What Is Photoanalysisd? How to Stop it?

What Is Photoanalysisd

Apple implemented the Photoanalysisd software on the macOS Sierra back in 2016. And ever since its introduction, this program has been the subject of much discussion and controversy. But what is Photoanalysisd?

Apple’s Photoanalysisd is a system-integrated, facial and object recognition software. The program runs in the background and analyzes all the photos in your device’s library, which helps in facial detection features. But the process takes up 50 to 80% of the CPU, making your device slow.

This high CPU usage can be a source of frustration for many users as it hampers other work. So, in this article, we are going to go over the ways you can prevent this software from running in the background.

What Is Photoanalysisd on a Mac?

Apple has several proprietary software for its devices and platforms. The iMessage and Overcast for iOS and tweetbot for the macOS are some notable examples. Photoanalysisd is another one of Apple’s patented programs. The software was introduced by Apple back in 2016 for the macOS version Sierra, which is the 13th major version of the platform.

Photoanalysisd works in the background of your Macbooks and iMacs. The program analyzes each and every photo in your computer’s library for facial and object recognition. The process stops once the program goes through all the photos. 

So, every time you add a new photo to the library, the program starts again to analyze that photo. This also happens when you import a photo library from a previous version of macOS. The app runs in the background and does not need your permission to do its job. So, this program starts automatically every time it detects a new photo. 

The software helps with facial detection features on your device. Once Photoanalysisd checks all the photos, you will be able to view and edit them with much more efficiency and many features. 

Should You Disable Photoanalysisd?

The problem with Photoanalysisd is that it is a CPU-intensive program. This one software alone can occupy up to 80% of your computer’s CPU. And since it runs in the background, many first time users do not even notice the app’s activity. So, they become surprised when their computer runs significantly slower than it did before. 

The way to check if this program is running in the background is by opening the Activity Monitor on the computer. If Photoanalysisd is currently active, then it will show that it is taking up 50 to 80% of the total CPU. This will invariably hamper other activities and programs. 

And this problem intensifies if you happen to have a large photo library. The larger the library is, the longer it will take. In fact, the software can take 1-2 days to complete the process. And during that time, it will continue to use most of your CPU’s capacity.

Now, for a better overall experience, you should allow Photoanalysisd to do its job. But let’s say you have an extensive photo collection, which will take days to analyze. But you need to perform another CPU-intensive task such as 4k video editing or 3D modeling at that same time. In such scenarios, it is best to disable Photoanalysisd.

How to Disable Photoanalysisd on a Mac?

So, let’s say you are in a situation that necessitates you disable Photoanalysisd on your Mac. Here is how you can do it:

Run Photos

This is probably the safest and easiest way to temporarily stop Photoanalysisd. This app is designed to check all the images in your library. But if you have the Photos app running, the Photoanalysisd app will halt. When you edit or browse your gallery with the Photos app, it should temporarily pause Photoanalysisd.

Use Terminal

A more permanent method is to use the Terminal app. Follow these steps:

  • Launch the Terminal app.
  • Disable the GUI interface first. To do so, enter the following command-

launchctl disable gui/$UID/com.apple.photoanalysisd && launchctl kill -TERM gui/$UID/com.apple.photoanalysisd

  • Now, you can disable the actual app. To do so, use the following code –

    launchctl unload -w/System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.photoanalysisd.plist

This should stop Photoanalysisd from running in the background. To reactivate the software, you would need to enter a different command via the Terminal app. 

How to Reactivate Photoanalysisd

Photoanalysisd was designed to improve user experience and offer various features. So, completely removing it or preventing it from doing its work forever is not ideal. So, once you are done with your other work, you should reactivate it and let it perform its duty. In order to reactivate Photoanalysisd, follow these steps:

  • Launch the Terminal app.
  • Enter the following code –

    launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.photoanalysisd.plist

This should start the process once again. You should schedule your work accordingly to give your mac the chance to complete the photo analysis process in your free time.


Photoanalysisd is a beneficial app overall. The issue is that it can hamper other activities while it is running in the background. Fortunately, there are ways you can temporarily pause its function to allow you to perform other work.

  • Mainul Alam Niloy

    Mainul Alam is a freelance writer based in Bangladesh with a degree in Medical Science. With over 10 years of experience as a freelancer on Upwork, Mainul is an expert in research writing, blog writing, and creative content. Mainul's writing expertise extends to various topics, i...