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My MacBook will open applications (even when no applications were open on shutting down or restarting it) when it boots up. I checked the login items on system preferences and nothing should be opening.

  • Which applications? – Mark Jan 30 at 10:53
  • everything and anything that I was using in the previous session – Owen Diba Jan 30 at 10:58
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Yes - this can be disconcerting when you don't realize that the majority of the Apple apps save their system state and don't even need to be told to start or stop. You can have an app in the dock when it's not running and you can have an app running when it's not in the dock. (or the task switcher interface)

The simple way to reset this is to choose log out from the Apple menu and turn off the check mark below.

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Then log out, log in and log out again and verify the status if the check is disabled and the apps do not relaunch.

In some rare cases, this setting / preference could get corrupt, so I then turn it on (which is the opposite of what you want)- log out / log in - then turn it off (what you want) and before contacting support. Most of the time, just exercising the button a couple times is all that's needed if someone isn't aware to uncheck the button when they log out.

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    One thing I've noticed - anecdotally, I've never measured it - is that if you quit some/all apps then quickly reboot with the re-open checkbox set, they re-open, even though they were quit before you actually went through that dialog. It's almost as though there's a timer on the list of 'open' apps. Anything that 'was open in the minute prior to reboot' or something. – Tetsujin Jan 30 at 16:58
  • Wow -@Tetsujin - that would be interesting to observe. SSD internal drive? OEM or replacement? – bmike Jan 30 at 21:41
  • Of course, now I'm trying to get it to repro... it won't. I'll have to assume either 'fixed' behaviour since I last saw it or something else changed on this machine. It's not something I've ever kept a close eye on. – Tetsujin Jan 31 at 17:41
  • @Tetsujin I could totally see a race condition causing that to be much more likely to happen. Something like iCloud photo analysis running CPU or another background process nsurlsessiond not quitting in a timely manner effectively blocking some IPC or just plain old race condition / lock contention. – bmike Feb 1 at 3:05

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