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Turning off OS X processes that might actually make a difference

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There are several shell-scripts floating around (including one I made many years ago) that turn off a vast number of lanchd processes for OS X, which often have the perhaps undesirable effect of completely hosing the system.


As an alternative, I have been watching /var/log/system.log to find clues about what might be problematic, and what I want to do is selectively target a few "processes" by understanding what they do, and then turn them off individually, to see if there is any difference (audible, or at least in terms of spamming the log file).


I'd like this thread to become a "hit list" of processes that are unambiguously useless.  (In other words, I don't want to turn off wireless or bluetooth -- this should be up to the individual user, and is easy enough to do anyway).  What I want to do is target a few problem children that are unlikely to have any utility, especially if they are broken, and understand what they do, in case I change my mind (or discover an unintended consequence).

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My /var/log/system.log file is getting spammed with this:


May 28 07:33:09 tv-stereo-mini com.apple.usbmuxd[20423]: notice    device connected: 390-fe80::1056:d6a8:e8fc:389c:0
May 28 07:33:09 tv-stereo-mini com.apple.usbmuxd[20423]: error     MuxTCPSendNextSegmentOverNetwork Unexpected EOF, client 3894-MobileDevice:0 -> 390-fe80::1056:d6a8:e8fc:389c:0:0
May 28 07:33:10 tv-stereo-mini com.apple.usbmuxd[20423]: error     MuxTCPSendNextSegmentOverNetwork Unexpected EOF, client 3899-iTunes:0 -> 390-fe80::1056:d6a8:e8fc:389c:0:0

Near as I can tell, usbmuxd is only used for wirelessly syncing an iOS device with one's iTunes library.  Unless you do that, you might be able to live without it.


My first attempt to disable it:


sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.usbmuxd.plist

That unloads the process, and the -w makes it stick beyond a reboot.


However, the log file is now getting spammed with whining about its absence, so the work is not over!


May 28 07:43:54 tv-stereo-mini iTunes[58228]: tid:907 - Muxed callbacks stopped, attempting to register again...
May 28 07:43:56 tv-stereo-mini iTunes[58228]: _SubscribeForMuxNotifications (thread 0x700000c59000): USBMuxListenerCreate: Connection refused
May 28 07:43:56 tv-stereo-mini iTunes[58228]: AMDeviceNotificationSubscribe failed (0xE8000063)
May 28 07:43:56 tv-stereo-mini iTunes[58228]: _SubscribeForMuxNotifications (thread 0x700000c59000): USBMuxListenerCreate: Connection refused

Quitting iTunes (which I usually leave open when NOT listening to music, since I use it to serve stuff) temporarily gets rid of the whining.  At the very least, it tells us that having iTunes open in the background is probably not a good idea if you are listening to music with anything else that does not rely on the program itself.

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I was getting a weird Audirvana restart error in the log file, which manifested itself as a pause in playback.  In this example, I use a launchd command that differs from "unload" to get it to STFU about some tidal plist file that doesn't even seem to exist on my system (I looked everywhere for it).  I also use this command to turn off spotlight while I am at it, since I hate it. For whatever reason, deactivating it this way avoids issues associated with updates...


11 hours ago, wgscott said:

I now issue this command upon every restart:

launchctl remove com.tidal.LaunchHelper com.apple.Spotlight

The launchctl remove  command differs from the unload command in that you don't have to specify the location of the file, and the file (in the case of this tidal virus thing) need not even exist.  The frequency of these pauses has now greatly decreased.  I've only experienced one incident since using this trick.  I don't know why launchd was constantly hunting for this nonexistent tidal plist file, but I got tired of trying to track it down and am using this hack instead.  I have a suspicion it came with Audirvana, since it is only in that context that I have ever used tidal.


I still have lots of other launchd errors in the console, so it wouldn't surprise me if this might create the issue.

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23 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

Can a 3rd party program install processes of this type, or are they all from the OS?


Yes.  I also make loads of them myself (so if something is creating a problem, it is a good chance it is mine, since I screw around with this stuff basically for entertainment.)


In general, those that are provided with the OS or Apple-distributed programs reside in


The ones that get run by the user go into Agents; those run by root (the system) go into Daemons.


Third-party ones are supposed to go into



and those specific to an individual user might also be found in




These are where most such items reside.  However, if you use something like fink or macports, they can install in their own directories, in an attempt to minimize polluting the system.

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Hmmm... my original reason for asking was my desire to continue using XtraFinder (which works on Yos.).  I "upgraded" my laptop to MacOS which broke XtraFinder due to some system protections that Apple marched outward away from the basic shell.  So I figured XtraFinder was getting somewhat deep into the OS to do its enhancements.


This will be an interesting thread to follow as I plan to turn the mini into a dedicated music server (if Apple will ever update their desktops...).

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Why don't  you simply use computer audio design scripts ? 


They work perfectly for Yosemite, you just don't have to "upgrade" to Sierra.

Roon / audio-linux / dual PC / I2s FGPA Dac / analog tube processor / analog tube crossover / active speakers / dual subs / absorption+massive diffusion / ugly cat in the room

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VERY interested in this topic - with Sierra.

