What is cloudd, and Why Is It Running on my Mac?

You might have noticed something named cloudd running on your Mac while using Activity Monitor. Should you be worried? What is this? This process is part of macOS, and is related to iCloud.

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, commerce, parentalcontrold, sandboxd, and many others. Don’t know what those services are? Better start reading!

Today’s process, cloudd, is a daemon, which means it runs in the background handling system tasks. This particular daemon is related to CloudKit, as a quick look at the man page shows us. You can see the man page yourself by typing man cloudd in the Terminal, but here’s what you’ll see:

cloudd is the system daemon backing the CloudKit feature.

Of course, knowing about this is only helpful if you know what CloudKit is in the first place. To find that out let’s check out the Apple Developer page, which explains how third party programs can use CloudKit:

The CloudKit framework provides interfaces for moving data between your app and your iCloud containers. You use CloudKit to take your app’s existing data and store it in the cloud so that the user can access it on multiple devices. You can also store data in a public area where all users can access it.

Basically this means that any application can use CloudKit in order to save files on iCloud for syncing to other systems. Apple also uses CloudKit for syncing your Mac’s desktop and documents to other devices. The cloudd process works behind the scenes any time an application syncs files to and from iCloud on your Mac.

For the most part, you shouldn’t see cloudd using a lot of CPU or memory, but there are a few exceptions. If you’re syncing a large video file, for example, cloudd might need to work hard at that for a little while.

If you’re a Parallels user, you might be noticing this a lot, as Parallels explains here. The problem: iCloud syncs the entire Documents folder. Some versions of Parallels store virtual machines in Documents, and VMs can be pretty big files. Oops. The quick fix is to move your virtual machines to another folder, outside Documents, or just turn off document syncing entirely.

If these aren’t your problem, try closing any applications that sync with iCloud. If that stops the problem, you’ve possibly discovered a bug with that app, and you should report it to the developer. You could also consider freeing up space in your iCloud drive: syncing fewer files should reduce the workload.

Photo credit: Pakhnyushchy/Shutterstock.com

Justin Pot is a staff writer for How-To Geek, and a technology enthusiast who lives in Hillsboro, Oregon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.