotlight here
  3. The tab Privacy choose
  4. Click on the “+” below the empty list to add the Macintosh HD volume (hard drive) or drag and drop it from the Finder into the list
  5. Select the list entry you just created and remove it from the list with "-"
  6. Close the system settings
  7. Spotlight now re-indexes the content that was just edited
If the mdworker process slows down the Mac CPU, you can recreate the Spotlight index in the macOS system settings.

If the mdworker process slows down the Mac CPU, you can recreate the Spotlight index in the macOS system settings.

Refresh Spotlight Index in OnyX

  1. OnyX start and the tab Synchronise choose
  2. Rebuild and update the Spotlight Index choose
  3. If necessary, refine other settings and for Applications under Options ... Add / remove tick
  4. At To run here
  5. Note: OnyX terminates running programs in order to perform the action
The Spotlight indexing can also be renewed in OnyX, an app for cleaning up the Macintosh hard drive.

The Spotlight indexing can also be renewed in OnyX, an app for cleaning up the Macintosh hard drive.

Create Spotlight Index in CleanMyMac

  1. CleanMyMac start and left Maintenance choose
  2. Individually or in addition to other points Create Spotlight Index choose
  3. At To run here
Also in CleanMyMac, or CCC for short, many measures can be taken to make a slow Mac fast again. mdworker

Also in CleanMyMac, or CCC for short, many measures can be taken to make a slow Mac fast again.

Has your problem with mdworker been solved?

Did the mdworker of the Spotlight search overwhelm your Mac and use or overload the CPU? Were you able to fix the problem with the above instructions and throttle the mdworker back down to a normal level? Feel free to leave your experiences and thoughts on the subject as a comment - even if you know further advice and instructions against a slow Mac!

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3 comments

  1. Michael says:

    Unfortunately did not help. My Macbook has been the purest fan heater since the update to Mojave. 15 to 30 instances of mdworker and mdworker_shared are running all the time. Itunes has been completely dead since yesterday, Safari constantly deletes the open windows of the last sessions, other programs crash, restart is often only possible via the power button.
    Now I have updated the Spotlight index through the system settings. Since then, up to 100 (!) Instances have been running and the Macbook is glowing.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Michael! So either iron the system over it or maybe reinstall it from scratch and then use the migration assistant to take over the old data. Sometimes there is no other way of dealing with this problem. On the other hand, if you've just updated the index, the Mac will naturally want to re-index everything. Then maybe let it run for a few hours and hope that it will eventually be finished.

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks, I'll let it run overnight and hope to get better ...

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