On macOS 10.12.5, I only see LaunchAgents in the Users Library directory. Are the agents only invoked if a user is logged in?

  • /Library/LaunchAgents/
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/
  • /System/Library/LaunchAgents/
  • /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
  • /User/username/Library/LaunchAgents/

1 Answer 1


Yes, LaunchAgents are only invoked when the user logs into a graphical session.

LaunchDaemons are typically launched when the system boots and are run outside of a specific user session.

The lauchctl manual page lists these folders with short descriptions:


  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents Per-user agents provided by the user.
  • /Library/LaunchAgents Per-user agents provided by the administrator.
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons System-wide daemons provided by the administrator.
  • /System/Library/LaunchAgents Per-user agents provided by Mac OS X.
  • /System/Library/LaunchDaemons System-wide daemons provided by Mac OS X.
  • Thanks Graham! Would you happen to know which user runs /Library/LaunchAgents launch agents?
    – sunknudsen
    Jan 4, 2021 at 16:03
  • 1
    Each user runs their own instance of the LaunchAgents entries. They launch when the user logs in. Jan 4, 2021 at 16:32
  • Does /Library/LaunchDaemons no longer exist?
    – Melab
    Apr 4 at 1:20
  • @Melab the folder /Library/LaunchDaemons exists, or can be created as needed, on macOS 14. Apr 4 at 6:02

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