Mac OS X Lion Freezes – Is iTunes the Culprit?

I recently posted an article about Lion video freezes occurring with my new Mac mini. There were clear error messages, showing that this is related to the previous Lion video freeze problem I experienced.

Since then, I’ve a couple of other freezes, unrelated to video. And looking at the logs at the time they occurred, it looks as though iTunes is the guilty party, and, in particular, the usbmuxd process, which is a daemon used for communicating with iPods and iOS devices. My guess is that, with Wi-Fi updating, these devices remain “mounted,” as far as iTunes is concerned, and that, at times, iTunes looks for them and can’t find them.

I had a freeze this morning, but my music was still playing in iTunes, so I connected to the Mac mini via ssh. I was able to perform a number of operations, showing that, while the computer was frozen on a GUI level, this was not the case at the lower level. After about seven minutes, the Mac mini “unfroze,” and everything went back to normal.

At the time of the freeze, a number of messages were written to console logs:

11/22/11 11:42:15.758 AM com.apple.usbmuxd: _SendAttachNotification (thread 0x1012ea960): sending attach for device 5c:59:48:92:eb:ae@fe80::5e59:48ff:fe92:ebae._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.: _GetAddrInfoReplyReceivedCallback matched.
11/22/11 11:42:15.989 AM usbmuxd: _AMDeviceConnectByAddressAndPort (thread 0x102f81000): IPv4
11/22/11 11:42:16.482 AM ath: _AMDDeviceAttachedCallbackv3 (thread 0x101acd960): Device ‘AMDevice 0x102b73fe0 {UDID = XXX, device ID = 86, FullServiceName = 5c:59:48:92:eb:ae@fe80::5e59:48ff:fe92:ebae._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}’ attached.
11/22/11 11:42:16.482 AM ath: _AMDDeviceAttachedCallbackv3 (thread 0x101acd960): Device ‘AMDevice 0x102e1d840 {UDID = XXX, device ID = 86, FullServiceName = 5c:59:48:92:eb:ae@fe80::5e59:48ff:fe92:ebae._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}’ attached.
11/22/11 11:42:16.482 AM iTunes: _AMDDeviceAttachedCallbackv3 (thread 0x11f92f000): Device ‘AMDevice 0x7fcfa64775a0 {UDID = XXX, device ID = 86, FullServiceName = 5c:59:48:92:eb:ae@fe80::5e59:48ff:fe92:ebae._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}’ attached.
11/22/11 11:42:18.028 AM AppleMobileDeviceHelper: _AMDDeviceDetached (thread 0x19c32c0): Device ‘AMDevice 0x8df3bf0 {UDID = XXX, device ID = 85, FullServiceName = a4:67:06:45:79:cd@fe80::a667:6ff:fe45:79cd._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}’ detached.
11/22/11 11:42:18.230 AM AppleMobileDeviceHelper: _AMDDeviceAttachedCallbackv3 (thread 0x19c32c0): Device ‘AMDevice 0xbc62dc0 {UDID = XXX, device ID = 86, FullServiceName = 5c:59:48:92:eb:ae@fe80::5e59:48ff:fe92:ebae._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}’ attached.
11/22/11 11:42:44.522 AM com.apple.usbmuxd: _SendDetachNotification (thread 0x1012ea960): sending detach for device 5c:59:48:92:eb:ae@fe80::5e59:48ff:fe92:ebae._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.: _BrowseReplyReceivedCallback got bonjour removal.
11/22/11 11:42:44.522 AM ath: _AMDDeviceDetached (thread 0x101acd960): Device ‘AMDevice 0x102e1d840 {UDID = XXX, device ID = 86, FullServiceName = 5c:59:48:92:eb:ae@fe80::5e59:48ff:fe92:ebae._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}’ detached.
11/22/11 11:42:44.522 AM iTunes: _AMDDeviceDetached (thread 0x11f92f000): Device ‘AMDevice 0x7fcfa64775a0 {UDID = XXX, device ID = 86, FullServiceName = 5c:59:48:92:eb:ae@fe80::5e59:48ff:fe92:ebae._apple-mobdev._tcp.local.}’ detached.
11/22/11 11:42:44.522 AM iTunes: _NotificationSocketReadCallbackGCD (thread 0x10dd71960): Unexpected connection closure…

Note that I have replaced my device’s UDID by “XXX.” The device in question is my iPod touch; it’s the same UDID that shows up in every message.

So, is iTunes Wi-Fi syncing causing freezes? Anyone else seeing this?

Update: I’ve had about one freeze per day, and the last few freezes show GPU debug info in the Console logs, as described in this post, so I think it’s safe to rule out iTunes as the guilty party.

Update 2: It turns out that there is something wrong with the video card – since I get GPU debug logs in Console – but also, perhaps, a problem with the SSD. Apple is exchanging the Mac mini for a new one, and I should have the replacement in a week. In the mean time, it freezes several times a day…

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12 replies
  1. Keith Jefferies says:

    Kirk, despite my somewhat ridiculous remark about Parallel/VM, I am experiencing problems on my MacPro with Lion. It freezes about twice a week (requires power off and restart after the black fail message). Each time I have had iTunes open but I’ve sort of convinced myself based on Apples help data that it was an ADSL blip.

    Now I’m gonna look more closely when it occurs and see what the machine is really doing.

    By the way what does Apple do with the fail report that is sent to them each time this happens?

    Reply
  2. kirk says:

    I don’t know, I would assume they collate them to look for similarities.

    In this case, the Mac un-froze, so there was no report to send. However, I copied the log info, so if it happens again, I can compare it.

    You’re getting a kernel panic, though; that’s the black message you mention. That is often either low-level processes, or hardware issues. This said, it’s possible that iTunes, with some of the processes it uses to manage devices, could cause a kernel panic. I’d check the logs and see if there’s anything iTunes-related.

    Reply
  3. Michael Cohen says:

    Back when I was getting Lion freezes, that usbmuxd process usually showed up in the logs for me, too.

    Reply
    • kirk says:

      But that was before wi-fi syncing, right? I think that’s made a big difference in the way iTunes does things.

      Reply
  4. Matt Neuburg says:

    I think the wifi syncing is troublesome for various reasons (it appears to be a drain on device battery life, for one thing) and have turned it off on all my devices.

    Reply
  5. john says:

    Hi Kirk. Did the replacement machine solve the problem? Was the replacement the same model/osx as the problem one?

    I’m having a similar problem whereby the UI only attends to me once every thirty seconds. If I know where to click I can queue up clicks to shut things down. When iTunes dies things return to normal.

    Nothing in the logs about usbmux.

    Reply
      • Jim says:

        Having the exact same issue. 27″ iMac (late-2009) hangs frequently – logs point to iTunes wireless syncing. I disabled it on the devices for now, seems to have resolved it. We’ll see…

        Reply
  6. Markus says:

    Kirk, have exactly the same issue here, I am running 10.8 Server on a MacMini and have iTunes open all the time to serve all these iOS devices at home. Freezing only started after the upgrade to 10.8, I will monitor this and if necessary request a replacement. Thanks for your heads-up.

    Reply
  7. Shareef Yousef says:

    Same issue here, but only after upgrading to 10.8. Strange how a bug that was rarely encountered is somehow more prevalent AFTER an upgrade.

    Reply

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