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How to Remove Login Items on Your Mac: 5 Quick Ways

Remove login items on your Mac to declutter startup programs.

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Last updated: December 6, 2023

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To remove login items on your Mac, follow one of these methods:

  1. Open MacKeeper, click Login Items, start a scan, select the items to remove, and click Remove Selected Items.
  2. Click the Apple icon > System Settings > General > Login Items. Choose the items to remove and click the minus button.
  3. Right-click an app icon in the Dock, hover over Options, and uncheck Open at Login.
  4. Open Finder, click Go > Go to Folder. Enter /Library/LaunchAgents or /Library/LaunchDaemons. Find the file or folder to remove and drag it to the bin.
  5. Use in-app settings to remove login items.

If you’re like me, dealing with a slow Mac startup due to too many apps opening automatically can be annoying. I’ve been there, and I know it can really slow down getting started with your day. That’s why I’ve put together this simple guide to clear out those unnecessary login items and speed up your Mac’s boot time.

Before We Begin

Login items can significantly increase your Mac’s startup time. To reduce your Mac’s bootup time, download MacKeeper and use its Login Items feature to remove unnecessary items from the login items list.

How to Remove Login Items on Your Mac

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Excessive or outdated login items on your Mac can lead to sluggishness, security vulnerabilities, and privacy concerns. You should remove login items to reduce your Mac’s startup time and prevent security breaches.

Below, I’ve shared some quick and easy methods to find and remove login items on your Mac.

1. Delete All Hidden Login Items In a Single Click With MacKeeper

If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to manage your Mac’s startup items, especially those hidden ones that aren’t immediately visible, I recommend using MacKeeper. This software simplifies the process, allowing you to clean up your login items with just a single click.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download MacKeeper and install it on your Mac.
  2. Open Login Items under Performance in MacKeeper.
tap login items under performance
  1. Click Start Scan.
tap start scan
  1. Select unnecessary items from the list and click Remove Selected Items.
select the login items you want to delete and tap remove selected items
  1. Tap the Remove button on the pop-up.
tap remove on the pop up
  1. It will remove your selected items from the system startup list. You can click Rescan to repeat the process.
tap rescan

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides cleaning login items, MacKeeper offers a variety of features to enhance your Mac’s performance and security. You can use it to clear the cache on your Mac, delete duplicate files, and check your Mac for malware. Check out my detailed review of MacKeeper to learn more about its features.

2. Using System Settings

Now, if you prefer not to use third-party software, System Settings offers a built-in way to change your startup items on Mac. This method is straightforward and doesn’t require any additional downloads.

Follow these steps to check your login items in System Settings:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen and tap System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Select General and click Login Items in the right menu.
click general and select the login items tab
  1. Here, you’ll see the items that launch when you start up your Mac.
  2. Select the login item you want to remove and click the button at the bottom of the list to remove the login item.
select an item and click the minus icon to delete it

3. From the Dock

I’ve often found that some apps I use daily, like Mail or Safari, open automatically at startup. While it is useful, sometimes, I prefer a cleaner, faster boot-up. That’s where a simple trick using the Dock comes in handy, a method I personally use quite often for its ease and effectiveness. Unfortunately, it is only limited to the apps currently in your Dock, but still pretty handy.

Here’s how to remove an app from launching at startup using the Dock:

  1. Locate the application icon you want to remove in the Dock. Right-click the app icon, and a menu will appear.
right click the app icon
  1. Hover your mouse over Options from the menu. In the Options menu, uncheck Open at Login.
hover your mouse over options and uncheck open at login
  1. The application will no longer launch automatically when you log in to your Mac.
  2. Repeat this process for any other login items you want to remove from the Dock.

4. Using the Library Folder

For more advanced users, macOS provides another layer of control over startup items through the LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons folders. These folders contain files instructing the system which apps, services, or scripts to run at startup.

