Resolving systemstats CPU Usage Issues Causing Sluggishness in OS X

Feb 27, 2014 - 4 Comments

systemstats process going wild on a Mac

The systemstats process is used to retrieve information about system statistics and power usage, and though it usually runs unnoticed in the background, the systemstatsd and systemstats processes have been known to randomly go haywire in OS X, eating up 100%-300% or more CPU while slowing down a Mac.

Generally, there’s nothing to concern yourself with if you see systemstats spike up Activity Monitor or top for a short amount of time, and many standard Mac functions may cause it to temporarily appear. For example, the systemstats process is triggered on the MacBook line by looking at the Energy usage option from the OS X battery menu, and other users may see it briefly when adjusting other Energy settings. The problem arrises when the process is running constantly at very high CPU usage for no apparent reason, and that’s what we’re going to address here.

Killing the Errant systemstats Process

Simply killing the systemstats process works to resolve the CPU usage and slowness problem for almost all occurrences in OS X.

Terminal: For those who like using the Terminal for it’s speed, conquering the gone-wild systemstats process is just a matter of dumping out the killall command:

sudo killall systemstats

sudo is necessary because the systemstats process runs as root.

Activity Monitor: Many users will prefer to stay within the OS X GUI, and Activity Monitor also offers the ability to forcibly quit the process as well:

  1. Open Activity Monitor, use the “Search” feature to look for ‘systemstats’
  2. Select the errant systemstats process and choose the (x) button to force quit
  3. Repeat if there is more than one process running taking up inordinate amounts of CPU

This should immediately solve the problem, though if you’re continuously trying to access battery or system usage then you will see the process appear again.

If you continue to encounter the issue, resetting the SMC may resolve lingering problems.

Additionally, disabling App Nap may also resolve remnant and spontaneous problems with systemstats if they only occur upon system wake or boot.

Disabling systemstats

This is not recommended and it may have unintended consequences beyond disabling property battery and power management monitoring, including the App Nap feature, but you can disable systemstats but unloading the daemon from launchd. This should be limited to advanced users only:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

Note this will also lead to an end of all the ‘powerstats’ reports from appearing further in Console System Diagnostic Reports.

Again, disabling systemstats is not recommended. Those changes can be reversed by reloading the daemon back into launchd with the following three commands:

sudo launchctl load -F /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

sudo launchctl load -F /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

sudo launchctl load -F /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

You’ll want to reboot the Mac for full changes to take effect, in either case.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Troubleshooting


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Sam says:

    I did happen to solve for this; in my iMac, the power settings were ‘never’ try to sleep the hard drive. Turn that down, problem disappeared completely. Looks like the number of faults reported on the process were excessive when that setting was ‘never’ A bug.

  2. PaWell says:

    Problem with high cpu usage magically solved.
    I’ve found that problem always ocurrs after my Powerbook2_9 with Maverick goes sleep. I’ve tried several options… and the last was installation of memory cleaner (from appstroe – it’s for free) from appstore. I did it “incidentially” … After cleaning memory CPU usage drops down till next sleeep. :).

  3. joel says:

    This issue does exist for me and I am running 10.9.2. Periodically killing systemstats is the only solution I am aware of.

  4. x_hause says:

    For me – this problem is gone after update to 10.9.2

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