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

Do you have with that Activity indicator If you took a look at the list of running processes under macOS on the Apple Mac, then you probably noticed the “launchd” process. This background process with the not so descriptive name is save Malware, but an essential part of the operating system. If you had to give the system processes a hierarchy, then launchd would actually be the most important. You can find out why this is the case here.

What is the launchd process on Apple Mac?

Let's first clarify what the name means. This is made up of “launch” for starten or Call and “d” as an abbreviation for Daemon together. A daemon is an automatically started and independently acting background process that is important for human-machine communication. More about it here: What is a daemon?

In fact, the launchd process is the very first daemon launched by the kernel. It ensures that the operating system is loaded and all the necessary background processes are loaded. This doesn't have to happen directly when you start the Mac or when you log into a user account, but can also happen at a scheduled time or be triggered by another event.

The launch daemon is responsible for the init process and for so-called cron jobs. If that doesn't mean anything to you, then that's no problem. Because here in the blog you will find an extensive article on the topics of scheduling for processes, Cron, Anacron, Systemd and Launchd. This not only shows the history of time planning on computers, but above all the development on the Mac: Process Scheduling – What are Cron, Anacron, Systemd and Launchd?

High CPU load due to launchd: what's going on?

A high CPU load or a maximum of the main memory (RAM) caused by launchd is a rarity. If the Mac slows down, the Beach Ball of Death appears or everything just works haltingly, another process is usually to blame. But if it is actually the launchd process, you can simply select it in the activity display and end it. Don't worry, this won't cause your Mac to crash. The process will restart immediately and should calm down with the reload. If it doesn't, the Mac restarts.

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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.