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We all know that Mac OS X has the very useful Login Items functionality which lets you, among other things, set up apps/scripts to run when you log in.

I'm looking for a way to setup a list of scripts/apps that run when I log out. A "Logout Items" list, if you will.
Basically, I want to write a few little cleanup scripts for myself that will run automatically when I log out or shut down.

So, I'm looking for a way to have a script (or, ideally, list of them) automatically triggered when I log out. The log out would wait for the scripts to finish (just like how the logout waits for you to click Save if an app requests it).

Is there a way to automatically trigger (a) script(s) when I log out of Mac OS X?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Logout hooks were deprecated in 10.4, but they still work as of 10.9.

sudo defaults write com.apple.loginwindow LogoutHook ~/.logouthook
echo $'#!/bin/bash\nsay a' > ~/.logouthook
chmod +x ~/.logouthook

The value of the LogoutHook key can only be a path to an executable and not a shell command. The logout hook is run as root.

The defaults command modifies /var/root/Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow.plist. Adding a LogoutHook key to /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow.plist doesn't work.

If a logout hook takes long enough to run, a gray screen is shown until the logout hook terminates. There doesn't seem to be any time limit after which logout hooks are forced to terminate.

I haven't figured out any way to run programs on logout reliably with launchd. When I tried trapping signals like EXIT, the code in the trap was only run when I logged out to the login window and not when I shut down or restarted.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
  <key>Label</key>
  <string>test</string>
  <key>ProgramArguments</key>
  <array>
    <string>bash</string>
    <string>-c</string>
    <string>trap 'echo a>/Users/username/Desktop/a;say a' EXIT;while :;do sleep 10;done</string>
  </array>
  <key>RunAtLoad</key>
  <true/>
</dict>
</plist>
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Hmm, neither of those has worked for me. I've got this script, which works if I run it with sh (it creates that .txt file). I saved the script as /etc/rc.shutdown.local, and I added it with defaults as you said. Neither file was there already. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks! –  Nathan Greenstein Jul 1 '11 at 21:35
    
I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong or not. I'm on 10.6.8 and LogoutHook isn't working. I'd appreciate if if you could take a look at this screenshot and let me know if something looks wrong. Thanks! –  Nathan Greenstein Jul 2 '11 at 16:20
1  
Ah! That last one did the trick on 10.6.8. Thanks! One note though: it doesn't work with Lion :( –  Nathan Greenstein Jul 2 '11 at 19:57
2  
Both methods work fine on my Mountain Lion (10.8.2) machine, even when shutting down or rebooting. Note that the LoginHook/LogoutHook hooks run in the context of the root user, and that they are single, system-wide hooks, and that the login hook runs synchronously - much earlier than per-user launch agents; similarly, the logout hook runs earlier than a per-user launch agent that uses the EXIT-trap method. There are cases where only the hooks work; for instance, if you want to mute the sound on shutdown in order to suppress the Mac's startup sound, only the LogoutHook works reliably. –  mklement0 Nov 6 '12 at 22:59

Script Timer is a good choice for this. It can run at logout, login, and much more. I'd go with this for a simple and easy to use solution. It has a simple GUI:

Triggered action

There are two things you need to note about Script Timer. One, it is not free. It costs $12, but I personally think it's worth it. Two, it isn't fully compatible with Lion, but they have promised a free update as soon as they've made it compatible.

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