Friday, 20 May 2016

Is parentalcontrolsd eating your memory on your mac?

If you have a Mac, take a minute and run the Activity Monitor

(quickest way for me is to type: Cmd-Space and type 'activity' - good old spotlight)

Do you see a process called 'parentalcontrolsd'? If so, take a look at it:

If it's anything like on my Mac, you may now be saying 'HOWWW much memory?'

2.43Gb virtual? To do what? I don't even have Parental Controls switched on! When I search the web, it seems like no-one else with this problem does either - and there seem to be a lot of people having similar problems.

I'm on El Capitan (10.11.5) but I've had this for a long time. The weird thing is, it's on my 'work' Mac (15" pro retina) but not on my BYOD one that I also use for work and which has much the same software stack (13" pro retina). I've tried pretty much all the internet suggestions and got a whole load of nowhere.

Anyone any ideas?

At the moment, all I can offer is this: Macs have two useful commands for processes. Go to 'terminal' to use them:

pgrep parentalcontrolsd (or even just pgrep parental - it works with partial names)

If you get a number back, then parentalcontrolsd is running.

Then you need:
sudo pkill -9 parentalcontrolsd (you'll get prompted for your password - you need sudo to run this as root)

This kills it stone dead (as you can see in the screenshot). Use pgrep to check.

It's OK to use pkill even if it doesn't find the process - I keep it in a terminal window so I can just use 'up arrow' to run it when I need it. Which I do, because it keeps coming back . . .

More enlightened people will probably be able to create a scheduled job using cron or some such to kill it every hour or so.

**update** I've tried using Automator to run the pkill every hour or so - only problem is that I can't get automator to run a script as root/admin so I get permission errors . .any ideas? **update**

Even more enlightened people probably have a proper cure - if you do, please let me know!


  1. Got similar issue with controlparentalsd process starving CPU and fans are running at 80% !
    Running Yosemite

    1. Yep - fans going crazy are my usual indication that it's time to kill it! I'm still trying to get automator to let me schedule a run of pkill, but I can't get it to run as script as root . .

  2. try with root crantab.

    open terminal.
    do a "sudo su". it will make you root.
    then open crontab using "crontab -e"
    you need to know how to operate that terminal editor. most probably it must be vim or vi. for them my following instructions work.
    press i to start typing there.
    put "*/60 * * * * pkill -9 parentalcontrolsd" without quotes.
    type :wq to exit and save this entry.
    you should see something like "crontab: installing new crontab". your job is done.
    it will run this job every 60 mins

    1. Thx for the tips. Just applied your command, waiting to confirm it's working , but it really should :P

  3. Thank you for the tips Saurabh!

  4. I used Cronnix ( instead of root crontab -- GUI makes it easy! Then set the timing as you like in the Simple Mode tab -- check all checkboxes so each reflects an asterisk (star // *) except the minutes, which I set at 30, so it runs every 30 minutes. Command should be as follows on next line:

    pkill -9 parentalcontrolsd

    That's it! No more 1+GB memory hogging from parentalcontrolsd process!

  5. Thanks; tired of manually killing this thing as it consumes all the memory on the planet.

  6. Totally annoying bug. I've seen it take 13GB on my machine.