How to Fix mds_stores High CPU Usage on macOS Monterey and Big Sur

mds stores
mds stores

There was a time when computers were more like glorified typewriters. In that period, Apple first introduced its Macintosh in 1976, which changed people’s perspective of interacting with a machine. Since then, Apple chose never to look back and added more members to its computer lineup, including Macbooks, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro.

The Mac products always added a flourish and smooth experience, which made it apart from typical Windows OS PC or laptops with their homegrown macOS. This choice of the operating system is the most stable, clean, and fast to date compared to the Windows machine. It consists of features that are hard to look at on any other operating system out there.

One of the most impressive macOS features is the Spotlight:- which lets you quickly find apps, documents, emails, and other items on your Mac with ease. With Siri Suggestions, you can access news, sports scores, weather conditions, stock prices, etc. Spotlight can even perform calculations and conversions for you. Despite Spotlight being such a helpful app, it also puts some users at risk when they encounter an issue known as mds_stores high CPU usage error.

I upgraded from a 2012 MacBook Pro high specced out to MacBook Pro 2021 M1, which is a worthy upgrade for us after a long period. After setting the new MacBook up to transfer and shift data, I noticed a dot in the middle of the spotlight button in the dock bar. This sign usually refers to the indexing that is working in your machine.

We haven’t even spent almost an hour with our new MacBook Pro M1, and we started encountering performance stutters from it, which wasn’t expected considering the power the M1 machine holds in. After looking at the Activity Monitor, we noticed that a task named mdworker is churning out a marginal percentage in the CPU. 

After researching more about it, we learned that it’s a widespread problem that most Mac users undergo. It happened because Spotlight indexed all the files, and it reached a threshold of 200GB+, which is abnormal. After this, the Macbook Pro took longer than expected, with many stutters while navigating into the OS. 

After applying many fixes and troubleshooting methods, I was able to resolve this issue for myself. But, many people own a MacBook and still face the same problem without knowing any solution. In this article, I’ll be looking at what mds_stores are, why it’s consuming high CPU usage on the Mac, and, a most valuable one, how to fix this issue if you’re facing it.

What is Spotlight?

Spotlight is a system-wide desktop search functionality that is only limited to Apple’s macOS and iOS operating systems; it was first announced in June 2004 and was released in April 2005. Spotlight is a selection-based file search system used to locate a file quickly from a wide variety of computer items, including pictures, applications, documents, system preferences, etc.

It creates an index of all the files and items available on your machine, and afterward, you can even lookup a file with creation dates, modification dates, sizes, types, and other attributes with ease. To access the Spotlight feature, you need to click on the Spotlight button, whose app icon looks like a magnifying glass in the menu of the Mac. There’s also a keyboard shortcut to launch Spotlight, i.e., Command + Spacebar.

What is mds_stores?

The ‘MDS’ stands for MetaData Server, and it usually works in the background of the macOS, which is associated with the Mac’s Spotlight feature. There is no question that the mds_stores are created for a good cause. But sometimes, some bugs result in more than 90% to 100% high CPU consumption, making the Macs slow down unnecessarily.

With the help of MDS, mds_stores, and mdworker process, it indexes all the data available on hard drives, which helps to quickly locate the forever file you’re looking for with just a simple Spotlight search. That’s how the Spotlight feature works and helps to search the files easily on a Mac.

Why is mds_stores consuming High CPU?

While setting up the Mac, mds_stores finishes its first indexing very quickly as it hardly consumes CPU power on its first run. But as soon as you start removing unnecessary files and adding newer files into your system, those huge file sizes take a lot of time to process, and it keeps indexing every file, which consumes a lot of CPU power.

In some scenarios, Many users reported that the Spotlight’s mds_stores keep the indexing process running for weeks. Now you have a good idea of Spotlight, its indexing process, and why it consumes a high CPU usage. It’s the moment to provide all the possible ways to troubleshoot or fix to get rid of this annoying bug.

Fix mds_stores Consuming High CPU

1. Restart your Mac

There are a lot of methods to fix mds_stores which consume high CPU usage. Before diving into the most complex solutions, there are some easy solutions available to fix this bug for you.

Sometimes, the indexing process can be stopped on the Mac by a simple restart option. Most of the time, this issue can be resolved by a simple restart, and if you don’t know how to do so, we are enlisting the steps below:-

Step 1: For restarting your Mac, Move your cursor to the small Apple logo placed on the top left corner of the home screen. On the Top Down menu, you’ll find various options, including Sleep, Restart, and Shut Down.

Apple Menu on Mac

Step 2: Hit on the Restart option, and it will close all the running applications and background processes to force close and then turn on again with a fresh reboot.

Step 3: Once the restart is completed, enter your password credentials and start using the Mac. 

Now, use the Mac for almost an hour and check if the MDS-related processes are still consuming high CPU usage; then, this means that restarting doesn’t fix this issue for you. But don’t worry; we’ve curated more fixes for you.

2. Force Stop and Restart Spotlight

Since mds_stores and Spotlight are co-related and keep running in the background, stopping the spotlight feature and then restarting it helps fix this issue. To know how to stop Spotlight on your Mac, follow the steps mentioned below:-

Step 1: Click on the Finder and open Applications.

