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parentalcontrolsd CPU/RAM Usage

Posted: 4/22/16 at 9:02 AM by careybell

Hello all, I have ~150 Macs all bound through our AD, and also configured using Profile Manager. I don’t have anything out of the ordinary configured (Software Update, Munki URL, Screen Saver/Screen Lock) through profile manager, but I have several users with the parentalcontrolsd process either spiking their CPUs constantly, or in a couple cases, using ~6 GB RAM.

Anyone seen this issue or hopefully have a fix? Thanks so much in advance,

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Posted: 4/22/16 at 9:05 AM by james179

We actually have been experiencing this issue recently where a reboot would resolve this issue temporarily but then come up again after a few days.

What seems to fix this for us was to apply Energy Saver settings to not allow computers / hard drive to sleep.

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Posted: 4/22/16 at 1:10 PM by careybell

not allow computers / hard drive to sleep

Thanks for the reply. Are you saying to not allow the computer and HDD to sleep?

Any idea what the root cause is? Feel like there are to few users for this to be a bug, maybe something we are doing wrong.

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Posted: 4/22/16 at 1:26 PM by james179

I've tested this with an out of the box Mac with just the OS (10.11.1) and a config profile with restriction payload settings applied and bound to AD. I noticed after waking the computer from sleep the memory usage would increase little by little each time and would also cause the CPU to spike and eventually become unusable after a few days.

I've also had 2 other test Macs running at the same time with the same config profile except with the Energy Saver settings listed above and they did not experience this issue. It took around 3-4 days to start seeing the issue occur.

Posted: 4/22/16 at 2:36 PM by AVmcclint

I've been seeing this same problem for months but I have no explanation for it. The weird thing is it only seems to happen on a couple Macs, but it is always the parentalcontrolsd process. Users who report it say restarting their computer seems to make it stop... until the next time it happens. Unfortunately We need to set energy settings to let the computers sleep.

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Posted: 4/22/16 at 4:57 PM by bentoms

Someone mentioned on Slack that Apple have seen this & are working on a fix.

Please log bugs with Apple so they know it's affecting you.

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Posted: 4/27/16 at 9:05 AM by james179

@AVmcclint I think the reason you're only seeing this on a few devices may be because either the Macs are not constantly on or they're not reporting the issue. We originally thought it was only a few Macs experiencing this, but we're getting more and more reports of this issue occurring.

Posted: 4/27/16 at 4:09 PM by merps

Posted this in another thread just now also, but our fix has been to turn off parental controls.

launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

Once we run that via policy it hasn't been reported again as an issue.

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Posted: 5/14/16 at 3:59 PM by owen.pragel

This is related to all instances of under /Library/Managed Preferences/. I've taken a look and all affected machines have parental controls explicitly disabled - if the setting is unenforced, parentalcontrolsd does not exhibit high cpu usage.

Guessing this is being distributed by Security & Privacy or Login Window (or Restrictions) payloads.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

I don't recommend this but it can be used as a temporary fix of sorts.

Posted: 8/10/16 at 8:11 AM by nycnewman

Any further information on this issue as one of our devs is seeing the same problem?

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Posted: 8/15/16 at 1:28 AM by plawrence

@nycnewman I've seen much better performance since upgrading to 10.11.6, can anyone else confirm?

Posted: 8/16/16 at 7:25 AM by nycnewman

My user is on 10.11.6 and still seeing issues. No longer with Parental Controls process but others. Only occurs when machine goes into Sleep mode.

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Posted: 8/16/16 at 7:44 PM by plawrence

@nycnewman What other processes are you seeing? What model hardware is the problem occurring on?

Posted: 8/16/16 at 8:39 PM by nycnewman

no longer parentalcontrolsd. now socketfilterfw, kernel_task (catch all), and accountsd

Mac Pro Mid 2015 15inch running 10.11.6

On support's request we enabled a policy that disabed parentcontrolsd

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Posted: 8/17/16 at 6:34 PM by jason.prairie

Wondering if anyone on this thread has an Apple Radar ID for reference on this behavior?

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Posted: 8/22/16 at 6:07 AM by bentoms

FWIW, saw this today.

I combined some payloads for the customer, as per this, & after a reboot things seem to be resolved.

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Posted: 9/27/16 at 12:21 PM by mbezzo

I'm seeing this too - even on Sierra. Would love a Radar ID or any tips people have found that does the trick


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Posted: 9/28/16 at 4:52 AM by Key1

@mbezzo I followed bentoms article which did the trick.

