The Mac Os X Runner Process Explained

The Mac Os X Runner Process Explained
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Suffering from Mac OS X Performance Issues?

If you’re experiencing problems with your Mac during or after the installation of a new application, the chances are that the issue originates with the OS X runner process. This program controls the installation of new software to your Mac, but unfortunately in some cases can experience issues, leaving your Mac hanging.

While this might seem like a minor issue to some, it can prove to be pretty frustrating when it begins to re-occur regularly.

Forcing an exit from the installer program (which is probably still running) is probably the best way to put an end to this issue – but how do you avoid it occurring in the first place?

Detecting Problems with the OS X Runner Process

It is one thing to discuss the problem, of course – but how exactly do you diagnose problems with the Runner process?

If your Mac is running slow with fans at an audible level, the chances are that your computer is under some sort of heavy load. You can find most causes of this behaviour by checking the running processes in the Activity Monitor, available via Applications > Utilities.

Activity Monitor will display the name of a running process, the amount of memory in use and the share of the CPU that the process is using, allowing you to make a judgment as to whether or not the process should be closed if it is causing any problems.

In cases where your Mac hangs as you install an application, however, you will see that the Runner process is taking up considerable resources. The best way to deal with problems such as this is to kill the process – in most cases the application should have installed, with the Runner hanging at the end of the installation routine.

To end a process in Mac OS X, select the item in the Activity Monitor and select Quit Process from the menu.

Runner Problems Installing Applications and Updates

Unfortunately it isn’t only applications that experience problems in the installation stage thanks to a stuck Runner process in OS X – system updates from Apple can also experience issues.

When this happens you are potentially in a dangerous area. While Mac OS X updates are designed by Apple to run smoothly and not cause any problems with your computer if they fail to complete, the possibility remains that this might happen at some point.

Thanks to the steps Apple has taken to protect your computer from problems in the update procedure, restarting your computer during an update might result in the update restarting and the Runner process hanging once again. The best way around this would be to reboot into Safe Mode by holding Shift as your Mac boots, and then on the login screen click Restart.

With the faulty update cancelled, shut down your Mac and then use the standard Mac utilities (such as Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility) to check for any problems with your Mac. You might also consider restarting your computer and resetting the PRAM.


  • Author’s own experience.