What is locationd and why is this process running on my Mac?

When looking at the process list of the Activity indicator Have you noticed “locationd” and now you want to find out what it is all about? Then you've come to the right place! In this article I will show you what the name means, what the task of this macOS back process is and how it affects the use of the Apple Mac. There are also tips for troubleshooting if locationd causes too high a CPU load or maxes out the main memory (RAM).

The Apple Mac has the locationd process, which is a regular part of macOS. You can find out what the background process does here.
The Apple Mac has the locationd process, which is a regular part of macOS. You can find out what the background process does here.

The locationd process on the Mac: determining location for various services

The name of this macOS process consists of “Location” for location or location and “d” for identifying it as a daemon. A daemon is an automatically started process that independently carries out certain tasks and serves as a human-machine interface. More about it here: Computer term – What is a daemon? The Apple Mac uses locationd to collect and process location information and pass it on to the system and individual apps. For example, the time zone you are in can be determined automatically, so you don't have to set the time manually.

In addition to this mostly one-time setting of system information, the locationd process also regulates the updating of location information for apps, widgets and other daemons with access to the same. WLAN data in particular is used to position the Mac geographically. If there is an existing internet connection, the IP address can still be used to determine the location or region. This can e.g. B. on search results in Spotlight or in Apple Maps. The tracking can be deactivated; however, websites and apps may find other ways to determine location (IP address, cookies, etc.).

Deactivate location services on the Apple Mac: Here's how!

If you want to deactivate location services on the Apple Mac to increase your privacy, you can do this in the system settings of macOS. The first step-by-step instructions refer to the new system settings design (from macOS 10.13 Ventura). Below you will also find the instructions for deactivating location services in the old system settings (up to macOS 10.12 Monterey).

Deactivate location services on the Apple Mac (new):

  1. Click this in the top left of the menu bar Apple logo an
  2. Choose from its menu System settings ... from
  3. Click on their sidebar (left). Privacy an
  4. Opens the point in the overview (right). Location services
  5. Here you can now activate/deactivate tracking system-wide or app-specifically
You can largely deactivate the location of your Mac manually. You can find the corresponding option in the macOS system settings.
You can largely deactivate the location of your Mac manually. You can find the corresponding option in the macOS system settings.

Deactivate location services on the Apple Mac (old):

  1. Click this in the top left of the menu bar Apple logo an
  2. Choose from its menu System settings ... from
  3. Click in their window Security & data protection an
  4. Then navigate to the area Location services
  5. Disables the “Enable location services” item

Apple points out in its macOS manual that the Mac uses location data in the event of an emergency call even if you have deactivated the location query as shown in the instructions. This is intended to make rescue measures easier (Which).

Problem: The Mac locationd process is using too much CPU or RAM

Since locationd is a macOS daemon that has been in use for a long time, it should no longer have any teething problems or cause permanent problems. However, under certain circumstances it is possible that locationd causes a high CPU load or maxes out the RAM. Then you can simply end it in the activity display. The parent daemon (launchd) automatically reactivates it when needed. If there are still problems, restart the Mac to reload the entire system.

If there are still problems caused by locationd, then this may be due to one of the apps that access it. If necessary, you will have to uninstall the app that you last installed before the problems occurred. If this solves the problem, then you should - if you absolutely need the app - write to the developer and ask whether there is a solution to the malfunction or whether this will be considered for the next update. If you're in a hurry, you can simply reinstall the software and see whether the hiccup in the location query has been resolved.

Note: Of course, this all applies to programs that require the location (map material, navigation, etc.). If an app asks for your location even though it doesn't actually need it, you should question the reasons and, if necessary, reconsider its use.

Summary: locationd is a standard macOS process

So the locationd background process is save hid Malware, but has long been a desired and essential part of the Mac operating system. It is used to determine the location of the Apple computer for the system as well as for individual processes, widgets and apps. The WiFi network, the IP address and Bluetooth can be used for this. In addition to everyday use, locationd is also for “Where is?“ useful and linked to the searchpartyd process.

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.