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Posted: 12/7/16 at 8:37 AM by james179

@bentoms Hey Ben, we've tried that method as well and confirmed the issue still occurs after some time. It takes sometimes 2-3 weeks to build up and start spiking. A reboot will temporarily fix it until it starts building up again. It's difficult to test a solution for this since it takes time to see if it starts building up again. Some of our users restart their Macs regularly or do not have their Macs go to sleep often (this is when it seem to build up), so they don't notice this as much.

Posted: 2/6/17 at 9:08 AM by Yaneev

We are seeing this in our environment on machines running 10.12.2, restart is a temp mitigation but it builds back up after a few days.. anyone been able to resolve this?

Posted: 2/6/17 at 10:17 AM by DylanMurphy

Still an issue in 10.12.3! I really hope this can be fixed. It only seems to be effecting select computers at this point, it would be nice to know the cause of this.

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Posted: 2/10/17 at 7:40 AM by asims9

Followed @bentoms article, found the items mentioned and created new profiles but issue is still present. Only select computers as well.

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Posted: 2/17/17 at 11:19 AM by jhalvorson

I checked with AppleCare Support today. The response was, known and test 10.12.4 beta to see if it's resolved.

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Posted: 2/21/17 at 8:14 AM by MadPossum

I've tested with 5 machines that exhibit the parentalcontrolsd CPU churning issue under 10.12.4 beta and 3 of the four continued to exhibit the behavior. The other two are VM's and I'm going to let them run for a while. I suspect that after some period of time I'll see them ramp up CPU usage as well. I'm filing a bug report with Apple this morning against the beta.

Posted: 2/25/17 at 1:26 AM by dmac87

Multiple users are reporting the issue in my environment. I've also been experiencing it on my 13" retina MBP. Hopefully 10.12.4 alleviates this issue.

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Posted: 4/19/17 at 12:53 PM by DREW1990


How are you able to run that command when SIPs is enabled? Or, do you have it disabled in your environment?

Posted: 5/4/17 at 2:00 PM by ocapetillo

Does anyone have any successful experience running the command below in Sierra 10.12.4 with SIPs enabled? I used to run said command successfully prior to 10.12.4 but it no longer works. I also have end users where parentalcontrolsd is running the CPU hot even with Parental Controls disabled, including the Guest account.

launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

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Posted: 5/4/17 at 2:33 PM by owen.pragel

This is jank, but it will work (until the next reboot).

pkill -STOP parentalcontrolsd

Posted: 5/4/17 at 4:09 PM by ocapetillo

@ owen.pragel

I'll give it a shot and will post back results.

Posted: 5/11/17 at 7:04 AM by Mac365

Hi, I'am running on macOS 10.12.4 and still have issue with parentalcontrolsd.

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Posted: 5/12/17 at 9:49 AM by tanderson

I'm seeing this as well. Have an open case with Apple and will be submitting some logs/information today. Running 10.12.4, no AD.

Posted: 5/15/17 at 2:12 PM by ocapetillo

Unfortunately, I'm still experiencing issues with parentalcontrolsd running hot. Again this is on 10.12.4, no AD and I've used the following scripts with no success.

Script 1 (this worked before 10.12.4):

launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

Script 2 (no success):


pkill -STOP parentalcontrolsd

@tanderson Please let me know if you receive any updates with your Apple ticket.

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Posted: 5/16/17 at 1:17 PM by canopimp

I am experiencing this as well. Just noticed it today on my machine. I am bound to AD on 10.12.4. Thinking about upgrading to 10.12.5 to see if it gets fixed.

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Posted: 5/16/17 at 1:49 PM by tanderson

Upgraded to 10.12.5 last night and while it's way too soon to say for sure I haven't seen the issue yet today. We'll see.

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Posted: 5/17/17 at 1:52 AM by owen.pragel

@ocapetillo Even after running

sudo pkill -STOP parentalcontrolsd

you are seeing high CPU usage from the process? Halting the process won't persist through reboots, so if you want to use that technique you'll have to do the needful to ensure it runs when appropriate.

Never said it was pretty. This issue is clearly the result of a bug in macOS from what I understand - see ActivityTracker appDidLaunchOrBecomeFront.

