How to remove startup items on Mac?

Probably there are numerous apps running in the background and launching at login on your Mac. If there are too many of them, they may start consuming too many system resources, thus slowing your Mac down. So, consider managing startup items; keep on reading to find out how.

What are startup apps? 

Startup apps — or login items — are services and applications that launch every time you start your Mac. They may be helpful, checking your Mac for malware or software updates, but, mostly, they are never asking if you need or want them there.

This way, you may end up with a dozen apps opening as soon as you turn on your Mac, weighing heavily on its processor and memory capacities and slowing it down. Such items can increase your Mac’s startup time and decrease its performance.

Plus, sometimes, when you remove an application or a service, it leaves a login item with a broken link. These broken login items are completely useless, cause unwanted messages, and waste your Mac’s resources (because they look for non-existent applications). 

So, let’s go over how to take control of login items and how to get rid of unwanted, broken, or hidden startup items.

How to disable startup programs

How to change or remove startup programs in one click

Do you want to stop programs from running at startup? There’s an easy way to remove programs from startup and get your Mac to load faster on launch. The fastest way to turn off startup items on Mac is an app like CleanMyMac X. This tool is notarized by Apple and does lots of helpful things.

CleanMyMac X - Login items

  1. Download CleanMyMac X for free here.
  2. Open the app.
  3. Go to the Optimization tab.
  4. Click on Login items.
  5. From the list of apps, disable the ones you don’t need at startup. Done!
How to fix broken items in startup

How to change startup programs in System Settings

Disabling Mac startup programs is possible manually. Therefore, if you have some time and would like to do it yourself, follow the steps below.

Your login items are listed in System Settings. One of the easiest ways to control startup items is inside System Settings:

  1. Open System Settings.
  2. Go to General > Login Items
  3. Select an app and click the “–” sign below. 
System Preferences - Login Items

You’re done! If you need to add an item back, click “+” and choose the app you’d like to add. Then restart your Mac to see the changes.

While in this tab, it is also a good idea to check apps under Allow in the Background section and turn off whatever you do not need or want running in the background and consuming system resources.


If you run macOS versions older than Ventura, the steps are slightly different: 

  • Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups. 
  • Select your name. 
  • Click Login Items. 
  • Deselect any app you do not need. 

You may need to click on the lock icon and enter your admin credentials to make changes. 

Other ways to manage Mac startup items — the Dock and Library folder — are the same for both old and new macOS versions.

How to manage startup items from the Dock

Another convenient way to manage login items on your Mac is to use the Dock. From the Dock, you can both enable and disable app launch at Mac login. To remove startup programs:

  1. Find the app you want to disable. 
  2. Right-click it. 
  3. Click Options and deselect Open at Login. 

If you want to have an app launch at startup, make sure Open at Login is selected. 

How to change startup items in Library folder

Daemons and launch agents are another variety of startup items. They are not apps but rather parts of other apps, like Chrome Updater inside the main Chrome app.


When removing anything from the Library or System folders, always double-check what you are about to send to Trash. If necessary, conduct a quick online search to ensure that whatever you selected for deletion can be removed safely without affecting the work of macOS.

To sort out these little agents, we’ll paste their locations in the Finder: 

  1. Open Finder and click on the Go in the top menu bar.
  2. Paste in /Library/StartUpItems and press Return. 

Here you’ll find all the startup files that are being launched with the system. You can delete the login item you think is necessary if you’re totally sure what you are doing.

In the same manner, paste two more locations using the Finder > Go menu:



The /Library/LaunchDaemons folder contains a bunch of preference files that define how the application that is being launched along with the system should work. You might want to delete some of these files as well if you know you don’t need them and removing them is safe.

The /Library/LaunchAgents contains preference files responsible for the apps that launch during the login process (not the startup).

The abovementioned folders contain app-related files. However, you can also check system folders to review whether you need some of the system applications to be running at startup:

  1. /System/Library/LaunchDaemons — note that besides preference files, this folder contains other important system items that are recommended to keep untouched.
  2. /System/Library/LaunchAgents — most probably, you won’t also find anything worth removing in this folder. However, keeping this location in mind might help you find files related to a problematic app that causes troubles on Mac startup. If you have a problematic application that messes about on login, you can try to trace it back from this folder.
How to change startup programs

Which apps should you remove from startup?

You might be surprised to find some apps on the Login Items list and allowed in the background in System Settings. Naturally, you might be wondering which apps to remove. The answer is easy and straightforward — remove whatever does not improve your user experience. But keep in mind that apps guaranteeing your Mac’s safety, such as reliable antimalware software, should launch at startup. 

Following the steps we provide in this article, you can easily get rid of unneeded startup items. But if you’re looking for simple ways to remove login items, we suggest using a professional Mac utility. Download CleanMyMac X from the developer’s official website and make unwanted and broken login items a thing of the past.

Frequently asked questions 

Is there any use of startup items?

A lot of login items are there to make your Mac user experience more convenient. Having apps open at login saves your time because you can start using them right away. Allowing apps to run in the background, based on their functionality, can keep them up to date, sync data, or protect your Mac.

Do I need to remove startup items from Mac?

Basically, no. But if you notice that your Mac is slow at startup, you can disable them to see if it helps improve performance. The thing is that such apps consume valuable resources and may make your Mac sluggish.

Is it safe to allow apps to run in the background and start at login?

If the app comes from a trusted developer, yes. Note, though, that some malware can sneak onto your Mac and add unauthorized login items or run in the background. So, if you find anything suspicious in System Settings > General > Login Items or the Library and System folders, take your time to disable and remove such apps after some research and run a quick virus scan to find and delete any potential threat. 

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