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How to find and remove the 'mshelper' malware on your Mac

Activity Monitor on Mac
Activity Monitor on Mac (Image credit: iMore)

Mac users around the web are reporting that new malware affecting macOS is circulating under the name mshelper. The malware apparently causes a Mac's processor to run near 100%, which could prevent other applications from performing well or, in some cases, at all. Continually running the processor at its maximum capacity also has the effect of draining a Macbook's battery more rapidly which will have an adverse effect on its overall health.

If you're experiencing these problems and think it might be due to the mshelper malware, know that you can remove it from your system. Here's what you need to do.

How to check your Mac for mshelper

To see if mshelper is running on your Mac, you're going to need to open up Activity Monitor.

  1. Open Activity Monitor from your Dock or Utilities folder.
  2. Click CPU if it isn't already clicked.

  1. Click Process Name to place all of the processes in alphabetical order, or %CPU to place them in the order of largest percentage of the processor that they're using.
  2. Scroll through the list until you find mshelper. When sorting by processor usage percentage, it should be near the top.

The process automatically starts up again if you kill it, so there's really no need until you remove mshelper from your system.

How to remove mshelper

These steps involve going into your Mac's Library folder.

  1. Open a new Finder window.
  2. Click on your Mac's internal storage.

  1. Open the Library folder.
  2. Open on the LaunchDaemons folder.

  1. Right-click, Control-click, or two-finger-click (when using a trackpad) on com.pplauncher.plist.
  2. Click Move to Trash from the menu that appears.
  3. Click the Back arrow in Finder.
  4. Click Application Support.

  1. Right-click, Control-click, or two-finger-click (when using a trackpad) on the pplauncher folder.
  2. Click Move to Trash from the menu that appears.

Questions?

If you have any questions about removing mshelper from your Mac, be sure to let us know in the comments.

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

2 Comments
  • I recently bought my first Mac, a refurbished 27" imac. One of the reasons was the "insistence" by Mac owners that there was "no such thing" as malware on a Mac. Oh well.
  • I don't mean to sound condescending, but to say a certain computer is safe from malware, is the same as saying a piece of furniture is completely unbreakable. Of course, the Mac certainly has less malware made for it as opposed to Windows, as for the people that make this malware they want to target the big businesses which are usually running Windows, not to mention there are more people using Windows overall. Macs are pretty secure in their default state; all Mac App Store apps are vetted and restricted to what they can do, and if you download an application from the internet it won't let you install it if it doesn't have a recognised certificate (you can bypass it if you truly believe the software is safe). The main three things to keep safe are:
    - Keep your Mac and applications updated
    - Install trusted software (your Mac will stop you if you try to install something unknown)
    - Run a virus scan once a month If you follow just these three things, I highly doubt you will run into any malware.