Posted: 5/17/17 at 9:40 AM by ocapetillo


I'm running "sudo pkill -STOP parentalcontrolsd" as a script that triggers at Jamf inventory check-in, user login, start up & network state change via a Jamf policy. That way even after a reboot, the script / policy triggers again. However my end users are still reporting that parentalcontrolsd is still running CPU resources high. I'll need to reconfirm this myself as I just pushed this policy / script two days ago.

I used to be able to run "launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/" as a script prior to 10.12.4, using the same Jamf parameters mentioned above, and it worked flawlessly. Unfortunately this script stopped working when upgrading to 10.12.4 and I believe this is a result of SIP.

I have NOT tried disabling SIP and launching any of the above scripts but it might be my next step if I can't figure it out with it enabled.

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Posted: 5/21/17 at 12:54 PM by tanderson

Just to follow up on my post from 5/17/17. The issue still exists in 10.12.5. It took several days but the high CPU usage has returned.

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Posted: 6/19/17 at 9:03 AM by canopimp

Going to chime in and say this is till happening on my machine as well with 10.12.5. Anyone found a viable fix?

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Posted: 6/20/17 at 6:30 PM by Gonzalez

We have a few 10.12.5 systems with this problem and an open case with Apple Care. Does anyone have a method to reproduce the problem consistently?

Posted: 6/29/17 at 1:55 PM by ncottle

Just piping in to get updates on this thread. Have a user with the same issue.

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Posted: 7/11/17 at 6:29 AM by martin

I've heard of this issue but not experienced it myself. I've asked the users to create a sysdiagnose and reported it to Apple (Radar #33231868). Maybe it's a duplicate, maybe not, lets see!

Posted: 7/20/17 at 1:03 PM by jmig

I have one reported user (our Dean, because of course it would be the Dean) with this issue, a MBP 2016 bound to AD. For good measure, I've wiped the drive and installed 10.12.6 – here's hoping?

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Posted: 7/25/17 at 12:41 PM by Gonzalez

Just a follow up, a fellow JAMF admin posted in that gathering app usage information was handled by parentalcontrolsd. In our case, we were collecting plug-in information enabled in Computer Inventory Collection. I've turned off that configuration and users with this problem have seen a great deal of improvement. parentalcontrolsd still runs on their system but no longer consumes high CPU resources. As with others our Macs were also AD bound. So this may not address all issues listed here.

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Posted: 7/25/17 at 2:03 PM by martin

@Gonzalez, that is interesting! Have you reported this to Jamf Support maybe? Maybe they can investigate and file a Product Issue.

I've got feedback from Apple as well. The reported that the bug is a duplicate of #31942767 of therefor closed the case.

We've created the following script that will solved the issue (temporarily):

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# Reset Parental Controls
# Temp fix for macOS with high CPU on parentalcontrolsd

# Delete Settings
rm -fr "/Library/Application Support/Apple/ParentalControls"

# Kill proces
pkill -9 parentalcontrolsd
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Posted: 7/26/17 at 7:10 AM by martin

Our temporarily fix will not solve the issue. We now have unchecked "Collect Plug-ins" from Computer Inventory Collection to see if this might solve the issue.

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Posted: 7/26/17 at 12:07 PM by Gonzalez

@martin Yes, I have an open case with Jamf. And I still have an open case with Enterprise AppleCare hoping to get some final resolution once Jamf comes back with an appropriate response. Others have suggested not collecting any of the software usage stats. If you collect anything in the Software configuration panel from the Computer Inventory Collection, you may need to disable.

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Posted: 7/27/17 at 10:01 AM by martin

Hi @Gonzalez,

We have seen this in two environments. One has "Collect Application Usage Information" turned on and the other has it turned off. So it seems that this option doesn't make a difference.

  • Martin

Posted: 8/1/17 at 7:10 PM by jamescchh

Also seeing this on 10.12.6.

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Posted: 8/10/17 at 8:38 AM by bizzaredm

@jamescchh Seeing this on 10.2.5 .. updating to 10.12.6 later today to see what happens. I can watch the memory usage go up over time. It will max out at 15 or so gb out of 16

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Posted: 8/11/17 at 4:30 AM by martin

@jamescchh, @bizzaredm,

Could you let us know if you have "Collect Application Usage Information" and/or "Collect Plug-ins" turn on?


Posted: 8/21/17 at 1:58 PM by psanderson

Having this issue in 10.12.6. 39.5GB of memory being used by parentalcontrolsd. Wondered why my laptop was being whiny. Killing the process seems to have provided temporary relief.