The “find” process in Mac OS X
You may notice an excessive amount of disk activity and high CPU utilization from a process called “find” that runs randomly in Mac OS X. This process has been a cause of concern by some users because of it’s behavior, but this is not spyware and the process should not cause worry. If you see the “find” process running you should let it run its course of operation.
What is the “find” process in Mac OS X?
The “find” process is run by user “nobody” and is a normal part of Mac OS X system maintenance, and according to Apple the process clears caches, updates system databases, and removes temporary files that are used by Mac OS X for a variety of functions.
When does “find” run?
You’ll usually see “find” running early in the morning, it’s scheduled to run at 3:15am daily, and then again on 4:30am Saturdays and 5:30am on the first day of a new month. If you leave your Mac running, you likely won’t encounter the process, however if you sleep your Mac, you may notice the process appear in the task manager or Activity Monitor upon the system waking. Sometimes you will the “find” process running concurrently with “makewhatis” and this is also normal.
Advanced: adjusting the periodic update schedule
You can read more about the maintenance schedule of Mac OS X by reading the man page for ‘periodic’, to do so, at the command line type the following:
You can also manually run ‘periodic’ which will run the maintenance scripts system wide or on a specified directory basis. Additionally, if you know what you are doing you can modify the periodic schedule by editing the periodic.conf file located at:
Editing the periodic schedule should only be considered by advanced users and systems administrators, and a backup of the periodic.conf file should be made prior to adjustment.