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Question: Photos Agent is taking up all my CPU

A few days ago I noticed a process that is constantly running. It takes up a lot of my CPU and therefore my fan is running high after just opening Safari or doing some multitasking. My battery is at 60% after just an hour.

The Activitymonitor shows the Photos-Agent running all the time at around 90% CPU. At first I thought the photos app was just downloading a few photos and processing them. But this is going on for some days now and it's not getting better.


I attached screenshots from the Activitymonitor showing the process and its details.

It this a problem with the latest MacOS Update? I have around 5500 pictures in my photo library.


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MacBook Pro (13-inch Mid 2012), macOS High Sierra (10.13.2)

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Dec 12, 2017 2:50 AM in response to philipfromerlangen In response to philipfromerlangen

photosagent is the parent process for photoanalysisd and other processes, that are doing a lot of processing. Is photosanalysisd also running? The upgrade to High Sierra changed the algorithm for the object recognition and automatic classifications of photos into categories according to the scenes and objects in them. if you just upgraded to High Sierra, all photos will be currently classified again and and scanned for faces and objects.

If you just updated from macOS 10.13.1 to 10.13.2, the scan should already have happened and only your new photos need scanning. However, the handling of videos seems to have been changed. DO you have many videos in your library?

Dec 12, 2017 2:50 AM

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Dec 12, 2017 2:57 AM in response to léonie In response to léonie

Thanks for your answer.

I have 180 videos in my library. And the photoslibraryd process is running right now but at 0,1% CPU. Photos-Agent is the only process with heavy load.

I just got my new iPhone 8, new photos may take more time to process on my "old" mac, but I only took about 40 pictures this months. This should not take days.

Dec 12, 2017 2:57 AM

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Dec 12, 2017 4:30 AM in response to philipfromerlangen In response to philipfromerlangen

Are the videos from your new iPhone in HEVC format? See: Using HEIF or HEVC media on Apple devices - Apple Support

Since the iOS 11.2 update I noticed, that Photos will create for any HEVC video I import a cached video in H264 format, as I can see, when I browse the library in PowerPhotos.

The additional, larger copies are in the folder ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.MediaLibraryService/Data/Library/Caches/com.appl e.iLifeMediaBrowser.ILPhotosTranscodeCache/, with cryptic names like 0LsL0HuXSjqnFG7jOuqGLg.mov

So it seems, that Photos wants to ensure, that other applications can view the HEVC videos.

This conversion will also need a lot of processing power.

Dec 12, 2017 4:30 AM

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Dec 12, 2017 4:45 AM in response to léonie In response to léonie

The folder you mentioned is empty on my machine.

My old iPhone was an iPhone 6 and I haven't shot any videos with my new iPhone (except live photos?). So there should be no HEVC videos in my library. Also the process would then show up in the list with processes writing to my disk in the activity monitor, wouldn't it?

Dec 12, 2017 4:45 AM

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Dec 14, 2017 6:35 AM in response to philipfromerlangen In response to philipfromerlangen

Hallo Phil from Erlangen, I have the same problem. How can I see wether foots has transferred all pictures and videos to the new HEVC format? I have 25.000 pictures and 1750 People. Is it possible to stop the background operation for times of other high CPU work?

Dec 14, 2017 6:35 AM

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Dec 17, 2017 6:49 AM in response to vogelsgesang In response to vogelsgesang

I called the apple support and tried a few thing with them. None of them worked, the process is still running.


Stopping the process is probably only possible by deactivating photos completely in the iCloud settings. That's not an option for me as I often edit my photos on my mac and I want the photo library to be in sync.

I sent Apple some diagnostic data of my mac and they will look into it. They will give me some advises in the next days, hopefully they can find a solution.

Dec 17, 2017 6:49 AM

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Dec 17, 2017 11:46 PM in response to vogelsgesang In response to vogelsgesang

Ich antworte jetzt einfach mal auf Deutsch:

photoanalysisd ist der Prozess, der die Bilder analysiert und indexiert, damit zum Beispiel Objekte oder Gesichter gefunden werden können. Ich nehme an, dass das bei 25.000 Bildern einfach etwas dauert. Wenn das bei mir der gleiche Prozess gewesen wäre, hätte ich das auch darauf geschoben. Fotos-Agent macht aber irgendwas anderes, das konnte mir aber bis jetzt auch niemand sagen. Ich habe vom Support noch eine Rückmeldung zu meinem Logs ausstehen, vielleicht hilft die Lösung von denen auch in diesem Fall.

Dec 17, 2017 11:46 PM

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Dec 18, 2017 1:07 AM in response to philipfromerlangen In response to philipfromerlangen

Danke auch auf Deutsch!

Ich kämpfe schon seit Sept 17 also seit Installation des High Sierra damit. Wirklich ätzend wenn die CPU ständig mit 25-50% von photoanalysisd blockiert wird.Habe schon alle Jahre meiner Fotos durchgeschaut welche Personen noch nicht erkannt/benannt sind. Bin allerdings erst bis 2012 gekommen. Trotzdem habe ich nicht den Eindruck, dass die Suche nach Verknüpfungen weniger geworden sei. Auf dem Bild "Personen" sehe ich auch nicht wieviele Personen schon erfasst bzw. nicht erfasst sind. Ich sehe nur die Gesamtzahl von 1756.

Was ich auch schlecht finde ist, dass die Personen nicht nach Alphabet sortiert werden können.

Danke für die Unterstützng

Dec 18, 2017 1:07 AM

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Dec 18, 2017 2:13 AM in response to vogelsgesang In response to vogelsgesang

Das Problem mit der Prozessorauslastung habe ich auch, das kann ich gut verstehen.

Bei mir geht es ja wenigstens erst seit 2 Wochen so, keine Monate. Da würde ich aber auch mal beim Apple Support anrufen. Selbst bei sehr vielen Bildern kann sowas ja eigentlich nicht über Monate laufen.

Dec 18, 2017 2:13 AM

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Dec 18, 2017 8:23 AM in response to philipfromerlangen In response to philipfromerlangen

Besonders aufwendig ist die Analyse der Videos. Die Analyse ist bei mir einmal hängengeblieben, als ich ein Video in der Mediathek hatte, das nicht verarbeitet werden konnte. Nachdem ich das erste Video, in dem kein Gesicht gefunden worden war, aus der Mediathek entfernt habe, ging es mit einem Mal deutlich schneller voran.

Dec 18, 2017 8:23 AM

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Jan 3, 2018 1:30 PM in response to philipfromerlangen In response to philipfromerlangen

I've got the same issue - just added about 7800 pictures and several videos to the library AND updated to High Sierra shortly after. User uploaded file

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And at the same time, the upload to iCloud has stalled since two days

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I my case, no persons have been identified so far, so it would be tough to say, which video might be the culprit...

Any suggestions? If not, I will call Apple support tomorrow.

(Antworten auf Deutsch sind auch völlig ok!)User uploaded file

Jan 3, 2018 1:30 PM

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Jan 3, 2018 11:31 PM in response to zippietwo In response to zippietwo

Short update: After another night now the first people have been identified and moments are available. So progress is there, but does this truly require 22 hrs of CPU time for photolibraryd and 16.5 hrs for Photos Agent? Will let is run some more, but still no further uploads to iCloud...

Jan 3, 2018 11:31 PM

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Question: Photos Agent is taking up all my CPU