How to Change Startup Programs on Mac

When it comes to using a Mac, one of the things that users may want to customize is the startup programs. These are the applications that open automatically when you log in to your Mac, and they can sometimes slow down your computer’s startup time or be a nuisance. Fortunately, changing the startup programs on a Mac is a relatively simple process. In this article, we will outline the steps to change these programs on your Mac, as well as provide some helpful tips and tricks.

Steps to Change Startup Programs on Mac

Step 1: Open System Preferences

Firstly, click on the Apple icon located at the top-left corner of the screen and select System Preferences from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can search for System Preferences using Spotlight.

Step 2: Select Users & Groups

In the System Preferences window, select Users & Groups. This will bring up a list of all the user accounts on your Mac.

Step 3: Choose the User Account

Choose the user account for which you want to change the startup programs. This can be done by clicking on the account name located on the left-hand side of the screen.

Step 4: Navigate to Login Items

Next, navigate to the Login Items tab, which is located on the right-hand side of the screen. This tab contains a list of all the applications that automatically open when you log in to your Mac.

Step 5: Add or Remove Applications

To add or remove an application from the startup programs list, click on the “+” or “-” button located at the bottom of the list. To add an application, simply select it from the Applications folder and click Add. To remove an application, select it from the list and click on the “- ” button.

Step 6: Reorder Login Items

If you want to change the order in which the applications open when you log in, simply drag and drop them into the desired position on the list. The top application will be the first to open when you log in.

Step 7: Hide Login Items

You can also choose to hide a login item by checking the box next to the application name. This will prevent the app from opening visibly when you log in, and it will run in the background.

Step 8: Restart Your Mac

Once you have made the necessary changes, restart your Mac to see the effects. The new startup programs should now open automatically when you log in.

Step 9: Reset Login Items

If you want to reset the login items back to default, simply click on the “Restore defaults” button located at the bottom of the list.

Step 10: Use Third-Party Apps

There are several third-party apps that can help you manage startup programs on your Mac. These include apps like CleanMyMac X, which provides a simple and efficient interface for managing login items.

Step 11: Use Terminal

Advanced users can also use Terminal to change startup programs on their Mac. This can be done by typing in specific commands, which can be found with a quick online search.

Step 12: Be Careful

Finally, it is important to be careful when changing startup programs on your Mac. Removing or disabling important apps could cause issues with your computer’s performance, so only remove or disable applications that you are certain are unnecessary.


Changing the startup programs on a Mac can be a simple yet effective way to optimize your computer’s performance. By removing unnecessary applications from the startup list, you can reduce your computer’s startup time and prevent unwanted apps from running in the background. Additionally, managing startup programs can help to free up system resources and improve overall system performance.

Tips and Tricks

1. Disable Unnecessary Apps

One of the best ways to optimize your Mac’s performance is to disable any unnecessary startup apps. This can be done by removing them from the login items list or using a third-party app like CleanMyMac X.

2. Prioritize Apps

It is important to prioritize the apps that are most important to you. This way, you can ensure that they open quickly and efficiently when you log in.

3. Be Selective

Only disable or remove apps that you are sure are unnecessary. Disabling important apps could greatly impact your computer’s performance and functionality.

4. Use Activity Monitor

To identify which apps are using the most system resources, use Activity Monitor. This can help you determine which apps are most necessary and which can be safely removed from the startup list.

5. Update Apps Regularly

Regularly updating your apps can help to improve their performance and reduce the likelihood of crashes or issues.

6. Keep Your Mac Clean

Keeping your Mac clean and organized can help to improve its overall performance. Regularly deleting unnecessary files and freeing up disk space can help to improve system efficiency.

7. Use Automatic Startup

If you have certain apps that you want to open every time you log in, you can use the automatic startup feature to open them without having to manually add them to the startup list.

8. Use AppleScript

Advanced users can use AppleScript to manage startup items on their Mac. This can be done by creating a custom script to add or remove apps from the startup list.

9. Regularly Restart Your Mac

Regularly restarting your Mac can help to improve its performance and clear out any unnecessary apps or processes that may be running in the background.

10. Seek Professional Help

If you are unsure about how to manage your startup programs, seek professional help. A certified Apple technician or IT specialist can help you make the necessary changes and optimize your Mac’s performance.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Changing Startup Programs on Mac


1. Faster Booting Time: By removing unnecessary startup programs, you can significantly speed up your Mac’s booting time, which can save you a lot of time.

2. Improved Performance: When you reduce the number of programs that load at startup, you can improve your Mac’s overall performance, since fewer background processes are running.

