How to Fix Your Mac’s “kernel_task” High CPU Usage Bug

It is by no means enjoyable when your pc begins working slowly, however it’s even worse when you possibly can’t work out why it is so gradual. In case you’ve shut down all of the packages you possibly can, and all the things in your Mac nonetheless feels prefer it’s transferring by way of molasses, this might be an indication of the dreaded kernel_task inflicting excessive CPU utilization.

In your Mac, kernel_task is the identify given to a wide range of low-level capabilities that enable the remainder of your pc to work. Because of this determining the offender may be robust.

We have seen this lots, so we have a handful of suggestions that will help you do away with this downside.

Diagnosing a Sluggish Mac

In case your Mac seems to be working slowly, is producing plenty of warmth, or sounds prefer it’s about to take off as a consequence of excessive fan speeds, then you definately’ll need to open Exercise Monitor and discover out why. That is basically macOS’s equal to the Home windows Process Supervisor.

You possibly can open Exercise Monitor utilizing Highlight: simply hit Cmd + Area then begin typing “exercise” and it ought to pop up. You can even discover it below Functions > Utilities, and also you would possibly need to pin it to your Dock for even faster entry while you run into main points.

Activity Monitor on Mac showing CPU tab

The rationale to your gradual pc needs to be evident from the CPU tab. Simply click on the % CPU column header to prepare working processes by processor utilization. Something utilizing a excessive quantity of processing energy will seem on the prime; these will transfer round as your pc performs numerous duties within the background.


Excessive CPU utilization is mostly solely an issue while you’re not anticipating it. It is cheap to anticipate your machine to chew up assets should you’re working a sport, watching a video in your browser, or enhancing a video. If a single Safari tab or Mac course of is utilizing greater than its justifiable share, that sometimes means one thing’s gone improper.

Why Is kernel_task the Offender?

You possibly can kill most processes by clicking on them, then clicking on the X within the top-left nook of the display screen. Sadly, you possibly can’t do that for one specific course of: kernel_task. The rationale for that is that kernel_task is definitely part of macOS.

kernel_task process on mac

See, the kernel_task on Mac isn’t a lot a single course of, however really a collection of processes below one label. When you’re working, macOS does all kinds of duties within the background. These embody sending and receiving knowledge over the community, writing and studying knowledge to the disk, and indexing new folders or disks for Highlight search.

This course of will typically use plenty of your out there RAM on the Reminiscence tab, however that is a lot much less of a fear. The quantity of RAM in use will rise and fall as required. Excessive CPU utilization, nevertheless, can carry your entire system to a grinding halt, and even outcome within the occasional full system crash.

So, how do you cease the kernel_task from negatively affecting your Mac’s efficiency?

1. Easy Options for kernel_task Points

In lots of instances, a easy restart of your Mac will clear up the issue instantly. This is not a everlasting, long-term answer should you’ve been having this concern for some time, although. It is solely a short-term repair that ought to present quick outcomes.

Reset the SMC

No matter is inflicting the important spike in CPU utilization could return. So, should you’ve been having repeat incidents, you would possibly need to strive resetting your system administration controller (SMC) too. That is straightforward to do and may repair all kinds of macOS points.

Directions for resetting the SMC fluctuate barely relying on what mannequin of Mac you have got. As a result of it could actually repair so many points, we now have a full information detailing methods to reset your Mac’s SMC. It additionally covers resetting your PRAM, one other a part of a Mac that may trigger a number of points.

Cease Idle Processes

One other easy hack is to do away with all of the idle processes which might be consuming up your reminiscence assets. On the Exercise Monitor, head to the Reminiscence tab, choose any course of you’d wish to do away with after which click on on Give up. You will then get requested to verify if you wish to cease the method. Proceed by clicking on Give up once more.

terminating processes in MacOS

2. Different Options for Fixing kernel_task Excessive CPU Utilization

Maybe the obvious repair for any OS-related points is to replace to the newest model of macOS. Merely launch System Preferences, click on Software program Replace, and run any excellent Apple software program updates.

mac system preferences

One other widespread explanation for excessive CPU utilization by the kernel_task course of is Adobe Flash. The times when Flash was important for shopping the online, are lengthy gone, however you should still want it for a particular internet app or web site.

