[solved] Process "accountsd" requires over 300% CPU and slows down the Mac

High CPU load due to accountsd process

Almost everyone probably knows this: You come to your computer in the morning and want to start work, but the Mac has secretly planned completely different things. In my case, it started blowing the fans right after booting up. The sound always makes me nervous and I tried to bring up the activity monitor.

When I saw how the letters appeared little by little while typing in Spotlight, it was already clear to me that some process was running amok again and slowing down the Mac.

Sometimes my CPU load was even over 560% - this is due to some iCloud activities that are carried out by the accountsd process.

Sometimes my CPU load was even over 560% - this is due to some iCloud activities that are carried out by the accountsd process.

"Accountsd" process - something with iCloud ...

The process “accountsd” appeared at the top of the “CPU” tab in the activity display. Directly underneath is usually “kernel_task” somewhere, because it tries to slow down the Mac so that the CPU does not burn out. So our main problem is "accountsd" - this time as not "mdworker"which has also sweetened my day before.

When I searched Google for it, I came across one longer thread in StackExchange encountered, in which a number of Mac users discuss this phenomenon.

When it comes to the exact cause, people vary between Spotlight, Calendar, Mail, and Gmail accounts, but there's one thing they're sure of: it has something to do with iCloud.

Quitting the Mail app doesn't help me

You can quickly determine whether the problem is with the mail app by simply closing it. If the accountsd process is still represented in the activity display with over 100% CPU load, then it has nothing to do with it. Gmail was also out of the question for me because I don't use Gmail.

Solution for me: logging out of iCloud and Spotlight

The following actions finally brought me calm:

  • I have completely logged out of iCloud via System Settings> iCloud. After asking me, I left the passwords, the contact database and the like on my Mac.
  • I have also added the main hard drive “Macintosh HD” in the “Privacy” tab under System Preferences> Spotlight. The Mac will then delete the Spotlight index.

There was no improvement for about three to four minutes, but while I kept searching the internet for solutions, I could see the CPU load suddenly drop out of the corner of my eye.

Here you can see the drop in CPU load that occurred after 1-2 minutes - you have to be patient when you have logged off iCloud.

Here you can clearly see the drop in CPU load that occurred after 1-2 minutes - you have to be patient when you have logged off iCloud.

Short return after iCloud login

When the CPU usage was normal for a few minutes, I removed the “Macintosh HD” from the Spotlight data protection tab so that it could be indexed again.

I have also signed in to iCloud again so that I can use the service. This led to a brief peak in CPU usage, which calmed down after a few seconds.

Since then only the process "mds" is represented with over 50% in the activity display, but this belongs to Spotlight and is of course now busy with rebuilding the Spotlight index.

When I logged out of iCloud, the window with the system settings no longer responded. After a few minutes the logout was finished and everything went back to normal.

When I logged out of iCloud, the window with the system settings no longer responded. After a few minutes the logout was finished and everything went back to normal.

Often helps: iCloud logout

As far as I could read in various forum entries, the following procedure promises the most success:

  1. System Preferences> Apple ID
  2. then click on "Overview" and below "Log out"
  3. now the Mac is busy for a while (about 3-4 minutes for me)
  4. now restart the Mac
  5. after booting you log in to iCloud again (system settings> Apple ID)
Signing out and signing in to iCloud apparently solved the problem for me - and a few others.

Signing out and signing in to iCloud apparently solved the problem for me - and a few others.

Apple support tip: SMC reset

A Mac user wrote in a forum entry that he had brought the case with accountsd's CPU load to Apple Support. The feedback was that he was one Perform an SMC reset should (here for Instructions for resetting the SMC for T2 Macs). I don't think an SMC reset would have helped, but you can try it out. In any case, it can't do any harm.

Tip from a reader: start in safe mode

My reader Harald just wrote me that he could stop the crazy accountsd process with a restart in the safe mode was able to normalize again:

  • Restart your Mac
  • hold down the SHIFT key when restarting
  • when the Mac is up, restart normally

The (last) terminal solution

A user tried the following things, all of which did not help:

  • Quit Apple Mail
  • Remove Google Accounts from Mail and Calendar
  • Add Macintosh HD to the Spotlight Privacy section
  • delete all passwords in ~ / Library / Keychain

Ultimately, he was successful with the following terminal commands, which he in turn performed Reddit has found. Before you enter the commands: Please make a backup. I'm not a terminal person and I have no idea what the commands do exactly.

A throw-in from another reader (before you start using the terminal):

Attention with the terminal command: if the iCloud keychain is activated, it is sufficient to delete it (remove the hook in the setting, then confirm that the entries will be deleted from the computer) and play the 10.15.7 combo update over it. After the restart, the iCloud keychain can be checked again.

sudo -v
killall -9 accountsd.iCloudHelper
defaults delete MobileMeAccounts
mkdir ~/Library/Accounts/Backup
mv ~/Library/Accounts/.sqlite ~/Library/Accounts/Backup/
killall -9 accountsd.iCloudHelper
sudo reboot

Did it help?

If one of the measures helped you, I would be happy to hear from you. Surely this is also helpful for other users, so that the process "accountsd" is tamed and the Mac can be used normally again.

-
 

 

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27 comments

  1. Nicolas says:

    Speaking of Mac doing strange things:

    I don't know if you've heard of it too, but the current security update and the latest version of Safari (v14) are causing endless RAM problems on Mojave, including finder and app crashes ...

    I am also affected and have to be amazed that Safari suddenly needs 10-6GB of RAM for 8 open tabs.
    There are tons of links from various forums that are struggling with this ...

