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    I feel Hitchens’s razor applies here: “what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” There is almost no information in this thing. Hell, it doesn’t even say what this “keystone” thing is, it’s just a vague anecdote from a person unknown.

    It doesn’t really pass a sniff test: some process is running but activity monitor doesn’t show anything? And removing chrome doesn’t fix it, and there’s still a mysterious undetectable process siphoning CPU to do … what exactly? From what I can gather it’s just some autoupdater tool, why would this intentionally use a lot of CPU? It just doesn’t make any sense.

    But yeah, “Google bad”, right? I wish folks would stop jumping the gun every vague conspiratorial story about these sort of companies out there. Yeah, I don’t care much for Google either, but that doesn’t mean they’re secretly installing rootkits to make your macs slow for dark mysterious reasons.

    I just flagged it as off-topic, because there is no actual content about computing there.

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      From what I can gather it’s just some autoupdater tool, why would this intentionally use a lot of CPU?

      If the autoupdater were Windows Update, you wouldn’t have asked this question ;)

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      OK, I did science to it.

      I’ve got a 2019 MBP 16” with its built-in display set to HiDPI 720p, plus a pair of external 4K displays each at 60Hz, which is a decent amount of baseline work for the WindowServer process.

      In this experiment I observed the temperature, fan speeds, and 1m load average with iStat Menus. I observed the WindowServer CPU usage with Activity Monitor (set to 5s between updates). I took notes in Tot. Besides that, my work environment includes some background tools I left alone, and I ran no other user-facing applications besides Finder.

      First I restarted my computer and waited for its temperature and fans to settle, which I speculated would finish off any at-boot work. I then rebooted again, just to be sure any at-boot once-per-day work would not interfere with measurements.

      In this first trial, in Activity Monitor, I did see GoogleSoftwareUpdate start and finish its work. I waited for the temperature and fan to settle, and then found WindowServer CPU usage varying in a range of about 6%-9% over five samples.

      For a second trial, I followed these instructions to prevent launchd from running Keystone. I then rebooted again and followed the same procedure. This time I did not see GoogleSoftwareUpdate running in Activity Monitor. When the system settled, it settled to the same temperature, about the same fan speed, and about the same load averages. WindowServer CPU usage was again in the 6%-9% range over five samples.

      For a third trial, I followed Brichter’s instructions to remove both Chrome and Keystone. (I regret not capturing any version numbers, but I know I had made sure Chrome was current sometime this past workweek.) Again, the system settled at about the same measurements as before, and WindowServer CPU usage was in the 6%-9% range.


      In my measurements on an idle Mac after boot, removing Keystone and Chrome did not produce an observable difference in WindowServer CPU usage.

      Several people on Brichter’s Twitter thread have reported that they do see a difference. But those people have said, in the first place, they saw high WindowServer CPU usage before removing Chrome, and I did not.

      I can only imagine this is a “now you see it, now you don’t” kind of bug. It’s probably not malicious, but if others confirm it, it should be fixed.

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        Thanks for doing such a throughout test. I saw the responses from people on Twitter saying that it helped them, so thought I would share the page. I’ve yet to do any testing on my machine to see if it makes a difference.

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          My pleasure. Oh, this isn’t a refutation of your post; I don’t doubt the problem is real. Just trying to locate it.

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        I am slightly less suspicious of it since I saw that Loren Brichter is the author of that page. He’s a former Apple engineer who also made the Tweetie Twitter app, so not a nobody. I am still very skeptical.

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          And in Tweetie, he invented the Pull To Refresh mechanic we now use a hundred times a day. He was a role model for all of us working on phone apps in the early days of the App Store.

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          In general excess CPU in WindowServer is caused by apps sending lots of updates to the compositor, usually by forgetting to stop a 60fps animation when they’re in the background or when nothing is moving. You can generally find out which app is the culprit using the Quartz Debug tool from Apple and turning on the feature to flash screen updates, then using mission control to see all your windows at once and look for flashing.

          A lot of apps have bugs where some animation turns on but doesn’t turn off, which only happen sometimes, so this may be why not everyone experiences WindowServer CPU load from Chrome/Keystone.

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            There’s additional context in the author’s Twitter thread.