Mac Help Desk
Quick fixes for common Mac problems

Finder using too much CPU

Something going on with CPU and Finder? Have you noticed that Finder is slow, sluggish, or unresponsive? Let's troubleshoot.

1. Check your storage

If Finder is very slow, but you are still able to use it, low disk space could be the cause. 

How to check storage on Mac

How to check if your Mac is running out of storage:

  • Click the Apple logo, top left and select About This Mac.

  • Now, select the Storage tab, and take a look at the overview.

If your Mac is low on space, have a tidy up; creating extra breathing room will increase performance. Learn how to do it here.

2. Use Terminal to delete Finder preference file

If Finder has become unresponsive or inaccessible, use Terminal to delete the Finder preference file and solve the issue. 

How to delete Finder preference file in Terminal

Here's how to use Terminal when Finder is unresponsive:

  • Open Terminal using spotlight search by pressing Command + Space.

  • To delete the primary Finder preferences file, exactly as written paste in the following: rm ~/Library/Preferences/

  • Then press Enter and restart your Mac.

3. Run Mac Maintenance

Issues with CPU and Finder can indicate that your Mac needs a little maintenance. Regular maintenance goes a long way to improve performance and help with problems, like slow or unresponsive apps. A popular Mac utility, CleanMyMac X has a tool that has a few helpful maintenance utilities that deal with that.

The Maintenance tool CleanMyMac X is shown below.
The app is free to download and is, by the way, notarized by Apple.

Maintenance Scripts in CleanMyMac X

Run Maintenance Scripts and Repair Disk Permissions with CleanMyMac X:

  • Launch the CleanMyMac X and select Maintenance from the left sidebar.

  • Press the View All Tasks button.

  • Now, select Run Maintenance Scripts and Free up RAM from the list and press Run.

4. Reset Finder

If, after trying the above tips, you still have issues with CPU and Finder, it's time to reset Finder related files that could have become corrupt. Do this safely with CleanMyMac X. 

How to reset Finder

To be able to reset the Finder with CleanMyMac X, first you should take off one checkmark in the Preferences.

In CleanMyMac X, click on the top menu CleanMyMac X.
Select Preferences... > Ignore List.
In the Uninstaller tab, uncheck the box ‘Ignore system applications.’

"Ignore system applications" tab

Now, reset Finder-related files with CleanMyMac X:

  1. Open CleanMyMac X and from the left sidebar, select Uninstaller.

  2. Locate Finder in the list, press the grey arrow to show the dropdown list.

  3. Select all items in the list, and select Reset in the small dropdown next to Finder.

  4. Press Reset at the bottom of the page.

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