    A Time Machine backup to the state before the update should help, or a new installation of Mojave, or even Onyx is recommended ...

    In any case, the system suddenly lagged tremendously and can only be used with restrictions!

    Sorry for OT ????

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Nicolas! I've heard that it causes massive problems for some people. Everything is going reasonably well for me ... except for the accountsd process, which gave me problems today.

  2. Nicolas says:

    Thanks for your feedback!
    What is your RAM usage?

    I have 16GB and of that about 13GB are in use (open for Mail and Safari)!
    Usually I have about 5-7gb usage with the 2 programs ...

    How does it look for you?
    Thank you

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Nicolas! I also have 16 GB, but only 11 GB of memory even with many programs open. Safari takes up 88MB (yes, the value is correct!) And Mail only takes up 126MB. The largest items are Dropbox with 376 MB and Firefox with 297 MB.

      • Nicolas says:

        Thank you Jens!

        Then something is definitely wrong with me!

        A TM Backup Restore will probably not be spared me ... :-(

        Or do you hear something from Apple?

        • Jens Kleinholz says:

          Hello Nicolas! No, I don't know anything about that now. But yes: that doesn't sound normal. With a little luck, the upcoming update to Big Sur will solve your problem. Then that's fixed and you have three others. ;-)

          • Nicolas says:

            Unfortunately my MBP is no longer supported ...
            ??

            It's definitely due to Safari 14: I have 14 tabs open, all of them need between 200 and 450mb per tab (!) That alone is almost 5 gb ...

            I'm going back to my last backup now ???????? ‍♂️

          • Jens Kleinholz says:

            Hello Nicolas! That's pretty tough. Are these advertising sites like Spiegel.de or Bild.de? Or why do they need 200-450 MB per tab ??? Well, good luck with the downgrade. I hope everything works.

          • Nicolas says:

            Hi Jens

            Nothing special:
            iSzene.com
            Airbnb.de
            Ifun.de
            Itopnews.de
            Fuji-x-forum.de

            ???????? ‍♂️

          • Jens Kleinholz says:

            Ok, they also use up 200+ MB for me ... I just saw that the websites appear individually in the list. That's why my Safari didn't take up much memory. : D

          • Nicolas says:

            Good morning Jens!
            The supplement update has solved all problems and my RAM allocation is now again with opened Safari (14Tabs) + Mail at just under 4gb and no longer 13gb ...

            Ufff, why not just like that ???????? ‍♂️

          • Jens Kleinholz says:

            That sounds better. : D

  3. SM says:

    Attention with the terminal command: if the iCloud keychain is activated, it is sufficient to delete it (remove the hook in the settings, then confirm that the entries will be deleted from the computer) and play the 10.15.7 combo update over it. After the restart, the iCloud keychain can be checked again.

  4. Harald says:

    Hi Jens,

    for me a restart in "safe mode" helped.
    Start the Mac with the Shift key pressed, wait a few minutes, then restart in normal mode.

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Harald! Thank you for your feedback signal. Then I will include the option again in the article. : D

  5. Uwe says:

    Hallo,

    For me, a phone call with Apple Support also resulted in an SMC reset. That helped too. Unfortunately I had to repeat this after 5 days. This is not a great effort, but annoying because of the associated loss of time.

    If this happens to me again, I'll try the iCloud tip.

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      It could be that they'll fix the problem with a new update anyway. With Big Sur at the latest, there are new possibilities where things can get stuck. : D

      • Uwe says:

        Let's hope the best. Update to BigSur is a must then. So far, the iMac has been running for 2 years without any problems. So different and better than in the Windows world. For some it would still be grist to their mills ????.

    • Uwe says:

      Has worked for 5 days, then the same problem again. Reset helped again. 3 days later again the high utilization by accountsd. This time I had to perform the reset twice. Next I will try the tip with the iCloud.

  6. Gustl says:

    Servus, I had the same problem with my MacBook Pro (2012) with 10.15.7. The restrictions were immense, so much so that normal work was no longer possible. My solution was a combo update, various resets, logging out the Apple ID and deleting the Spotlight index. It all took a long time, but now everything is working again.

    Thank you for this contribution. Was more than helpful.

    Greetings from Munich

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Gustl! Gladly, Apple got a buck again. : D It probably took half the workforce of Mac users a day to get the Mac up and running again. : D

  7. Michael Borowsky says:

    Hello Jens, the new update did not help, today my Mcbook pro cooked again. Then I signed out of iCloud, restarted, that helped. Then registered again, since then there has been silence. Thanks for the tip!

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hi Michael! Interesting note. That means, even after the new update, you still have to do an iCloud reset? But that is not really user-friendly designed by Apple. Only people who look for the problem and end up here do that ... but nobody else would come up with this measure of their own accord.

  8. Oliver says:

    Moin, I had the same problem this morning. Here is a short description:

    - WLAN deactivated yesterday evening, power supply disconnected
    - MBP opened this morning, power supply restored
    - after a few minutes accountsd over 500%
    - WLAN activated
    - accountsd on 10%, Mail on 140%
    - Mail finished
    - accountsd 0%
    - Mail restarted
    - Mail to 150% for 20s, then everything is back to normal

    It seems to me that it has something to do with the internet connection and some data that he really wants to exchange.

    Kind regards, Oliver

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Oliver! Yes, the process has something to do with iCloud. Without an internet connection, he cannot reach the iCloud and cannot do his job. So maybe he'll keep calm then. : D

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