How To Remove Startup Items On Mac: 6 Easy Ways

remove startup items on mac

Remove Startup items on mac are those services and applications that launch every time you start or switch on your Mac.

They are those applications that creep up as a part of your startup items without any note, never asking if you need or want them there with you when you fire up your mac. 

If you want to keep your Mac from opening all those random apps that you never use, If you want to customize what apps automatically launch with your Mac.

If you want to make sure only your favorite apps load the next time you open your mac, then this blog has all the solutions for you.

Here’s a step-by-step, crystal-clear tutorial on changing what apps start up with your Mac. And no, you don’t have to be a computer scientist to do this!

Here is How To remove startup items on mac

  1. Uncheck The Box In System Preferences
  2. Change the Apps directly from the Dock
  3. Use Finder to disable or enable start-up apps
  4. Use Mackeeper
  5. How to delay the opening of start-up apps
  6. Catch the malicious start-up apps on your MacBook.

What Are Startup Items And Why Are They There?

These are apps, services, and processes that start as soon as you open your MacOS.

This is a helpful feature most of the time. Like you will have the antivirus software running behind you the entire time, just like it should right?

But then there are also some unnecessary apps and services that clog your system and drain your mac’s battery every time you open your mac os. Apple however gives you options to edit those.

How To “Remove”, “Modify” And Add Items Manually

1. Uncheck The Boxes In System Preferences

This is the basic and the most simple method to change your startup programs, here is how you can do it-

  1. Open system preferences on your Mac
Opening system preferences on your Mac

2. Locate ‘ Users & Groups ‘

Locating ' Users & Groups ' under system preferences
  1. Click on your own account name on the left sidebar.
  2. Choose the tap that says ‘Login items’
  3. Remove the apps you want but clicking on them and pressing the minus button.
Removing apps using the minus button

6. If you want the app but don’t want to see it, then click the Hide box instead

In the given case that you want to add some items instead of removing them, do it by clicking on the plus button beside the desired app.

2. Change the Apps directly from the Dock

You can simply remove or add a startup app with just by a few clicks on the dock. Here is how you can do this-

  1. Go to the dock and keep in mind the apps you wanna enable or disable.
  2. Right-click on the said app
  3. Click on options
  4. In the menu that will be shown to you next, check or uncheck ‘Open at login’ as per your preference
Removing the apps directly from the doc

Now, if you have put a check on an app, then the app will be visible to you at the time you start your system. You can also simply uncheck it with the same process if you don’t want the app to be there.

3. Use Finder to disable or enable start-up apps

Disabling or removing files via dock or system preferences does not allow you to remove those apps that are not on the login items list, like launch agents and daemons. 

These are the startup items that are used to run other apps but cannot be removed as a start-up the item along with them. This is how you can do it using finder-

  1. Open Finder on your Mac
  2. In the top menu, click on ‘Go’
  3. Press and hold the ‘Option’ key for a few seconds
  4. A drop-down menu will appear, click ‘Library’
  5. Open the folder that says ‘Launch agents’
  1. Choose and delete any startup items you don’t need or don’t want.
Using finder to disable or enable start up apps

Alternatively, you can also delete these under the library in your mac’s system, but that is not recommended. This is because you might not be aware of some delicate items, deleting which could cause malfunctions.

Like deleting antivirus software as a startup item might let viruses or malware into your mac.

4. Use Mackeeper

Mackeeper is dynamic in its functionalities. It not only protects your laptop by providing anti-virus, memory keeping, and other features, but it also has a feature to remove start-up items on your mac.

It’s one of the perfect third-party apps for optimization that is not only thorough but also seamless to use. Here is how you can use mackeeper to remove startup items on your mac-  

  1. Launch Mackeeper on your Mac
  2. On the left-hand menu bar, Choose login items
  3. In the menu shown next, choose ‘Rescan all’ to scan all your items
  4. The scan will take a few minutes to finish.
  5. After the scan is finished, click on untick the boxes next to the list of startup items, to remove or add them.
  6. Choose ‘Remove selected items

Mackeeper will also give you information about which apps you can delete whilst which you should not. It will provide you with the functions of each mac startup program so you can decide for yourself. 

5. How to delay the opening of start-up apps-

Disabling some apps as startup items on your PC can be tricky. Deleting one wrong item can cause your system to malfunction. Not to talk about all the more time you will take to discover what you did wrong.

Lucky for you, there’s an easier solution. Rather than removing apps completely from your Mac, you can simply delay the opening of these apps, here is how you delay the start-

We’ll do this by using the delay start app. So, first, go on and download the app.

  1. Remove the apps you want to be delayed from the list of login items. 
  2. Now add the delay app to the list, and click on the add (+) button to do this.
Delaying the start of applications

3. Next, launch the delay start app.

4. Click the Add button to add the apps and set the time you want the particular app to get opened after. 

5. Enter the time in seconds, in the time-setting box on the screen.  

setting the delaying time for your mac

Your chosen apps’ launch will now be delayed when you restart your Mac.

6. Catch the malicious start-up apps on your MacBook.

There exist malicious browser extensions that inject ads into your search results along with malware. Both of them aim to steal your data.

They do this by fulfilling their primary goal by acting like a startup item and running in the background for every macOS session.

This “Persistence” technique of malware ensures that it’ll get executed immediately by the OS on startup. If you believe something of the sort might be happening with you and there’s malware on your system, you can check the login items and remove the unknown app. 

But remember, these attackers are smart. They don’t want you to see any app that makes you suspicious so they use different tactics to hide it instead. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t expose these hidden components in the macOS interface. But we have a solution for you.

Inspect your mac with these Launchagents & Launchdaemons folders.

  1. /System/Library/Launchdameons (for native macOS processes)
  2. /Library/LaunchDaemons (for installed third-party apps)
  3. /Library/Launchagents(for all user accounts)
  4. ~/Library/Launchagents (for a specific user account)
  5.  /System/Library/Launchagents (managed by macOS since OS X 10.11)
Launching agents through the system's library

In case the malicious items have already been taken to your mac, you should consider mac boot options and modes.


The Dock is a great place to keep your Mac’s apps, but it’s not always stable.

And, if you have several apps with preferences set to open automatically upon login, things might start to feel a bit cluttered.   

Apple has actually made it easy to rearrange your icons, and we have made it even easier for you through these five ways for changing what applications launch automatically when you sign in to your Mac. 

Hope we could help!