As an alternative of conserving Flash put in, you need to use a browser like Google Chrome, which offers Flash (albeit optionally). Almost certainly, you do not want Flash in any respect, so it is protected to take away. Furthermore, since Adobe hasn’t supported Flash since 31 December 2020, you will not be getting essential safety updates.

It is essential that you simply take away it—no less than for safety causes. To take away Flash, run the Adobe Flash Participant Set up Supervisor and click on Uninstall.

3. Digging a Little Deeper Into Mac’s Excessive kernel_task CPU Utilization

Some folks have had success in eradicating kernel extensions, that are modules of code in a position to carry out low-level duties. Also called “kexts,” the overwhelming majority of those extensions are put in by Apple as a part of the core macOS atmosphere. Some software program will set up third-party extensions as drivers, or for controlling {hardware}.

One fast method to examine if a third-party kext is inflicting your kernel_task points is to reboot your machine into Protected Mode. To do that, restart your machine and maintain the Shift key because it boots. Protected Mode hundreds solely the required kernel extensions, so if the issue does not happen on this atmosphere, it factors to a problem with a third-party kext.

To dive into this, reboot your system as regular and launch Terminal. Then, run the next command:


It will present what kernel extensions are at present loaded. All Apple extensions will appear like:[etc]

In the meantime, third-party drivers may have the developer identify in them, like this:


And in addition like this one:


One of the best ways to take away these, is to uninstall the related software program. For some apps, that merely means transferring the applying file to the Trash, then inputting your admin password to permit the change.

Others could embody a PKG uninstaller file it is advisable to run. For the remaining, head to System Preferences and search for any third-party choice panes.

Beginning with OS X El Capitan, Apple launched a brand new safety characteristic that broke quite a few third-party modifications. System Integrity Safety, or SIP for brief, stops apps from injecting code into Apple’s personal apps, in addition to writing to sure elements of the drive that Apple deems necessary to system safety.

This leads to higher system stability, so you must see this concern much less typically in fashionable variations of macOS.

Nonetheless Have Excessive CPU Utilization? What to Do When All Else Fails

The ultimate answer here’s a little bit of a dangerous one: eradicating Apple’s personal kernel extensions. Doing this isn’t beneficial. Nonetheless, should you’ve tried all the things else and are nonetheless seeing kernel_task inflicting excessive CPU utilization, it is a answer it’s possible you’ll need to strive.

Developer and blogger Viktor Petersson has written extensively about kernel_task and the problems round it. In his case, it was possible attributable to a dodgy sound card. Petersson’s preliminary submit centered on Mac OS X Yosemite, although he later adopted it up with updates for later variations of macOS.

Now we have not examined this repair and may’t say whether or not it’ll give you the results you want. In case you’re concerned about giving it a go, this is what you will must do:

  1. Create a backup of your Mac utilizing Time Machine or one other backup answer.
  2. Flip off System Integrity Safety by booting into Restoration mode and working the next command from Terminal:
    csrutil disable
  3. Comply with Viktor’s method. Begin by discovering your Mac’s mannequin utilizing the command:
    system_profiler -detailLevel mini | grep "Mannequin Identifier:"
  4. Run the next command:
    cd /System/Library/Extensions/IOPlatformPluginFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/ACPI_SMC_PlatformPlugin.kext/Contents/Sources
  5. Transfer and again up the file related to your mannequin. For instance, in case your identifier is MacBookPro8,2 you’ll run:
    sudo mv MacBookPro8_2.plist MacBookPro8_2.bak
  6. Reboot into Restoration mode and allow System Integrity Safety once more utilizing the command:
    csrutil allow

Once more, it is a last-resort repair. Try it provided that you are struggling to get something completed as a consequence of kernel_task rendering your Mac unusable. This is not a short-term answer—it persists even after reinstalling your working system.

Even so, you will additionally must repeat this course of after each main software program replace or working system improve, as Apple will restore the file you moved.

Fixing the Mac kernel_task Bug Drawback

Typically, upgrading to a brand new model of macOS brings new options and capabilities, however it could actually additionally introduce bugs. That is very true on older fashions of {hardware} which might be beginning to push the bounds.

However, should you began seeing points with kernel_task in your Mac solely after an replace, that might be the offender. Hopefully, one among these methods helped you resolve the problem and enhance your Mac’s efficiency.


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