Audacity 'pauses' on any editing

Audacity version: 2.0.5
OS version: 10.9.2

I updated my OS to Mavericks a few weeks ago, and my Audacity from 2.0.2 to 2.0.5 (using the .dmg installer, following the correct instructions). Ever since doing so, Audacity has been very prone to becoming unresponsive to any form of editing. After about 10 minutes of work, Audacity will become unresponsive for about 20 seconds or so (with the Spinning Disk of Doom) before performing the edit. I work on podcasts with a length of 60-90 minutes, and previous Audacity versions had very few problems handling this. I make many edits, tightening speech and altering volume levels on multiple tracks, and having to wait so long is incredibly frustrating when I make hundreds of edits per show. I don’t receive any error message, just the unresponsiveness.

Can anyone suggest why Audacity may be presenting these problems?


Where is the directory for the projects you are working on? If these are unsaved projects, where is the Audacity temporary directory? You can check the temporary directory at Audacity > Preferences: Directories. Network drives can be slow.

How much space is on these drives while the project is open?

If the projects are unsaved, try saving them then File > Close the projects and reopen them. This will mean that the undo history is removed which could be many GB’s of data. If the projects are already saved, discard history at View > History… .

Are you doing other disk-intensive operations while working in Audacity?


Go > Utilities > Activity Monitor. My MBP was acting wacky and it turned out an indexing process was jammed full on and stuck taking one entire processor core with it.

%CPU = 93.5

Activity Monitor has listings of processes running and graphics to tell you what the machine is doing. When you do find something soaking up your whole machine, Google the process to see what it is if you don’t already know. Mavericks isn’t like Snow Leopard.


Hi Gale - the projects are saved versions on my internal HDD, no network drive and not on an external HDD. I habitually save and re-open after any track-wide action to avoid such a situation. I tend to have Safari with 4-5 tabs open, along with the Apple e-mail app, itunes, skype, Apple twitter app and a .pdf/.cbr viewer open. Nothing that I’d consider intensive at all.

Hi Koz - I’ll monitor this when I’m editing tonight, I suspect you may be correct and I’ll let you know what happens.

Thanks for the responses.

OK, it’s not to do with a process eating up processor resources. Nothing I’ve got going takes up more than 6% CPU.

Everything seems to work fine, until the moment I make another window/program active (alt+tab). Then the pauses kick in and I have to restart Audacity to clear them.

MacBook Pro?
How are you editing in Audacity when Mac focus is somewhere else?
Are you on Shore Power (power adapter)?

Hi Kos,

it’s a standard 21.5 inch iMac, late 2012. Things that cause me to alt-tab out include twitter notifications, Facebook notifications, needing to check something on my master list for the show on google drive, etc. When I alt-tab back, the pausing begins.

I doubt this is the answer but so we know, right-click or CTRL + click over the Audacity 2.0.5 application, choose “Get Info”. Check (tick) the box “Prevent App Nap”.


Mavericks is much more aggressive about “wasting” computer resources and so has provision to isolate and suspend processes it thinks don’t need servicing Right This Second. In 10.9.1, this service resulted in flashes of Spinning Beach Ball of Death here and there as the system rapidly shifted gears. That was annoying, so 10.9.2 loosened up the administration and I haven’t seen that effect since.

But you have several real-time applications that use sound services and never stop running. Jury’s out. I have no idea how OS-X handles that.

The up side is my MacBook Pro battery life increased.


Do you use Time Machine? Have you noticed that the Time Machine icon no longer spins, but just changes into a different still icon? That’s to avoid “wasting” resources on the 5mm wide animation.

I liked that spinning icon. I thought the clock moving backward was a nice elegant touch that I bet nobody noticed.


Hi all,

I managed, with some discipline, to avoid alt-tabbing which meant that Audacity has been mostly behaving. But over the past few days it’s been lagging again, and after checking Activity Monitor, it appears that the guilty CPU-hogging process is mdu_stores. I’ve tried disabling it (there’s a common script command I’ve found in google) but within minutes it’s back, hogging my system resources and causing audacity to slow right down. Has anyone got any suggestions on permanently putting the bullet in the head of this resource hog?

Do you mean mds_stores (Spotlight indexing)? How much CPU usage is it taking?

Have you tried

sudo mdutil -a -i off

as per ?

This doesn’t kill the mds_stores process on my Mac but I assume it stops the indexing which is the cause of the CPU use.

If not, what happens if you go to System Preferences > Spotlight, click the “Privacy” tab and add your Macintosh HD to the indexing exclusions?

The other question is, why does the indexing take so much CPU on your Mac but not other Macs? If you initially installed Mavericks over a previous version of OS X, have you tried reinstalling 10.9.2? This fixes hangups and excessive CPU usage on some Macs.


I am also having this problem in that as I edit it pauses and will not let me do anything. The only thing that is different is that it will not continue after 5 minutes at this point. I have tried quitting the program, shutting down my computer, a total of 6% running on the activity monitor, and I check the “Prevent App Nap” box. I usee to be able to make a few edits but now I can not even make 1 edit after opening the file I saved.

I have a MacBook Pro 10.9.2 and also just updated to Mavericks.

Do you have the hard drive icon in the upper right corner? Control-Click on it > Get Info. Read Capacity and Available, or do a Shift-Command-4 and draw a box around that panel. That will screen grab and you can post that picture here.


Do you mean there is a total of 6% CPU used, or 6% is used by user or system, or that Audacity is using only 6% of available CPU cycles?