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

With a look into the Activity indicator of the Apple Mac you have, among other things: spotted the coreaudiod process and are now wondering what the process is all about? Then you've come to the right place. In the following I will explain to you what the macOS coreaudiod background process does, what the name is made up of, what you can do when the CPU load is high, and so on. So you know exactly what's going on here.

The coreaudiod process on the Mac: daemon for audio tasks

The good news right at the beginning: it is not about malware. The coreaudiod process is a daemon that deals with the core tasks of audio control on the Mac. This is clear from the name, which is made up of “Core” for kernel, “Audio” and “d” for daemon. You can find out more about the latter term here: What is a daemon?

On the Mac, the background process shown, which is started automatically by the system and takes care of its tasks independently, takes care of handling all audio. From simple playback of audio and video files, streams and their processing, recording and editing of audio, compression and decompression, MIDI and other audio tasks are controlled by coreaudiod. This means you can use audio interfaces, make edits and simply listen to music.

Why does coreaudiod use the network?

The coreaudiod daemon is mainly used for local audio processing. However, if you use tools to monitor network activity, this process may also appear. But don't worry, this isn't about being listened to or anything like that. Rather, this audio network access has to do with AirPlay. So if you stream audio or video wirelessly - for example on the Apple TV - then coreaudiod of course has to use the appropriate wireless technology and thus the network.

Mac problem: coreaudiod causes high CPU load

In most cases, macOS daemons run without problems and do not cause excessive CPU load or take up large amounts of RAM. However, certain errors and bugs can still cause one or another process to go out of order. There are various possible solutions for high CPU usage caused by the coreaudiod process.

On the one hand, you can end the process in the activity display and restart it automatically. If that doesn't help, restart the Mac. If problems still occur, the most recently added or used audio app or an audio system tool could be to blame for the large resource usage. Closes or uninstalls the app. If everything is okay, write to the developers and ask for an update.

Otherwise, as can be found here and there as a reason, it may be due to the (sudden) absence of the /Library/Preferences/Audio directory. If you can't find an audio folder in /Library/Preferences, you can create it yourself. That should, one Post in the LunaTNT blog from May 2023, can be easily implemented using two commands in the terminal. You confirm each of these with the Enter key:

First this one:

sudo mkdir /Library/Preferences/Audio

Then this one:

sudo chown -R _coreaudiod:admin /Library/Preferences/Audio

Instead of creating a new one, you can also restore the folder from a Time Machine backup. This also brings back certain audio settings that may have been lost when the folder disappeared. By the way, the disappearance in question could occur due to a macOS update or other updates. It's a bug, but one that shouldn't be fixed too often.

Conclusion: the coreaudiod process controls audio on the Apple Mac

In summary, it can be said that the coreaudiod process is an essential daemon of macOS. From simply listening to music to streaming podcasts and movies to creating music using MIDI tools, everything runs through this background process. So it is another daemon that serves as an extremely important interface between humans and machines. And that's why it's a good thing if you see him in Activity Monitor.

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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.