Stopping PTPCamera Process on Mac in Hogging CPU

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Some Mac users running older versions of MacOS system software may find that after they purchase an iPhone or a camera in their Mac, the computer starts to slow down and if it has a battery, the battery drains faster. On closer inspection with Activity Monitor on the affected Mac, you might notice that a process called “PTPCamera” is running and consumes a lot of CPU usage, usually around 85% or so, and it tends to persist until manual intervention has taken place.

Note that this issue can be version dependent, and not all versions of Mac OS or Mac OS X system software will cause the erroneous PTPCamera process to run overtime when an iPhone is connected. If you use the camera process where you drag your Mac battery down and gobble up the processor don’t worry about this as it won’t affect you.

How to Stop the PTPCamera process in Mac OS by eating the CPU and draining the battery

  1. Connect an iPhone to the Mac and unlock it with a passcode, Touch ID or Face ID
  2. Hit Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight (or click the little Spotlight magnifying glass icon in the top right corner)
  3. Type “Activity Monitor” and press Return to launch the Activity Monitor app
  4. Choose the “CPU” tab and click the “% CPU” column to sort by percentage of CPU usage
  5. PTPCamera process has gone wild on Mac with CPU

  6. Find “PTPCamera”, select it and click the “X” button in the title bar of Activity Monitor to end the process
  7. Kill PTPCamera Process on Mac

  8. Confirm that you want to force stop the PTPCamera process
  9. Exit Activity Monitor

You may have to repeat this process of force quitting the PTPCamera process every time you notice the battery slowing down or draining the battery after connecting an unlocked iPhone to the Mac. A bit annoying, but it could be worse.

There doesn’t seem to be any side effect from ending the PTPCamera process on a Mac, and you can still copy photos from iPhone to Mac Photos app or with Image Capture if needed.

Another option, which hasn’t worked for me, but may work for you based on comments on Apple Support forums, is to try this process:

  1. Connect iPhone to Mac via USB and unlock it via passcode, Touch ID or Face ID
  2. Launch the Photos app
  3. Disconnect iPhone from USB
  4. Exit Photos
  5. Open Photos again

Why that would work to stop the PTPCamera process isn’t clear, but some users have reported success with it on discussions.apple.com, but your mileage may vary.

Why PTPCamera is running up high CPU usage could just be a bug in certain system software versions, or with some combination of certain devices and system software, and while it probably won’t happen in High Sierra or macOS Sierra, it reliably reproduces in Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 with an iPhone X and many earlier versions of the Mac OS simply by connecting an unlocked iPhone to the Mac running those previous system releases.

Of course, another possible solution would be to update to a newer version of system software, be it macOS High Sierra or macOS Sierra, but that may not be a reasonable solution for many users, and of course some Mac users intentionally avoid certain system software releases for software compatibility, or maybe just to avoid potential troubleshooting or nuisance issues.

On a related note, another photo-related process that can stir up heavy CPU usage on a Mac is the Photos Agent process related to using iCloud Photos which is a bit easier to avoid by simply disabling the iCloud Photos features on a Mac.

If you know of any other way to prevent PTPCamera from running on a Mac accidentally (without locking the process and not starting at all), let us know in the comments!

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Stopping the PTPCamera Process on a Mac from Hogging CPU: FAQ

Tutorial Summary: Stopping the PTPCamera Process on a Mac from Hogging CPU

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What is actual time in which this method complete?

The time to complete the Stopping the PTPCamera Process on a Mac from Hogging CPU tutorial is 10+ minutes.

What are the supported Device?

Apple

What are the supported Operating system?

mac OS


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