Short version is that I am wondering where macOS stores the list of open applications when a user logs out, such that they can be restored when the user logs back in (as part of macOS' Resume feature)?

For context, the reason I'm looking for this is that I believe I have an application that's "stuck" on this list, as when I turn Resume off the application (along with all others) no longer reopens on login, but when I reenable the feature it starts reopening again and I'd prefer that it didn't.

My best guess is that whichever file stores this list is somehow not updating properly (perhaps it isn't writeable for some reason?) but that disabling the feature bypasses it, however when reenabled (as I would like it to be) the problem returns because the application is still in the file somewhere.

  • 1
    sounds like XY problem.. are you aware of open at login settings in macOS and apps?
    – anki
    Commented May 1, 2022 at 9:58
  • 1
    @anki: The application in question (Steam) has its launch at login option disabled, it's not in login items and there is no launch agent for opening it. Like I say, when I disable Resume ("Reopen windows when logging in" on the logout/restart/shutdown box) it solves the problem, but it comes back when I reenable that option (even if Steam isn't open at the time). So it's getting stored somewhere which is why I need to know where that is.
    – Haravikk
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


Application 'resume' data is stored here:

~/Library/Saved Application State

The data is stored in folders per each application, rather than a single database of application states.

I believe, for this instance, the way to resolve the 'stuck' application state would be to delete the application's entry in this location, clearing it's cached state.

  • Clearing caches is also worth a try. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 9:43
  • Unfortunately this doesn't work; the saved application state only applies when an app is actually opened (to reopen the windows etc. as they were). This doesn't seem to have anything to do with which apps reopen on login.
    – Haravikk
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 18:25

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