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

When looking into the Activity indicator of macOS on the Apple Mac have you noticed the secd process? And now you want to know what this background process is all about? Well, then you've come to the right place. In this article I will show you what purpose secd serves and what you can do if the process maxes out the CPU. The good news first: it works not um malicious software.

The secd process on the Mac: managing the keychain

The secd process is a macOSDaemon, which is used as the central administration of the key ring. It controls access to stored login data as well as their adjustment (e.g. changing the account name, email address or password). Developers who want to enable keychain login in their apps must regulate this on the Apple Mac via communication with the secd process. Since it is an essential part of the operating system, this process will automatically restart if you end it via Activity Monitor.

Mac problem: secd uses 100% CPU or maxes out RAM

Actually, secd shouldn't cause any problems. However, due to a bug, a high CPU and/or RAM load can occur when using the Mac, especially after an incorrect operating system update. As mentioned above, you can then end the process via the Activity Monitor so that it restarts. However, that is no guarantee that it will then run error-free again.

Another approach is to shut down the Mac completely (i.e. turn it off completely instead of just putting it to sleep) and then turn it on again. Restarting the Mac will reload all daemons and other processes. This can lead to previously existing problems being solved. In addition to the secd process, there are of course dozens of others that can cause the software hiccups.

If neither restarting the process nor restarting the entire system helps, then you can pursue another solution. This consists of deleting the Keychain folders on the Macintosh HD. Before doing so, you should synchronize your password keychain with iCloud and/or note your logins separately. Because by deleting the keychain folders, login data can be lost (but does not have to be). You can find the folders with names consisting of letter and number combinations in ~/Library/Keychains.

If none of this helps, restore the backup of the previous system status or wait for a macOS update with a bug fix for the keychain.

Conclusion: secd as an essential part of the Mac operating system

In summary, the daemon described here is an important part of macOS. Without it, you would have to manually enter the login details for websites, apps and other content again and again. Or you would have to rely on the storage functions of third-party apps, e.g. E.g. web browser. If secd has problems, there are several possible solutions. By the way, this doesn't have much to do with the parsecd process, as it manages data access for Siri, Spotlight and Safari suggestions as well as other search results. It only appears in the screenshot above because its name also corresponds to the search query “secd”.

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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.