Friday, Aug 20, 2021, 18:14 Mac: Software

Fix: "Accountsd" Eating Up Performance On macOS Catalina

Every now and then a specific app or system process will make unusual demands on a computer's operating system – slowing the entire system down considerably. Unfortunately, Macs are not unaffected by this common nuisance. The cause is usually either a lack of space on the system or a specific application or process draining an exorbitant amount of the CPU's resources. The latter is the case with macOS Catalina 10.15.7, where the process "accountsd" is known to have caused problems for many users. 10.15.7 is the most recent version of macOS Catalina – so for those not wanting to make the update to macOS Big Sur 11 or the current beta build of macOS Monterey, this is the only way to fix the issue.

Daemon Runs Constantly In The Background
The "accountsd" process is a "daemon" – or an application process that runs constantly in the background. In macOS, this process is responsible for the management of user accounts in apps. The process enables countless other services and applications to be used without a repeated verification of the user's login ID and password and is also central to the "Accounts" framework, further explained in Apple's developer documentation.

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Self-Help Possible Under Certain Circumstances
Users running macOS 10.15.7 Catalina and not wanting to update to macOS Big Sur 11 to fix the problem can try to fix it themselves. There are several tips online concerning how to do so, however, the easiest solution is to enter the System Settings, log out of the current Apple ID, restart the computer, and log back in with the Apple ID. For many users, this alone is enough to remedy the issue, although some other users still notice no change. In certain isolated cases, users have also mentioned fixing the problem by resetting SMC or NVRAM.

Rebuilding File Indexes Can Help
Sometimes, the bug is caused by macOS' file indexing process – at least according to some users on Stack Exchange. According to these users, the "accountsd" process can be tamed by resetting the index. To do so, open the Spotlight settings in the System Preferences and click on the Privacy tab. After, click on the little '+' sign at the bottom left corner of the window and add Macintosh HD (or whichever hard drive or SSD your system is on) and then add it to the list. Afterwards, remove it, and the index will automatically be rebuilt. However, this process takes quite some time and slows down the system considerably and should thus only be performed when the Mac isn't being used for any kind of serious work.

System Interventions Should Be Treated With Caution
Other fixes that have been posted online should be applied very carefully, as many of them modify the system itself and encompass a greater risk.Some users have been able to calm "accountsd" down again, after changing the name of a file found in "~/Library/Accounts" called "Accounts4.sqlite" to "Accounts4.sqlite.textbackup". A user on Reddit has also posted a list of several terminal commands which can fix the issue. However, in some cases, these methods could cause more harm than good, especially if the wrong command is accidentally typed into the terminal. Thus, it's recommended for users to back up their system before attempting to apply these fixes.

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