It’s happening again: at the exact moment when you need your Mac, you discover that something is mysteriously slowing the machine down. The machine is getting hot since the processors start running at 200%, eating into the battery life and ruining your whole day just because your crippled computer is preventing you from getting your work done.
One such ‘CPU hog’ is a process called PTPCamera. Users running older versions of macOS have noticed that after plugging their iPhone or a camera into their machine, the Mac begins to slow down and the battery drains at an alarming rate. So, what’s causing this?
If you were to check out what is killing the Mac’s CPU via Activity Monitor, you’d see that the biggest task for the machine seems to be a process called “Picture Transfer Process for a Camera” (PTPCamera). It’s worth noting that the issue is version dependent, so users of newer versions of macOS may not suffer this problem.
How to Stop the PTPCamera Process From Killing Your Battery
- Launch Activity Monitor.
- Choose the CPU tab and press the “% CPU” column to sort the processes by usage.
- PTPCamera should appear somewhere at the top. Locate and select it, then press the “X” button on the title bar of the Activity Monitor app. This will force the process to shut down.
- Confirm your action.
- Quit Activity Monitor.
Please note that quitting the PTPCamera process via Activity Monitor has no side effects and is recommended any time you notice high CPU usage. Install iStat Pro for constant system monitoring and non-invasive reporting to help you spot the issue more easily.
So that deals with the problem at hand, but what is this PTPCamera process and why does it put so much pressure on a Mac’s CPU? Well, as its name implies, this process is responsible for transferring pictures from an external camera to iPhoto or the Photos app. The process is continually checking USB-connected devices – iPhones, iPods, iPads, etc. – for new media. If a new connection is detected, the Photos app or iPhoto is launched and the picture transfer starts.
The reason PTPCamera causes your Mac’s CPU to work harder varies by device (or at least by macOS version) but it seems to be a bug related to a specific combination of devices and system software. As reported by users in Apple StackExchange, this isn’t likely to happen on macOS 10.13 High Sierra, but it can be reproduced on Macs running OS X 10.11 El Capitan when connecting an iPhone.
If you experience high CPU usage caused by the PTPCamera process while transferring images using iPhoto or Photos, try switching to Image Capture. This is another built-in utility for transferring images from external cameras to the Mac.
Let us know in the comments below if you have noticed the PTPCamera process hogging up your CPU’s resources and be sure to include the macOS version you are running. If you know a better way to stop this CPU hog, share your solution in the comments!
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