You’re browsing the processes on your Mac using Activity Monitor when you notice something you don’t recognize: configd. What is this, and should you be worried?
This article is part of our ongoing series explaining various processes found in Activity Monitor, like kernel_task, hidd, mdsworker, installd, WindowServer, blued, launchd, backup, opendirectoryd, powerd, coreauthd, and many others. Don’t know what those services are? Better start reading!
You shouldn’t worry about configd—this is a core part of macOS. This particular process is a daemon, which means it runs in the background and handles critical system tasks. This particular daemon is the System Configuration Server, which means it monitors and reports on your Mac’s settings and status. To quote the configd man page:
The configd daemon is responsible for many configuration aspects of the local system. configd maintains data reflecting the desired and current state of the system, provides notifications to applications when this data changes, and hosts a number of configuration agents in the form of loadable bundles.
That’s a lot to break down, but it all becomes more clear when you take a look at the mentioned bundles. According to O’Reilly’s Safari, these are found in /System/Library/SystemConfiguration.
A quick glance shoes that most of these bundles are related to networking. There’s one for IP configuration, for example, and others for the macOS firewall and PPP. But it’s not all network related: these bundles also monitor things like printers and user preferences.
Basically, when something changes on your system, it’s usually configd that notices first, and it’s configd that sends notifications to your other programs. This allows them to adapt to the new setup.
What does this look like? Well, if an application has an offline mode, configd is what tells that application when your internet isn’t connected. If you’re trying to print a document, configd lets applications know whether the printer is connected or not. If you change a setting of some sort, configd lets all of your applications know about that. It’s a simple job, but it needs to be done in order for your system to function.
If you use a third party firewall, you might see a lot of configd-related pop ups. This is normal, because a huge part of configd’s job is monitoring your current network status. In fact, Apple specifically tells users not to block configd with a firewall for this reason.
You shouldn’t really see configd taking up a lot of system resources, but if it does restarting your Mac should usually solve the problem. You could also try kill the process in Activity Monitor; it will start back up immediately.
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