Preface: I don’t use iCloud. I don’t use an Apple ID. I don’t use the Mac App Store. I don’t store photos in the macOS “Photos” application, even locally. I never opted in to Apple network services of any kind - I use macOS software on Apple hardware.
Today, I was browsing some local images in a subfolder of my Documents folder, some HEIC files taken with an iPhone and copied to the Mac using the Image Capture program (used for dumping photos from an iOS device attached with an USB cable).
I use a program called Little Snitch which alerts me to network traffic attempted by the programs I use. I have all network access denied for a lot of Apple OS-level apps because I’m not interested in transmitting any of my data whatsoever to Apple over the network - mostly because Apple turns over customer data on over 30,000 customers per year to US federal police without any search warrant per Apple’s own self-published transparency report. I’m good without any of that nonsense, thank you.
Imagine my surprise when browsing these images in the Finder, Little Snitch told me that macOS is now connecting to Apple APIs via a program named mediaanalysisd (Media Analysis Daemon - a background process for analyzing media files).