How to stop Mac apps from opening automatically on startup or login

You might like to have some apps open automatically each time you start or log into your Mac. For instance, if you use a Mac for work, you might like Slack to open right up for quick communications. However, if you are experiencing apps opening that you do not want, there are a few ways you can change this.

This short tutorial shows you how to stop Mac apps from opening automatically on startup or login.

Mac Login Items List Screen

Stop apps from opening using System Preferences

You can see all of the apps that are set to open automatically when you log in by accessing your System Preferences.

1) Click the Apple icon > System Preferences from your menu bar.

2) Choose Users & Groups.

3) Select your user on the left if you have more than one added.

4) Click Login Items on the right.

5) You’ll see all items set to open automatically. To remove one, select it and click the minus sign.

Mac Login Items Screen

Stop apps from opening using your Dock

If there is a particular app that keeps opening automatically, you can quickly change this from your Dock, assuming the app is there permanently or as a recently-used app.

1) Right-click or hold Control and click the app’s icon.

2) Go to Options in the pop-out menu.

3) If Open at Login is checked, click it to uncheck it.

Mac Uncheck Open at Login App Dock

Stop apps from opening using its in-app settings

Some apps like Spotify and Facebook Messenger notoriously do not appear in the System Preferences list of apps that launch on startup. Even when you right-click their name in the Dock, “Open at Login” isn’t checked. This makes a normal person think the app will not automatically launch when Mac restarts. But such apps do open on their own.

The only way to prevent these apps from launching automatically when you switch on your Mac is to find their appropriate setting inside the app and turn it off.

For example, in the Spotify app, press Command + , (comma) to see its preferences/settings. Next, click Show Advanced Settings, and under Startup and window behavior, choose No.

Stop Spotify from opening automatically on Mac start up

Related articles

For related articles, check out these how-tos. Or, head to our tutorials section for other helpful articles.

Wrapping it up

While it’s convenient to have certain apps open automatically when you start or log into your Mac, there are others that you just don’t need and get in the way when you start your day.

Do you have specific apps open automatically? If so, which ones? Feel free to comment below or ping us on Twitter with your thoughts.