5 Ways to Stop Unwanted Startup Programs on Mac

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Clare Weaver

5 min read

Summary: This guide will cover what startup programs are and how to stop them from launching at Mac startup.

Have you run into some of these issues while using your Mac?

  • Mac boots up slowly.
  • Mac has lagging problems.
  • There are too many app windows opened after starting your Mac.

Actually, you're not alone. Read on to find out how to stop unwanted programs from launching at Mac startup.

5 Ways to Stop Apps from Opening on Startup on Mac

What Are Startup Programs on Mac?

Startup items, also called login items, are applications and services that run in the background when you start your Mac. You may have added some of them to startup by yourself, while others may not have had your permission.

Having some startup items can certainly improve your work efficiency. But having too many auto-login items will not only eat up your memory but also degrade the performance of your Mac. So, it's a good idea to go ahead and disable those unwanted startups.

How to Stop Startup Apps from the Dock

The easiest way to stop an app from opening on Mac startup is to use the Dock. Here're the steps.

  1. Launch the app you want to disable.

  2. Right-click on its icon in the dock.

  3. Untick the Open at Login option. (Do the reverse if you want the app to start automatically.)

    How to Disable Mac Apps from the Dock

How to Disable Login Items in System Preferences

Using System Preferences can help you stop apps from launching on startup in batches. Here's how.

  1. Click the Apple icon in the menu bar.

  2. Select System Preferences > Users and Groups > Login Items.

  3. In the Login Items list, you'll find all the apps that will start up when you log in to your Mac. Highlight the ones you want to disable, unlock the padlock in the lower-left corner, and click the minus button under the list.

    How to Disable Login Items on Mac in System Preferences
  4. Select the hide box next to the item if you don't want to see its window after login.

  5. Close the login window.

How to Remove Launch Daemons and Launch Agents in Finder

Even if you disable all your unwanted login items, you may still find some annoying startup services that start automatically when you boot your Mac. These startup services are Launch Daemons and Launch Agents, which can be found in your Library folder

Here’s how to remove them from the startup list using the Finder.

  1. Click the Finder icon in the dock.

  2. Press Shift + Command + G keys to open the Go to Folder window.

  3. Go over the following folders to remove the launch daemons and launch agents you don't need.

    How to Remove Launch Daemons and Launch Agents on Mac
    • /Library/LaunchDaemons
    • ~/Library/LaunchAgents
    • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons
    • /System/Library/LaunchAgents
    • /System/Library/LaunchDaemons
The last two folders, /System/Library/LaunchAgents and /System/Library/LaunchDaemons, are essential to your macOS, and you don't know what will happen to your system if you delete them by mistake. So it’s best just to leave them alone.

How to Stop Apps from Launching via App Preferences

Another way to prevent apps from opening on Mac startup is to use app preferences. Just launch the application you want to disable on startup, open its Preferences window, find the option to manage its startup, and change its status to Disabled.

Related Article: 4 Best Ways to Stop Spotify from Launching on Mac Startup

How to Easily Take Control of Startup Programs on Mac

You may have noticed that managing your startup programs using the these methods is not quite as efficient as you would like. Furthermore, your system may also be at risk if you delete some important files by mistake.

Luckily, we can introduce you to a safe and effective way to take control your startup programs. Introducing BuhoCleaner, a free and easy to use mac startup manager. Using this tool, you can disable and enable apps and startup services quickly and hassle-free.

Here's all you need to do.

  1. Make sure you have BuhoCleaner installed on your Mac.
  2. Launch it and click on the Startup Items tab.
  3. Click the Scan button, and you will see two lists: User Login Items and Startup Services.
    How to Quickly Change Startup Programs on Mac
  4. To disable an app, click the button next to it and change its status to Disabled.
    How to Disable Login Items on Mac with BuhoCleaner
  5. To disable a launch daemon or launch agent service, switch to Startup Service and change its status to Disabled. If you want to remove the service, right-click on it and select Remove from the drop-down menu. It's that easy!
    Quickly Disable Launch Agents and Daemons on Mac


Now you have seen some different approaches to disabling startup programs on your Mac. If you don't want to spend too much time dealing with startup problems, why not give BuhoCleaner a shot. Managing startup programs has never been easier.

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