I checked system preferences (screenshot attached). They are not listed there.

System preferences - Login Items

I checked the folders mentioned in this question, but they are not listed there:

# Nothing
grep -i -R photo /Library/Launch*/*
grep -i -R photo /Users/$(whoami)/Library/Launch*/*
sudo grep -i -R photo /Library/Preferences/*

When I right click on one of the icons in the dock, all I see is a "Remove from Dock" option. I click this every time my computer starts up.

Remove from dock in right click menu

How do I stop these applications from putting themselves into the dock on startup?

I'm on OSX Yosemite 10.10.5 if it makes a difference.

  • To clarify, do the applications actually open on startup, or do the icons just appear in the dock on startup? Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 16:02
  • 1
    That last picture would have been a whole lot more informative had we been able to see to the bottom of the screen. A black dot under an app icon in the Dock indicates whether or not it's running.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 17:42
  • @Tetsujin The app is not currently running otherwise Quit would be shown in the menu instead of Open.
    – grg
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 18:52
  • Ah, wires crossed... ignore me ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 18:59
  • @AlistairMcMillan Sorry for the confusion - the applications do not open on startup, they just take up space in the dock. Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 23:28

3 Answers 3


This should solve your problem: https://jamfnation.jamfsoftware.com/discussion.html?id=12266

You have to edit the following file: /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/com.apple.dockfixup.plist

Right below <key>add-app</key>, you can remove all the <dict>...</dict> related to the apps you don't want to appear in the Dock on startup.

It looks like this file cannot be edited anymore with El Capitan due to the System Integrity Protection (SIP). See this discussion about it.


You can remove (non-running) application icons from the Dock by clicking "Remove from Dock" in the menu shown in your screenshot (or by dragging them from the Dock to the desktop with the Shift key pressed).

  • Thanks, this is how I remove them every time, but they still come back at startup. Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 19:31
  • This technique Does. Not. Work. If it did, the question would not need to exist.
    – Dave Land
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 17:05

If you are satisfied with a "brute force" technique that does not involve disabling System Integrity Protection, and don't mind having three "dividers" in your dock (in place of the Apple SPAM apps), you can replace their "Contents" with the "Contents" of a bare-bones app that does nothing (so much so, in fact, that it is called "Nothing.app" and it does nothing except to launch, quit, and serve as a divider in the dock).

I created "Nothing.app" by starting a new project in Xcode, giving it an icon reminiscent of an earlier generation of the Mac OS X Dock Divider (one that looks a bit like crosswalk stripes), then stripping out everything except the menus "About Nothing" and "Quit."

You can download a zip file containing "Nothing.app" here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6lb8m35nufnd1mz/Nothing.app.zip?dl=0

If you're uncomfortable downloading an app from a stranger, you can stop here. Otherwise, you can examine the contents of the app and see that it is just the husk of an app.

  1. In the dock, right-click any Apple SPAM app you want to eliminate (say, "iBooks") and choose Options > Reveal in Finder.
  2. Right-click iBooks and choose "Duplicate" to keep an unmodified copy in case you actually want to use it at some point in the future. This copy will not be kept up to date by the App Store.
  3. Right-click the original iBooks again and choose "Show Package Contents"
  4. In another finder window, right-click Nothing.app and choose "Show Package Contents"
  5. Drag the "Contents" folder from "Nothing.app" into the "iBooks.app" folder.
  6. Choose "Replace" (you will be prompted to authenticate yourself, as Apple's SPAM apps are protected against casual modification).
  7. In the dock, double-click iBooks
  8. The "Nothing" app will launch, and the iBooks icon will change to a divider.
  9. Drag the divider anywhere in the dock that you want it.
  10. Repeat with Photos and Maps, if desired.

PS: I have not had this in place through an update from Apple of any of the SPAM apps: it is possible that this change will be replaced when the app is updated, so keep a copy of Nothing.app handy to redo the "Contents" replacement, if desired.

  • The App Store keeps offering to update iBooks and I keep ignoring it. The one time I did, I had to repeat all of the above again.
    – Dave Land
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 15:10

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