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I have an app ("Android File Transfer"), that adds itself to the System Preferences → Users & Groups → Login Items list. If I delete it with the "minus" button, the app re-adds itself next time it's launched. There is no option for controlling this in the app.

Is there any way to prevent an app from doing this?

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    Sound s like the app is seeing of it is in login items and if not it is adding itself back - You woiuld need to ask the app developers to chnage that
    – mmmmmm
    Jul 2, 2018 at 18:14

4 Answers 4

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Its kind of annoying but you can try locking the plist that controls login items.

  1. Navigate to `~/Library/Preferences/loginwindow.plist
  2. Select the file and press Command + I
  3. Check "Locked" enter image description here

Note: This will prevent all applications (and you) from adding or removing login items, so remove the application from login items and then lock the file.

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  • Thanks JBis. But what I found is that it is better to remove Chrome.app from macOS for good. For it does not do good upon macOS. Aug 13, 2019 at 7:12
  • There are 3 apps doing this on my machine and this solution only stopped one from adding itself back :/
    – brasofilo
    Oct 3, 2019 at 1:51
  • this does not work on macos v11.1
    – Alex Jones
    Jan 24, 2021 at 14:32
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Sometimes, upon installation, applications add files to the root level Library folder's /Library/LaunchAgents, /Library/LaunchDaemons or /Library/StartupItems subfolders that can result in the behavior you're observing. You will need Admin access in order to remove any files related to the "Android File Transfer" app that may be located in these folders.

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  • could not find android file transfer in any of these location
    – Alex Jones
    Jan 24, 2021 at 14:35
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Suppose I installed a bad app called X.

On recent macOS versions, there is a new type of notification:

Screenshot of the Background Items Added notification

In my case, this notification appears when an item is added to "Open at Login" by X.

"System Events" is a system automation API, you can block X from accessing the automation API of macOS by going into the Settings > Privacy and Security > Automation:

Screenshot of the Privacy & Security settings

Then you need to go back to the Settings > General > Login Items and remove X one last time.

Screenshot of the General settings

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    I had hope for this approach, but the apps that do this for me (Figma, MS Edge) don't even appear in the “Automation” list, but they register themselves on launch.
    – coreyward
    Mar 27, 2023 at 19:00
  • Apps can't register themselves to the "Login Items", but they can bundle another app in their own package, launch it as a separate app, and ask that one to register the main one. Sometimes, developers have no limit when they want to annoy the users.
    – Benoît P
    Mar 28, 2023 at 20:06
  • While I think macOS should ask the user for confirmation, the problem here really is on the hands of the developers who can't design their apps properly.
    – Benoît P
    Mar 28, 2023 at 20:08
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The best answer these days: find a replacement application

After a lot of looking around I eventually trashed Android File Transfer altogether and am trying https://openmtp.ganeshrvel.com

Not as pretty, that's it - if you don't want to deal a poorly behaved app, get rid of the app.

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  • If it says "Android" or "Chrome" or "Google," it's from NSA's biggest competitor. Reason enough to delete it in my book. :-)
    – WGroleau
    Nov 3, 2022 at 23:16

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