Improve Mac OS X performance under load by disabling spindump.

I push my Mac real hard at times. When the disk is thrashing hard, I’ve noticed a program called spindump that’s running. Here’s what the man page says:

spindump is a tool used by various system components to create hang reports and notify the user of application hangs. … For normal application crashes spindump will display a dialog to alert the console user to the crash and offer the choice to view more details about the crash and/or report the crash to Apple.

On Yan Pritzker’s blog I found some great tips. Patrick suggested the following. (Please ensure it’s all on one line.)

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

After running this, I don’t see spindump, and the disk isn’t thrashing as hard. Yeah, I’m running two heavy virtual machines that are hammering their virtual disks, but it appears that I’ve gained something.

Thanks, guys!


2009-03-27 Update: Fixed typo. A huge thanks to Rob for catching that.

2011-02-23 Update: It was suggested that I also mention how to reverse this. Use load instead of unload.

sudo launchctl load -w  /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.spindump.plist

58 thoughts on “Improve Mac OS X performance under load by disabling spindump.

  1. farmideas

    I have just had 10.9.5 (Mavaricks??) installed on a 2GHz MacBook and it is very slow. Spindump comes up in Activity Monitor and my instinct is to highlight and click ‘quit’, but this hasn’t been mentioned. Is this not a solution?

  2. Joe Parsons

    I get this message when attempting to run the script in Sierra.

    /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.spindump.plist: Operation not permitted while System Integrity Protection is engaged

  3. Jason

    When I attempt this in the terminal, the next line that appears is ‘password’ and a tiny key, but I can’t key data on the line.

  4. Joseph

    hey i tried runnning this as i have no idea what my mac is doind, running ableton and various online players through safari and chrome and its crackling up and fizzing audio away into nothing and then stuttering out again, most of the time my ableton is saying that i’m running around 20% cpu whilst this happens so really confused! but ran this and this message came up..

    ‘Operation not permitted while System Integrity Protection is engaged’

    any help?

    thank you

  5. James Reuben Knowles Post author

    Apple has added some additional barriers with OS X El Capitan making this more difficult. This is the “System Integrity Protection” it speaks of.

    Disabling it temporarily and re-enabling it can be done, as described here.

    If you’re not sure what you’re doing do use caution. I can’t provide tech support if something goes wrong.

  6. farmideas

    Thanks for the reassurance James. Knowing little about the system and using the MacBook as the main part of a business, I’m wary about making changes! But I have found forum members are actually a lot more knowledgeable, or at any rate helpful, than the Mac fixing company who always seem to have a solution that costs a lot of money. The latest is a replacement hard drive 500gb data dic to replace the ss 250 which had 230 used. The machine started doing strange things. Wish the advice had been to clean off 50% of the bloop on the hd. Bet it would work, and that ss was fast, and silent. Then he put on the 10.9.5 to replace the 10.6.8 More headaches. So thanks to all

  7. Ann Wright

    Hello there, I don’t know if you can offer any suggestions, so please excuse me if this is not the right place. I am having issues with my MacBook Air. When playing Scrabble on Facebook the spinning wheel appears, it freezes and hangs. I have checked my Activity Monitor where ‘Safari Web Content (not resident) appears in red. The issue resolves if I force this to quit but it keeps coming back. I’ve been through all the fixes I can find and have had help from Apple but the problem remains, they advised that the issue might be with Scrabble or facebook. This only started about a week or so ago, it seems to only be with these two. I’m not very technical so please keep any advise as basic as possible.
    Thankyou and best wishes.

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