Step 2: In the Application menu, hit the Utilities and search for Terminal. 

Step 3: Launch the terminal and type the following command

sudo launchctl unload- w/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

and hit enter to run it.

Enter Command in Terminal App

Step 4: After successfully running this command, it’ll ask you to enter the password of your Mac to confirm that you are the administrator. After entering your password, hit Enter and you’re all set.

As soon as the Spotlight stops working on your Mac, re-check the activity monitor to see if the background process is running mds or not. Afterward, use your system for a while and re-check if it’s consuming a lot of CPU usage or not.

Spotlight is not working; there will be no mds_stores available in the task manager. After re-launching the Spotlight app, notice whether the error is occurring again or not.

3. Delete Directories in the Spotlight Index

If mds_stores appear again in the task manager, then it means that the indexing process is not completed yet, and the reason it’s still not finished yet is due to the heavy size of the data which is trying to get indexed by it.

It is advisory to delete some directories from the storage that appears in the Spotlight’s index during such moments. After doing so, it will decrease the index size, and mds_stores will be able to complete the indexing process much faster with a low CPU consumption.

To delete the directories in the spotlight index, follow all the methods that are mentioned below:-

Step 1: Launch System Preferences from the home screen in the top-down menu.

Step 2: Hit on the ‘Spotlight’ feature.

Spotlight on Mac

Step 3: After selecting the spotlight feature, a dialogue box will appear with two available options:- Search results and Privacy.

Spotlight Search Results

Step 4: In the search results, you can choose which file categories you want to appear in search results, and the Privacy option is there for adding the folder into a list that you don’t want to get indexed in the Spotlight Index.

Step 5: In the privacy option, start adding heavy folders containing many files that take a long time to get indexed in the Spotlight feature. 

Spotlight Privacy

After completing the steps above, it’ll reduce the size of the index file and will fix the mds_store high CPU usage issue.

4. Disable Spotlight

If all the mentioned steps didn’t work for you, the only solution we have is to disable the spotlight feature, which will permanently fix this problem, but you won’t be able to use this feature again. I don’t support this method because the Spotlight app is a nifty add-on to the macOS. Anyways, to disable the spotlight app follow these steps below:-

Step 1: Launch Finder from the Dock menu.

Step 2: Move towards applications, then choose Utilities and Open Terminal. 

Step 3: In the Terminal app, write the following commands that are mentioned below and hit enter.

 “Sudo mdutil – a -i off”

Disable Spotlight on Mac

Step 4: After running the command in Terminal, it will ask for an administrator’s password to begin the process further ahead. Write the password and hit enter and you’re all set. 

Step 5Restart your Mac, and now you’ll not encounter this issue in your machine ever again.


What is Mds_stores Mac activity monitor?

The Mds_stores stands for MetaData Server, and it’s a background process often associated with Mac’s spotlight app. The mds_stores occupy almost 90%-100% of CPU processes sometimes, which affects the performance of the Mac.

What is Fseventsd Mac?

The FSEvents in MacOS usually allow the application to register for its notifications of changes specified for a directory’s tree. In simple words, whenever the filesystem is changed, its kernel bypasses a notification with the help of a special device file /dev/fseventsd to a userspace process known as fseventsd.

How do I fix high CPU usage on Mac?

If you’re facing high CPU consumption due to the mds_stores indexing process, we’ll recommend you go through our guide, which consists of 4 ways to fix this issue permanently.

Why is my Mac CPU load so high?

The higher CPU consumption on a Mac can be running various scripts or malware installed on the device. If not these above, then it could also mean that you are running too many applications in the background or using an app that is too intensive and heavy for the Mac.

Final Words

Spotlight is a nifty and powerful feature that brings a system-wide search file engine and carries a demerit, the indexing process, which can be a surreal pain on the RAM consumption of the Mac.

The mds_stores keep running in the background and acquire most CPU resources. The methods we’ve listed above will solve every problem you’re encountering with the Spotlight app to fix these issues.

To begin with, start with a simple reboot, stop and restart the Spotlight, delete some directories from the Spotlight index, and last, disable the Spotlight permanently. Please let us know if you can fix this problem by our following troubleshooting methods.

However, if you’re having trouble applying these solutions feel free to reach out to us in the comment section, and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.

Posted by
Ratnesh Kumar

Hi Everyone, I am Ratnesh Kumar. Currently, I am running a Media company called Yorker Media. Under the Yorker Media portfolio, we have five Tech Websites targeting global audiences and several websites for our Indian audiences. Combining all those websites, we are getting close to 300k visits a month. It all started in 2017 when I started my YouTube journey as a Tech content creator. At the same time, I also learned about Blogging and started a blog as an extension of my YouTube channel. So, after hustling for over a year, I quit individual content creation and moved to the tech media business. I started my first project in the industry, TechYorker.Com. Initially, I needed more funds to run the business. So, to arrange funds, I started working as a freelancer. After almost five years, I have experience with growing a Digital Media business, and Freelancing. I have planned to create content around the skills and knowledge I have gathered in the last few years. Thank you!

1 Comment

  1. The Macintosh wasn’t introduced in 1976. Do a little fact checking before making posts, or you look like an idiot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *