How to fix kernel_task CPU usage on big sur?

How to fix kernel_task CPU usage on Big Sur?

If you’re experiencing high CPU usage from the kernel_task process on macOS Big Sur, don’t worry, there are several steps you can take to address this issue:

1. **Update macOS**: Make sure you are running the latest version of macOS Big Sur as Apple often releases updates that address performance issues.

2. **Restart your Mac**: Sometimes a simple restart can help resolve high CPU usage issues, including those related to the kernel_task process.

3. **Check for runaway processes**: Use Activity Monitor to see if there are any processes consuming an unusually high amount of CPU resources and quit them if necessary.

4. **Reset SMC**: Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) on your Mac can sometimes help with kernel_task CPU usage issues.

5. **Reset NVRAM**: Resetting the non-volatile random-access memory (NVRAM) on your Mac can also potentially resolve high CPU usage problems.

6. **Check for malware**: Run a malware scan using reputable antivirus software to rule out any malicious software causing high CPU usage.

7. **Disable unnecessary startup items**: Limit the number of applications that launch at startup to alleviate the load on the CPU.

8. **Limit background processes**: Close unnecessary applications and browser tabs running in the background to free up CPU resources.

9. **Check for software conflicts**: Some third-party software may conflict with macOS and cause high CPU usage, so try disabling or uninstalling any recent additions.

10. **Monitor system temperature**: Overheating can sometimes lead to high CPU usage, so make sure your Mac is adequately ventilated and not running too hot.

11. **Check for hardware issues**: If none of the software fixes work, there may be underlying hardware issues causing the kernel_task CPU usage, so consider getting your Mac checked by a professional.

12. **Contact Apple Support**: If all else fails, reach out to Apple Support for further assistance with diagnosing and resolving the kernel_task CPU usage problem.

Overall, addressing kernel_task CPU usage on Big Sur involves a mix of software updates, system resets, monitoring, and troubleshooting to identify and resolve the underlying issue. By following these steps, you should be able to improve the performance of your Mac and reduce the strain on the kernel_task process.


1. What is kernel_task?

kernel_task is a system process in macOS that manages the CPU and memory usage of various tasks. It is normal for kernel_task to use resources, but high CPU usage can indicate an issue.

2. Why does kernel_task use so much CPU?

There are several reasons why kernel_task may use high CPU, including overheating, software conflicts, malware, or underlying hardware issues.

3. Is it safe to force quit kernel_task?

It is not recommended to force quit the kernel_task process as it is essential for the proper functioning of macOS. Instead, try to address the underlying cause of high CPU usage.

4. Can a failing hard drive cause kernel_task CPU usage?

A failing hard drive can potentially lead to high CPU usage by kernel_task as the system struggles to access and write data. Checking for hardware issues is a recommended step.

5. Will upgrading RAM help reduce kernel_task CPU usage?

Although additional RAM can improve overall system performance, upgrading RAM may not directly alleviate high CPU usage from kernel_task. It is still worth considering if your Mac is struggling with multitasking.

6. How does macOS Big Sur impact kernel_task CPU usage?

macOS Big Sur can introduce performance improvements but may also come with its own set of bugs and issues that could impact kernel_task CPU usage. Keeping your system updated is crucial.

7. Can disabling SIP (System Integrity Protection) help with kernel_task CPU usage?

Disabling SIP is not recommended for addressing kernel_task CPU usage as it compromises the security and stability of macOS. Focus on other troubleshooting steps instead.

8. Does using an external monitor affect kernel_task CPU usage?

Using an external monitor can increase the workload on the GPU, which in turn may impact kernel_task CPU usage indirectly. Monitoring system temperature and performance is key.

9. How does background activity affect kernel_task CPU usage?

Excessive background activity, such as cloud syncing or automatic updates, can strain the CPU and lead to higher kernel_task CPU usage. Managing these processes can help alleviate the issue.

10. Can a faulty battery cause kernel_task CPU usage to spike?

A faulty battery may impact the power management of your Mac, potentially causing kernel_task CPU usage to spike as the system compensates for power fluctuations. Consider checking your battery health.

11. What role does thermal throttling play in kernel_task CPU usage?

Thermal throttling is a mechanism that reduces CPU performance to prevent overheating, which can indirectly affect kernel_task CPU usage. Ensuring proper cooling and ventilation is important.

12. Will performing a clean install of macOS help with kernel_task CPU usage?

A clean install of macOS can potentially resolve software-related issues causing high CPU usage, including those affecting kernel_task. Backing up your data and following the installation guidelines is essential.

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