What Is the “commerce” Process, and Why Is It Running on My Mac?

There’s a process called “commerce” running on your Mac right now. You can find it using Activity Monitor, but with a generic name like that, how are you supposed to know what it’s doing?

RELATED: What Is This Process and Why Is It Running on My Mac?

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, configd, mdnsresponder, UserEventAgent, nsurlstoraged, and many others. Don’t know what those services are? Better start reading!

To get the obvious out of the way first: don’t worry, this isn’t malware. I found out about today’s process, commerce, because a Twitter follower requested that I try to figure out what it is. And it wasn’t easy to track down: there’s no manual entry for this process, and Apple’s website offers basically no information, even in the developer resources. Double click commerce in Activity Monitor, however, and you can discover where it lives:

/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CommerceKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources/commerce

We now know that we’ve found a core part of macOS, because System Integrity Protection means users and applications cannot write the the /System/ folder. But if we actually head to the folder in question, we can learn more about what “commerce” is a part of. Here’s what it looks like:

That’s right: we’re looking at the Mac App Store icon. Scroll down and you’ll find various scripts related to the App Store: storedownloadd, storeinstalld, and more. It’s clear that “CommerceKit.framework” includes various things related to the Mac App Store, and “commerce” is one of the many scripts it uses for purchase.

You can test this in Activity Monitor: simply search for “commerce.” It should be no CPU power while idling. Open the Mac App Store, however, and you’ll see a bit of activity.

Opening the iTunes store or iBooks triggers the same thing, while opening other apps does not. This tells me that “commerce” is involved with all Apple programs that try to sell you things. Which, considering the name, makes sense.

So: commerce is part of CommerceKit, which is the service macOS uses to enable your app, music, and book purchases. It’s nothing to worry about.

Typically commerce won’t use up a lot of CPU power, but if you find it regularly using a lot of juice consider repairing permissions on your Mac. Users have reported this can solve the problem.

Photo credit: evka119/Shutterstock.com

Justin Pot is the News Editor for How-To Geek. He lives in Hillsboro, Oregon and runs the Hillsboro Signal, which offers local citizen journalism. Follow Justin on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.