Photos (VTEncoderXPCService) causes MacBook Pro to overheat

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by getrealbro, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. getrealbro macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2015
    After upgrading from 10.9 -> 10.11.1 when running Photos, the VTEncoderXPCService process consumes over 300% of CPU and the fans ramp up within a minute or so of launch. Killing the VTEncoderXPCService process only results in it relaunching within seconds.

    It doesn't happen on all Photos libraries. For example, when I open a 97GB library or a 157GB library, VTEncoderXPCService does not launch and the fans don't ramp up. These large libraries have mostly still photos and standard videos shot with a Canon elph.

    But VTEncoderXPCService causes the CPU usage and fan noise to get very high soon after opening a much smaller 25GB Photos library which contains mostly videos (many are slo-mo) taken with an iPhone 5s.


    MacBook Pro 15" (early 2011) with Intel HD Graphocs 3000 and AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics running OSX 10.11.1 and Photos 1.2
  2. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    That isn't indicative of the computer overheating; it'll shut off before it overheats.
    You can try repairing that library by holding the command and option keys as you launch Photos. Before you do that, open Photos and select the troublesome library, then do the rebuild, because there's no option in the rebuild process to select which library you want to rebuild. It'll then ask you if you want to repair the library.
  3. getrealbro, Oct 29, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015

    getrealbro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2015
    I did a little testing after….
    1 - cloning the offending Photos Library onto a portable firewire disk.
    2 - repairing the cloned library
    3 - opening the clone with Photos on my MBP and then an iMac both running 10.11.1*

    Repairing the library was “whistling in the graveyard”. i.e. the results of opening the cloned library on the MBP before and after repairs were essentially the same. Soon after opening the cloned (and repaired) library with the MBP, while just scrolling through the thumbnails, the VTEncoderXPCService process began consuming 300+% of the quad core CPU, the MBP overheated** and the fans ramped up to full speed. I quickly shut down Photos.

    I then moved the disk to the iMac and opened the cloned library with Photos. The results were dramatically different. While scrolling through the thumbnails the VTEncoderXPCService process came to the top of the CPU list. But it was using a much more moderate 35-70%. Still on the iMac while viewing several of the videos VTEncoderXPCService again topped the list. But stayed well below 100% of the iMac’s quad core CPU.

    So I moved the disk back to the MBP and reopen the cloned library. While scrolling through the thumbnails and/or viewing videos the VTEncoderXPCService process would come to the top of the Cpu list. But, like on the iMac, the VTEncoderXPCService process would typically consume less than 100% of the MBP’s quad core CPU.

    After repeating this series of tests with essentially the same results, I opened the library packages and compared the sizes of of the various library components. The big difference was the size of the resources, Thumbnails, and Previews folders. After being opened on the iMac these three folders were much larger.


    * Both the MBP and iMac are running the same clean install of 10.11.1. They only differ in user preferences, bookmarks, etc.

    ** I use the term “overheated” here to describe my MacBook Pro when it became too hot to hold in my hands for a minute or more.
  4. grockk macrumors 6502


    Mar 16, 2006
    Let it finish. Photos has to index for the 'play on mouse over'. It's normal for videos.
  5. getrealbro, Nov 1, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015

    getrealbro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2015
    Comparing the package contents of the original Photos library to the clone after it was opened on the iMac shows that Photos on the iMac added over 4.3GB of Thumbnails, Previews and resources. So it appears that Photos is doing more than simple indexing of the Photos library. Rather, when new photos/videos are imported, Photos uses the VTEncoderXPCService, etc. to significantly process the library in the background e.g. increasing the size of the original 30GB library by 15%. This background processing is no big deal on our iMac but it causes our MBP to get much hotter than I think is good for it*.

    In the future when using the MBP, I’ll only import photos/video into Photos libraries in small batches to reduce the time my MBP spends “cooking” :0


    * I’m sensitive to the heat and high fan noise because Apple recently replaced the Logic Board 2.2 GHz and MagSafe Board on our MBP. In the days just before the logic board failed the MBP was frequently running hot with the fans on high.
  6. upekkharich macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2008
    lil' rock, arkansas
    i think this issue is caused by syncing a new Photos library to iCloud
    mine only started this issue after I decided to let Photos handle my photos instead of manually
    i turn off syncing of Photos library to iCloud and it cools off again

    I'll just go back to manually managing and put them in Documents the iCloud outside of Photos

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5 October 28, 2015