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How to Stop or Fix softwareupdated High CPU on Mac?

Updated on Friday, June 14, 2024

iBoysoft author Jenny Zeng

Written by

Jenny Zeng
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


Summary: This post explains what softwareupdated on Mac is and how to fix softwareupdated taking up high CPU or memory in Activity Monitor.

softwareupdated Mac

Opening Activity Monitor, you may find a process labeled softwareupdated exhibiting unusual behaviors, such as taking up high CPU, consuming a lot of memory, or not responding. This may get you to wonder what it is and how to stop it from using excessive resources so that your Mac will perform better. Read on to find the answers.

What is softwareupdated on Mac?

softwareupdated is a daemon responsible for running software updates on Mac, including macOS updates and application updates from the App Store. (Installd is another process related to updates on Mac, you may also encounter the macOS installd high CPU issue.) Like any other daemon, it silently checks for updates in the background without the user's attention. Depending on user settings, it may notify the user that new updates are available to download or install.

What is softwareupdated on Mac

You can find your software update preferences stored in the com.apple.softwareupdate.plist file, which can be accessed by opening Finder, selecting Go > Go to Folder, and searching for /library/preferences/com.apple.softwareupdate.plist.

locate com apple softwareupdate plist file

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How to fix softwareupdated high CPU in Activity Monitor?

softwareupdated high CPU or memory usage in Activity Monitor

When the softwareupdated process on Mac is checking, downloading, or installing software updates, it may take up high CPU or memory usage until it completes the job, which usually won't take long. However, if softwareupdated keeps consuming an abnormally high percentage of CPU or turning the memory pressure into red, it likely has issues that need to be resolved. When it crashes, it could also make the distnoted process go wild.

Here's how to fix softwareupdated high CPU or memory consumption in Activity Monitor:

  • Check Console logs
  • Restart your Mac
  • Disable VPN software
  • Kill softwareupdated temporarily
  • Update macOS and applications in App Store
  • Turn off automatic updates

Check Console logs

Looking at the softwareupdated process in Activity Monitor doesn't provide much useful information about what softwareupdated was doing or trying to do on your Mac. Nevertheless, you can find the needed information in the Console app, a built-in utility that delivers crash reports and live log messages of the running processes on your Mac.

  1. Open the Console app from the Applications > Utilities folder.
  2. Select "Log Reports" from the left side.
  3. Locate "install.log" and check entries related to the softwareupdated process.
    Check what process was using softwareupdated in Console

If you find certain entries repetitively showing up, you can uninstall or manually update the app to stop softwareupdated from eating up your CPU or memory.

Restart your Mac

Simply rebooting your Mac may also fix softwareupdated consuming high CPU on Mac, as it clears caches and terminates the process. It also seems rather efficient for resolving softwareupdated not responding in Activity Monitor. 

Disable VPN software

Some VPN software will initiate softwareupdated when it connects, resulting in high CPU usage coming and going. If you're using a VPN, try disabling it to test if the softwareupdated process releases resources.

Kill softwareupdated temporarily

To stop the softwareupdated process on Mac from consuming excessive CPU or memory, you can temporarily terminate it. Here's how to kill softwareupdated on Mac:

  1. Launch Activity Monitor.
  2. Put softwareupdated in the search box and hit Enter.
  3. Select softwareupdated and click the ( ⤬ ) button at the top.
    Kill softwareupdated
  4. Click Quit.

Update macOS and applications in App Store

If the softwareupdated process restarts with high resource usage, you can manually update your system or applications in the App Store to help softwareupdated end its tasks.

Turn off automatic updates

By default, your Mac will employ softwareupdated to automatically check, download, or install updates. However, you can avoid it from running by disabling settings concerning automatic updates, starting from your macOS updates, and then app updates in the App Store.

How to stop softwareupdated process from running on Mac:

On macOS Monterey or earlier:

  1. Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences.
  2. Select Software Update.
  3. Untick the checkbox stating, "Automatically keep my Mac up to date."
    Disable automatic updates in macOS Monterey or earlier
  4. Open the App Store.
  5. Click "App Store" available in the menu bar, and select "Preferences."
  6. Disable "Automatic Updates."

On macOS Ventura:

  1. Go to the Apple menu > System Settings.
  2. Click General > Software Update.
  3. Click the ℹ️ button next to "Automatic Updates."
    Disable automatic updates in macOS Ventura
  4. Disable all options.
  5. Open the App Store.
  6. Click "App Store" in the menu bar and select "Settings."
  7. Uncheck the box before "Automatic Updates."

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