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 want Slack to open right up for quick communications. However, if you are experiencing apps opening that you don’t want, there are a few ways you can change this.

In this short tutorial, we’ll show you how to stop Mac apps from opening automatically on startup or login.

Login Items in Mac's System Preferences

3 ways to stop Mac apps from opening automatically on startup

Follow these methods on your Mac. Make sure to go through all because some of the apps may not show in System Settings or the Dock that it’s set to open on startup, but that auto-launch option may be hidden inside that app’s settings.

1. From System Settings

On macOS Ventura and later:

  1. Click the Apple icon  and choose System Settings.
  2. Select General > Login Items.
  3. Select the app under Open at Login and hit the minus button (-) to remove it from the list.
Stop app from opening at login in macOS Ventura

macOS Monterey and earlier:

  1. Click  > System Preferences from the top menu bar.
  2. Choose Users & Groups.
  3. Select the user on the left if you have more than one added.
  4. Click Login Items on the right.
  5. You’ll see the items set to open automatically. To remove one, select it and click the minus sign.
Mac Login Items Screen

2. Do it from Mac’s 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

3. Check 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, inside 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

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.

Secondly, when you open a Mac app for the first time, it may show a checkbox asking your permission to open on startup. Make sure you don’t check that and permit unnecessary apps from launching automatically when you power on your Mac.

Do you have specific apps that open automatically? If so, which ones?

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