macOS is a great OS and has been around for a long time. In fact, macOS is always in competition with Windows for the top spot. And it is quite common to have a sudden increase in system temperature, system hanging and fans running at full on macOS and Windows. While checking, you will find high CPU usage on both. For those who are experiencing high CPU Usage on their macOS, this can help them.

Usually, users will find MetaData Server (mds_stores) consuming high CPU usage error which can be checked in Activity Monitor. In Activity Monitor, you will find mds, mds_stores, and mdworker using CPU at 90-100%.

activity monitor on macOS
activity monitor on macOS

To access Activity Monitor, you are going to the Application folder > Utilities folder. Double click on Activity Monitor and the application will open.

NOTE: you can use the methods given on all macOS that includes Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur, and Catalina…

What is mds_stores?

In macOS, you will find a feature called Spotlight. Spotlight is a system-wide search engine that indexes the locations of files and applications. MDS is MetaData Server on macOS, it runs in the background of your macOS.

Usually, the feature indexes the applications or files on macOS. And it’s this MDS, that searches for files and applications on your macOS. Once the service finds the new file, it automatically indexes them.

This will provide a much faster and more accurate result for the user. When users search for any file on their macOS.

What causes MetaData Server (mds_stores) High CPU Usage?

There can be different reasons why you are experiencing the error. However; the most common one is due to removing or adding large files on your macOS. This will put a lot of pressure on Spotlight and forces it to change the directories instantly.  

Other reasons such as hard disk size, size of directories, spotlight index, and mac speed can also cause the mds_stores high CPU usage error.

Related: Fix Mac and MacBook won’t Startup


fix MetaData Server (mds_stores) consuming high CPU usage on mac
fix MetaData Server (mds_stores) consuming high CPU usage on mac

Now that we understand the error and what causes the error, let’s fix MetaData Server (mds_stores) high CPU usage on Mac. Before we start applying any of the methods given, let’s check for dos and don’ts.

Things you don’t need to do: try using any third-party application to fix the error with magic. I have also seen things on the internet where they recommend limiting the indexing by Spotlight. Restricting indexing can fix the error temporarily but is not a total fix.

restart mac
restart mac

Things to do: what you are recommended to do is to restart your macOS. Click on the Apple logo, select the Restart option, and restart your macOS. Now go to Activity Monitor, and check for the MetaData Server (mds_stores) high CPU usage error. If you are still having the error, then use the methods provided below.

1- Update your macOS

Not updating can also cause the error. There is the possibility that you are experiencing the error due to some bug that can be fixed with the new update. By updating to the latest version, you will not only fix bugs but will also secure your macOS and add new features.

To update your macOS, you are going to click on the Apple icon.

About this mac
About this mac

There you will find the About This Mac option.

Select the About This Mac option and you will be placed in a new tab. Here you will find details about your Mac/MacBook. Inside this tab, you will also find Software Update.

Click on Software Update and your macOS will start updating. Once your macOS is updated, you will restart your system. Check again the error in Activity Monitor; if found then use the next method.

2- Restart Spotlight

Maybe there is a bug that is causing the error. By restarting your Spotlight, you might fix that problem. For restarting Spotlight, you are going to use Terminal and type some commands.

Go to Launchpad and run Terminal.

restart spotlight
restart spotlight

Now you are going to type the command below on Terminal.

sudo launchctl unload -w/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

NOTE: as you have noticed, we have used Sudo at the beginning. You are compelled to use the Sudo command for running the command. The command won’t run, if you are not using Sudo.

Now check MetaData Server (mds_stores) high CPU Usage error. If you find it fixed, then you will restart it again and start using the Spotlight. Else, you are going to use the other method given.

After checking the error on Activity Monitor, you are going to use the command below to start Spotlight again.

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

3- Delete Directories on macOS

Maybe, you are having way too much in your directories and that causes the load on the CPU. By removing all the useless things from your directories, you will fix mds_stores high CPU usage on your Mac.

To remove all those indexed files and search results from directories on your macOS, you are going to open System Preferences.

open system preferences on macOS
open system preferences on macOS

Click on the Apple icon on the top left and select System Preferences.

Now you will select the Spotlight option on your screen.

Here you will see the Search Results and Privacy tabs.

spotlight - search results
spotlight – search results
  • Open Search Results and you will find all the indexed files on your macOS. By unchecking the boxes, you will remove the results from appearing on Spotlight.
Spotlight - Privacy
Spotlight – Privacy
  • Privacy is consist of files and disk storage on your macOS. Clicking on + will add different files and folders to appear on Spotlight. And by removing them, none of the files will appear in the Spotlight search results.

After changing the results, you will restart your macOS. Check the error in Activity Monitor and if you still found the error then you will use the last resort given.

4- Disable Spotlight

This will be the last method to fix mds_stores high CPU. For this method, you will disable the Spotlight entirely. Disabling the feature will also stop mds services from running in the background. Hence this will also decrease the CPU consumption too.

Begin by opening Launchpad and running Terminal.

disable Spotlight on macOS
disable Spotlight on macOS

Now you are going to use the command given to disable Spotlight.

sudo mdutil – a -i off

Press the Return key and you will be asked for the password. Enter your password and disable the service.

Reaching this stage means that you have disabled your Spotlight. You will restart your macOS and you have successfully fixed mds_stores high CPU usage.


These were all the possible ways to fix mds_stores high CPU usage. I have tried to provide methods that won’t affect the data on your disk. If you found some shady method that will guarantee to fix the error, then you are recommended to not use it at any cost.

As those methods will damage your personal or system files. instead of using any other method, you are recommended to install your macOS again.

Related: Fix An error occurred while installing the selected updates

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