Apple - Safe to kill spindump? (Older/slower machines)

It's probably safe to even disable them if you are not interested in the generated system analytics. Full procedure to do so is documented on Disable tailspind and spindump to Speed Up your Mac. In a nutshell:

  • Disable SIP
  • Unload/rename LaunchDaemon for spindump

    sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
    sudo mv /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/{,.bak} 
  • Do the same for

  • Enable SIP

You probably need to redo this with each macOS update.

If you have a backup of the Mac and know you can restore / reinstall and not lose data - sure kill spindump and see if it helps. Killing apps usually just corrupts the files it writes to and spindump just writes diagnostic logs, so it's about one of the safest things you could choose to kill abruptly on the Mac.

Since spindump is there to report on badly performing programs, perhaps looking at the logs or just not using the app that triggers it would be the way to go. here is an expert explanation that both the tailspin and spindump processes need to be removed. Keep in mind, this removal may only lasts only until the next macOS update gets applied.

This concludes the "I know my Mac is slow - can I disable spindump entirely or cause it to run and exit in 10 seconds." scenario since I can see an app that performs so badly, that it forever will queue up a new spindump process or have spindump never reach the point where it thinks your Mac is healthy enough to stop collecting signs of a temporary problem.

In almost all cases - I excessive presence of spins to hunt down these slow processes for our work Macs and look for long term solutions and be sure that the hardware isn't underpowered for the apps it needs to run. Slow HD is a sure sign that it's relocating blocks and about to fail, so I would make plans to be sure your data is protected - when the spinning drive fails it could be costly (several hundreds to tens of hundreds of dollars to recover).

  1. Be sure you have a backup
  2. Be sure your volume is journaled to minimize and repair or rebuild time if killing an app causes file loss or interrupts a write
  3. Start killing bad apps and take notes and names.