Apple ditching discoveryd for mDNSResponder in latest OS X 10.10 release

NetworkIconXHas your Mac been affected by Wi-Fi dropouts, short battery life, and the inability to maintain connections or discover devices on your network after having installed OS X Yosemite? If so, then the problem is likely going to be addressed in a significant way by Apple in the next update to OS X.

The problem is happening because of the introduction of a new DNS resolving service called “discoveryd” that Apple implemented in OS X 10.10 as a replacement to its long-standing mDNSResponder service. The new features of this service are relatively transparent to the end user, and only offer Apple more compatibility with its various iCloud and cloud sharing services.

However, the service was apparently pushed out before it could be properly refined, and introduced bugs and frustrations in OS X that stem from intermittent pauses to dropped connections, to the service taking up massive amounts of CPU and draining the battery on laptops.

While Apple has had three updates to OS X 10.10 so far, the issues with discoveryd have not been addressed, or perhaps have been too difficult to implement properly. Therefore, to fix this, it appears Apple is reinstating the tried-and-true mDNSResponder service. In the latest developer preview for OS X 10.10.4, Apple has removed discoveryd in favor of mDNSResponder, suggesting that its engineers are actively working on this issue.

One reason could be that this is a temporary patch to keep OS X running as expected while Apple re-works discoveryd, but it could also be that Apple is switching directions with the service and will be instating discoveryd’s features in mDNSResponder and then furthering OS X development with mDNSResponder instead. Therefore, while this change has made its way into the current OS X test builds, it may change in the final release.

The specifics of what is happening behind the scenes in OS X do not really matter for most people’s uses, but do suggest that we may see the domain name handling services in OS X undergo a few changes in the upcoming months, and likely address some of the recent frustrations users have had with OS X’s network stability.

discoveryd in Activity Monitor

The ‘discoveryd’ background service that is responsible for name lookups and other network service connectivity, is being replaced with an older but more stable technology.

3 thoughts on “Apple ditching discoveryd for mDNSResponder in latest OS X 10.10 release

  1. Ian Weir

    Where is Steve when you really need him. This probably wouldn’t have happened if he had been kicking butt at Apple. Cook doesn’t seem to really care.

    1. B. Jefferson Le Blanc

      It’s not like Steve Jobs didn’t make his share of mistakes, including pushing out products before they were ready. I credit Apple’s accelerated OS X upgrade schedule for the problems with OS X 10l.10. The Yosemite team was tasked with doing too much and not given enough time to do it right. I doubt Tim Cook is the only one responsible for this fiasco, though he is ultimately responsible for seeing that the problems are fixed. Just as important, has Apple – and Tim in particular – learned anything from these mistakes? If he did, whoever had the dumb idea to speed up the OS X schedule while trying to roll out a more than usually ambitious OS upgrade should be given his walking papers, without a golden parachute. He is too detached from reality to do his job properly. He obviously followed the Peter principle to the level of his incompetence. How much has all this extra development time cost Apple, not to say Apple’s customers? Let this bozo go and mess up someone else’s company – or find another line of work for which he is better qualified. If no one is fired or at least demoted over this, we’ll know that Tim himself is a less than incompetent manager, incapable of holding people responsible for their mistakes and dealing with them appropriately.

      Had Yosemite been given the necessary development time, this upcoming WWDC might have been an appropriate occasion to release it – and the Photos app could have been included rather than tacked on later. Bad planning can only have one result: Failure to one degree or another. Apple will survive this mess, but will they be any wiser for the experience? Don’t hold your breath. Big companies are by their very nature slow learners. The richer they are the more reluctant they are to acknowledge error, let alone do anything about it. Tim Cook has done some good stuff, like the development deal with IBM. But I’ve seen no evidence at all that he can discipline the company. This isn’t the only place where Apple has gotten sloppy. For all his reorganizing, the software side of the business is a rolling disaster. Aperture anyone? Or iTunes? As far as we can see from outside, Tim is oblivious.

  2. Guy

    Jobs didn’t go into this kind of minutia. If something didn’t work the way it was supposed to after being rolled out, he would direct that it get fixed or replaced. Pretty much what’s going on here.

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