How to Manage Mac Startup Programs

Just like Windows has a list of programs and applications that are set to run on every system boot, Mac computers have a list of programs that auto-launch on system startup. What is true for both operating systems is that if you install a lot of different application over time, the number of auto-start programs and apps might increase to the point where those apps are causing a global system slowdown.

This article will show you how to stop certain applications from launching automatically when you boot up your Mac. Thankfully, the process is pretty straightforward and simple.

Please, be aware that any programs you remove from this list will not auto-launch and you may have to spend more time waiting for them to launch from a manual start. Finding a good balance between applications you use often and need to be available faster, versus a manageable number of auto-start items so your system is not slowed down can be a bit tricky. That balance is different for each system and will depend on your specific needs and the way you use your computer.

There are a number of popular applications that are set to launch on system boot, but have their own dedicated option to disable that in their own menus. For the apps that do not provide such an option, do the following:

  1. Navigate to System Preferences, then Users & Groups.
  2. Click the Login Items tab on the right.
  3. Click the orange padlock icon near the bottom of the window to get permission to make changes. This will require entering your system password.
  4. Untick the boxes before the names of any applications you would like to stop from launching automatically on system boot.

The same interface also allows you to actually add programs and apps to the auto-start list. In order to do that, do the following:

  1. Navigate to System Preferences, then Users & Groups.
  2. Click the Login Items tab on the right.
  3. Click the orange padlock icon near the bottom of the window to get permission to make changes and enter your password.
  4. Click the plus symbol below the list of auto-start items. This will cause your Applications window to come up.
  5. Choose an application you want to have starting up on system boot. It should now appear in the list of apps with checkboxes next to their names.

You can repeat this process as many times as you want. Just keep in mind that those application will consume system resources and memory every time you boot your Mac. Try to find a good balance between usability and system load.

April 28, 2021

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