I have a number of (background) programs that startup automatically on login even though they have been disabled (unchecked) on the Login Items pane of the Users & Groups System Preferences. Examples include DropBox, ChronoSync Backgrounder, and Boingo.

Q: How can I disable/control these login items that don't respond to the systems preferences settings? Related sub-questions:

  • Why do the checkboxes in the login items list not work?
  • What are all of the places that non-system startup items can be found/controlled?

Current system configuration: MacBook (13in Aluminum, Late 2008), Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3 (11D50), But this problem existed on Snow Leopard before upgrading to Lion.


The checkboxes are not for disabling the application launch, but if checked, the application gets hidden as if you were pressing CMD+H. To disable it, select it in the list and click on the Minus-button beneath that list. By that you remove them. You can't just disable them with OS X tools.

To see a summary of all LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons you can use a software like Lingon or you can have a look at /Library/LaunchDaemons, /Library/LaunchAgents, /System/Library/LaunchAgents, and /System/Library/LaunchDaemons as well as ~/Library/LaunchDaemons, ~/Library/LaunchAgents, ~/Library/StartupItems, and /Library/StartupItems.

  • 2
    Don't forget that items to run on startup can also live in ~/Library/Startup Items and /Library/Startup Items. – binarybob Mar 5 '12 at 9:01
  • Oh yes, silly me. There is a little label that says Hide above the column. I've now cleaned up my startup items. Thanks. – Bryan P Mar 5 '12 at 9:01
  • @binarybob Thanks for the tip on other places to look. I did find a few other unwanted items in /Library/Startup Items – Bryan P Mar 5 '12 at 9:02
  • 3
    Worth noting - if you have items in LaunchAgents or LaunchDaemons folders, these commands operate on those files: Stop this service once (will come back next log-on ) launchctl unload /path/to/LaunchAgents/file.plist Stop this service and disable it launchctl unload -w /path/to/LaunchAgents/file.plist Start this service once launchctl load /path/to/LaunchAgents/file.plist Start this service and enable it: launchctl load -w /path/to/LaunchAgents/file.plist – XP84 Mar 15 '16 at 20:23
  • 1
    The configuration location for launchd is /private/var/db/launchd.db/ To list all entries in the various .plist files that create hidden overrides: sudo find /private/var/db/launchd.db/ -type f -size +0 -iname "*.plist" -exec sudo plutil -p {} \; – iolsmit Jun 15 '17 at 0:14

All login items are can be found under System Preferences → Users & Groups → User → Login Items which you have correctly noticed.

  • If you want to disable a startup item you have to remove it.
  • The checkboxes are merely for hiding.
  • Note: Some applications need their auto-login option to be disabled in their applications' preferences.

enter image description here

  • 2
    Where are the plist files for these items? I want to edit, not remove, but the plist I am looking for is not in any of the standard directories. – Michael Jul 14 '14 at 2:31

To remove BT cloud from login items search: for file 'com.f-secure.sync.BTCloud.plist' from one of the startup directories and delete file.

  • 2
    What is BTCloud? – bmike Jun 12 '13 at 11:18


  • launchctl list to check the configured start up items.
  • launchctl print-cache to see current running config which help to locate started process.
  • 1
    A bit more details might be helpful here: How do these commands help to solve the problem stated in the question (what does the OP need to look for in the output)? – nohillside Jul 25 '16 at 6:38
  • Welcome to Ask Different. It's helpful when you provide an explanation on how/why you think your answer is correct. Take a moment to review the Tour for more info. – Allan Jul 25 '16 at 12:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .