Spotify auto-launches even if I tell it not to from within its own preferences.

It does not seem to be started through any of the "classic" means of auto starting a program - i.e. Login Items or user or global launch agents.

Is there any way to turn off this sort of 'modern login items' in general? (official name: shared helper applications)

Extra points for preventing auto-launching of any apps, especially after MacOS crashed.

  • I understand you wish to get people to vote to reopen this. I’ve notified the mod team so you can be sure to get some eyes on this. Have you read through the process on reopening? apple.stackexchange.com/help/duplicates it’s not clear to me how this isn’t properly closed based on the wording as I write this comment. Perhaps showing some research or defining technically what constitutes a modern log in would help us help you. – bmike Sep 15 at 0:19
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    This question has now been marked as already answered, but the linked to answer does not in fact answer this question. It answers how it "used to be", but does not deal with what is here called "modern login items" (which is actually officially known as a "shared helper application). – jksoegaard Sep 15 at 12:51

There are several ways that programs can automatically start in macOS:

First check "Login Items" which are found in System Preferences after clicking the "Users & Groups" icons. I understand that you have already checked here and did not find Spotify.

Another possibility is that Spotify have been set to open at login from the dock. You can right-click the Spotify icon in the dock, and then in the Options menu make sure that "Open at login" is not enabled.

Similarly if you have left Spotify running when you power down the Mac then by default the app and open windows will be opened again after rebooting. You can avoid this by ensuring that you close Spotify before logging out or rebooting, or change the setting in general by clicking the "General" icon System Preferences and making sure there's a checkmark in "Close windows when quitting an app".

A third possibility is that it is possible to create configuration files for launchd that will automatically start programs at boot or login. You'll find these configurations files in:


Note that the ~ characters means your user's home folder.

A final possiblity is that applications in macOS can come with a "shared helper application". Essentially this application would provide some background service to one or more actual applications from that developer. Some use that helper application to later launch their actual application.

The helper application is located within the application's bundle in the Contents/Library/LoginItems folder. For Spotify that is usually in the following location:


You can prevent that from autostarting Spotify by closing the helper app, or making sure that it cannot start (for example by removing the executable bit on the actual executable: /Applications/Spotify.app/Contents/Library/LoginItems/StartUpHelper.app/Contents/MacOS/StartUpHelper)

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    Another place is the app bundle itself (as in Spotify): /Applications/Spotify.app/Contents/Library/LoginItems/StartUpHelper.app/Contents/MacOS/StartUpHelper See also: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/343501/… – Redarm Sep 3 at 12:04
  • Check with temp to disable it to verify from your end: apple.stackexchange.com/a/400584/341892 – Udhy Sep 3 at 12:08
  • This is a super answer. I’m not entirely sure what the OP means by modern log in, though. Is there a term that covers that per Apple’s Dev documentation? (Or does your answer summarize as no, you can’t generally disable all of these - delete apps you don’t feel you can easily control startup options. ) – bmike Sep 15 at 0:24
  • The term is what I wrote last in my answer - namely "shared helper applications". – jksoegaard Sep 15 at 12:54

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