Here’s how you can use these folders to manage your startup items:

  1. Open Finder, click Go in the menu bar, and select Go to Folder.
click go in the menu bar and select go to folder
  1. Type any of the following paths in the box to access these folders:
type library launchagents
  1. Look for the file or folder associated with the login item you want to remove.
  2. Right-click the file or folder and select Move to Bin.
right click the file and select move to bin

5. Via App Settings

You can also remove login items on your Mac from the app settings. However, not all apps let you change their startup behavior from within their own settings. So, it’s best to use one of the methods I shared above. But if you have an app that offers this option, here’s how to go about it:

  1. Open an application for which you want to disable automatic startup.
  2. Within the application, go to the menu bar, click the app’s name, and select Settings.
  3. In the Settings window, look for a tab or section related to startup, login, or similar terms.
  4. Once you find the relevant settings, look for an option that allows the application to start automatically when you log in. This might be a checkbox or a toggle switch. Uncheck or toggle it off to prevent the app from starting automatically.
  5. Save your changes and close the window.

Risks Associated With Login Items on Mac

As someone who’s navigated the Mac ecosystem for years, I’ve come to appreciate the convenience of login items. However, I’ve also learned to be cautious about their potential risks. Balancing convenience with caution is key.

Here are some insights and tips about risks associated with login items based on my experience:

  • 🐌 Impact on System Performance: I’ve noticed that my Mac starts to drag when too many apps launch at startup. Each app nibbles away at the system’s resources, leading to longer boot times and a sluggish performance.
  • 🔒 Security Risks: When you add a login item to your Mac, you give it the ability to launch automatically every time you log in. If one of these items is compromised, it’s an open door for trouble. I’ve learned to be selective and cautious, especially with third-party apps, and only add login items from trusted sources.
  • 🕵️‍♂️ Privacy Concerns: Some apps can be nosy, collecting data without making it obvious. I’ve grown more vigilant about which apps I allow as login items, especially those that might track my activities. Always check the privacy policies of your apps and be wary of those with vague or extensive data collection practices.
  • 🔥 Conflict with other software: Some login items may conflict with other software. Due to this, your Mac crashes frequently or behaves in an unstable manner. This is especially true if the login item is outdated or incompatible with your operating system.
  • 🚀 High usage of system resources: Some login items consume significant system resources. Due to this, you may experience your Mac running slow or freezing. Too many login items can also lead to higher memory usage, causing your Mac to run out of memory.

Other Mystery Processes That Automatically Launch on Mac

Besides the methods I mentioned earlier, there are other ways in which apps launch automatically on macOS. If you come across a mystery process that you can’t trace through any of the methods mentioned above, it may be due to one of the following:

🧬 Kernel Extensions (kexts)Low-level features like peripheral support. Mostly part of macOS. Use uninstallers for third-party kexts./System/Library/Extensions
🗓️ CronsScheduling utility for repetitive tasks. Replaced by launchd in macOS.Used in Unix-based systems, including older macOS versions.
📜 Login ScriptsCommands executed at user login for tasks like launching apps or mounting drives.Common in older macOS versions.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Login Items on Your Mac

Now that you know how to identify and remove login items on your Mac, you can improve its performance and security. However, if you want to optimize your Mac further, here are some valuable tips:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are login items on Mac?

    Login items on Mac are the applications, files, folders, and scripts that launch automatically when you log in. They are typically stored in the Login Items section of your Mac’s settings. You can configure them through System Settings for a specific user account.

  2. Can I disable login items instead of removing them?

    Yes, you can disable login items instead of removing them to temporarily stop them from launching automatically at login. Disabling login items can help troubleshoot your Mac or speed up its startup time without completely removing the app or item.

  3. Will removing login items improve my Mac’s performance?

    Yes, removing login items will improve your Mac’s performance, as it reduces the resources used during startup. If you have multiple login items, each item must load its resources when your Mac starts up, taking up valuable system resources and causing your Mac to slow down.

  4. Are all login items harmful?

    No, all login items are not harmful. Some login items, such as your antivirus software or cloud storage app, can be useful. However, it’s essential to regularly review and remove login items you no longer need or that may pose a security risk to your Mac.

  5. Can login items be set up without my knowledge?

    Yes, login items can be set up without your knowledge or permission by some apps. It’s essential to regularly check your login items to ensure only the apps and items you want to launch automatically are set up as login items.

Hashir Ibrahim


I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.



Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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