I have an external drive. Is it possible to launch a program or perform an action when I connect it or plug it in?


Marco Polo can perform actions (you specify) based on attached USB devices.

Edit: MarcoPolo isn't supported anymore, but there is a maintained fork of it: ControlPlane

  • Thank, it works! Steps to configure Marco Polo: (1) Create a context, e.g. DTVP (2) Plug the drive, create a USB rule for this context and increase its confidence to 100% (3) Setup an Open action for /Volumes/DTVP/Mac/DTVP.app. Voilà! – pesche Jan 5 '11 at 22:07

The likely most robust solution is to create a launchd job with the StartOnMount property set to -boolean YES:

StartOnMount <boolean>
This optional key causes the job to be started every time a filesystem is mounted.

This is how Time Machine does it (see /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-attach.plist).

You need to check if the desired /Volume/... is available, but in my experience, it's faster than using Folder Actions.


A similar question has been posted in the MacRumors forum here:


The specific suggestion there is to use the application MarcoPolo.

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