Thanks guys

Mac Mini Late 2014 (16G/SSD) w Uptone JS-2 w OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini RAID (JS-2) / Roon

Aqua LinQ w EtherCon cable (Ghent) w Uptone EtherRegen w Uptone JS-2

Aqua Formula xHD w Ocellia RCA Interconnect & Shunyata Delta NR

Kora TB 200 Integrated Amplifier w Audio Art Power Cable

Magico V2 w Ocellia speaker cables w Shunyata Dark Field Elevator & JL Audio E-Sub e110 X 2

All equipment, including subwoofer on Modulum platforms (modulumaudio.com)

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12 minutes ago, Yucca06 said:

Why don't  you simply use computer audio design scripts ? 


They work perfectly for Yosemite, you just don't have to "upgrade" to Sierra.


All the emails I have got from people asking me for help unfucking their computer after using these kinds of scripts sort of puts me off.  I have no evidence that they know what they are doing, and much evidence the users run these commands blindly.

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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

Can anything be captured in Activity Monitor?  Say, the all processes list under the Memory Use tab?


Yes, but be sure to set it to display system commands, not just for your user.  It is in essence a GUI for the output of the unix top command.


Also, if you want to see what launchd items are loaded:


launchctl list


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Cocktail for M

20 hours ago, wgscott said:


All the emails I have got from people asking me for help unfucking their computer after using these kinds of scripts sort of puts me off.  I have no evidence that they know what they are doing, and much evidence the users run these commands blindly.

Cocktail for Mac?

Various speakers, electronics, cable, etc. on loan for manufacturers' evaluation.

More or less permanently in use:


Schiit Iggy (latest), Ayre QB-9 DSD, Ayre Codex, Uptone Audio ISO Regen/LPS-1 Power supply, Berkeley Audio Alpha USB, PS Audio LanRover, Small Green Computer, Sonore ultraRendu, gigaFOIL4 ethernet/optical filter - Keces PS-3 power supply, (3) MBPs - stripped down for music only,  AQ Diamond USB & Ethernet, Transparent USB, Curious USB, LH Lightspeed split USB, Halide USB DAC, Audirvana +, Pure Music, ASR Emitter II Exclusive Blue amp, Ayre K-5xeMP preamp, Pass X-1 preamp, Quicksilver Mid-Mono Amps, Pass XA-30.5 amp, Duelund ICs & Speaker Cables, Paul Hynes SR-7 power supply, Grand Prix Audio Monaco Isolation racks & F1 shelves, Tannoy Canterbury SEs w/custom Duelund crossovers and stands, 2 REL 212SEs, AV RoomService EVPs, ASC Tube Traps, tons of CDs, 30 IPS masters, LPs.



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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

wow - Activity Monitor is showing about 5 pages of system & user processes running


if others have a similar number, this could be a difficult approach 


And probably completely pointless.


That is why I want to try to identify specific potential offenders, especially if they have no real importance, and selectively identify and disable them. In other words, I want to do as little "customization" as possible.

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When I was actively tweaking OS X (Mavericks) (and slimming it for SD card booting), I found that with about every 10 active processes turned off I could hear a subtle improvement.  Got down to about 70 (and about 300 threads) and am still perfectly stable (for a music-dedicated machine).  Comparing that build to a factory Mavericks install the difference is quite obvious.


Yet now I need to do the same for El Capitan so I can run the current generations of HQ Player and Audirvana+ on this machine.  The C.A.D. script does not work so hot with El Cap, and so far I can only get down to about 130 processes and 500 threads (and Sierra just runs amok like Windows 10).


So Bill, I am with you on interest in shedding the highest impact agents and daemons, especially since there are an awful lot of totally superfluos ones.

i just don't have the time these days to do the trial and error, and most of the names are quite cryptic.  And as,you have found, sometimes disabling one thing can actually drive up actively elsewhere due to it being turned off.


If you do manage to come up with an up-to-date and effective script (we already know you are good at those), I am sure you would be a hero to a lot of Mac folks here.


Best of luck.  Let us know if we might be able to look forward to something.



Alex C.


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With something like Audirvana restarting being recorded in the log file, there is an objective measure of something -- frequency of pauses -- that helps to quantify whether turning something off makes an improvement.  When it comes to simply evaluating sound quality, it become vastly more difficult, and I think I would spend a lot of time second-guessing everything.  It seems like launchd constantly spawning processes that abort and restart is much more likely to be problematic than processes that start and remain dormant.


For some stupid reason I am now getting a string of these:

com.apple.periodic-monthly: scheduler_evaluate_activity told me to run this job; however, but the start time isn't for 2583797 seconds.  Ignoring.

WTF?  cron never had this issue.


I'm just going to issue


sudo periodic monthly


and hope it goes away (for a month).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just look in the Activity Monitor program at CPU and Disk usage.

If it's not using much CPU, it's not going affect anything.


Sometimes a task like Systemstats goes nuts and needs to be killed, sometimes on some websites Chrome gets all keen on the CPU but basically, Activity Monitor will tell you all you need to know.


Never noticed any differences in sound, although in theory battery may be better, but my laptop does get warmer if it's busy so for me it's more of a temperature issue - because this then gets the fan running, and background noise like a fan is a subtle, insidious reduction of sound quality.


I have a suspicion that Chrome (what I play most of my music through) is better optimised on Win10 than OS X, because the dancing Vu meters soak up about 40-50% of CPU on the Mac (and the fan!) but about 2% on the Win10 machine (hence no fan noise!) , and the CPUs are not that different (i5 vs i7).

Battling the Loudness War with the SeeDeClip4 multi-user, decompressing, declipping streaming Music Server.


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