3. Increased Battery Life: Fewer programs running at startup means that your Mac’s battery will last longer, which can be especially beneficial for laptop users.

4. More Stable System: If you remove any non-essential programs, it can help to create a more stable system, which is less likely to crash or freeze.

5. Better Security: Some startup programs can be potential security risks. By removing them, you can reduce the risk of outside threats infiltrating your system.

6. More Disk Space: If your Mac has limited storage capacity, removing unnecessary programs can free up space and make it easier to store files and data.

7. Customization: By choosing which programs to run at startup, you can customize your Mac to your specific needs and preferences.

8. Improved User Experience: With fewer programs running at startup, your Mac’s user experience can be more streamlined and efficient.

9. Easier Troubleshooting: If you’re experiencing problems with your Mac, removing unnecessary startup programs can simplify troubleshooting and help you to identify the issue.

10. Reduced Clutter: Removing unwanted apps from startup can reduce clutter and make your Mac’s interface cleaner and easier to navigate.


1. Missed Updates: If you remove certain programs from startup, you may miss important updates or notifications.

2. Limited Features: Some programs require being launched at startup to offer their full range of features. If you remove these, you may not be able to use the full functionality of the app.

3. Delayed Startup Time: If you remove too many programs, your Mac’s startup time may be delayed, which can be frustrating.

4. Potential Errors: Changing startup programs can be risky. If you accidentally remove a crucial component, it could result in errors or malfunctions.

5. Reduced Convenience: If you remove certain programs from startup, you may have to remember to manually launch them every time you use them, which can be inconvenient.

6. Increased CPU Usage: If you remove too many programs, the remaining ones may demand more of your CPU usage, which could slow down your system.

7. Reduced Functionality: Removing some programs from startup may reduce the functionality of other programs. For example, third-party antivirus software may not function correctly if its startup process is disabled.

8. Lack of Understanding: If you’re not familiar with the programs running at startup, it can be challenging to discern which ones are necessary and which are not.

9. Potential Security Risks: If you accidentally remove an essential security program from startup, it could expose your Mac to security threats.

10. Compatibility Issues: Some programs may not run correctly if they’re not launched during startup, which could create compatibility issues.

In conclusion, changing startup programs on Mac has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making any changes to your system. If you’re unsure about which programs to remove or keep, seek advice from a professional technician.


1. What are startup programs on Mac?

Startup programs are the applications and processes that automatically launch when you turn on your Mac.

2. Why should I change my startup programs?

You may want to change your startup programs to improve your Mac’s performance, speed up the boot time and reduce clutter on your desktop.

3. How can I change my startup programs on Mac?

You can change your startup programs by following these steps:

  1. Click on the Apple menu icon in the upper left corner.
  2. Select “System Preferences”.
  3. Click on “Users & Groups”.
  4. Select your user account.
  5. Click on “Login Items”.
  6. Select the application you want to remove from the list and click on the “-” button.
  7. To add an application, click on the “+” button and select the application you want to add.
  8. Restart your Mac for the changes to take effect.

4. Can I disable all startup programs on my Mac?

No, you cannot disable all startup programs on your Mac as some programs are necessary for your Mac to function properly.

5. How do I know which startup programs to disable?

You can disable startup programs that you are not using frequently or are not necessary for your work.

6. Will disabling startup programs affect my Mac’s performance?

Disabling unnecessary startup programs can improve your Mac’s performance and boot time.

7. Can I change my startup programs on a guest account?

No, you cannot change your startup programs on a guest account as this account has limited access and privileges.

8. How often should I review my startup programs?

You should review your startup programs periodically, such as once a month to ensure your Mac runs smoothly.

9. Can I add a document or file to my startup items?

Yes, you can add a document or file to your startup items for easy access. However, this may slow down your Mac’s startup process.

10. Why do some programs reappear in my startup list after I remove them?

Some programs are designed to automatically add themselves to the startup list. To prevent this, you can change the settings within the program or uninstall it from your Mac.

11. Can I rearrange the order of my startup programs?

Yes, you can rearrange the order of your startup programs by dragging them up or down on the list.

12. How do I know if a program is necessary for my Mac to function properly?

You can research the program online or seek advice from an expert to determine if the program is necessary for your Mac to function properly.

13. What should I do if my Mac starts up slowly even after changing my startup programs?

You can try other methods to speed up your Mac’s startup, such as optimizing your Mac’s performance, clearing out unused apps and files, and freeing up disk space.

How to Change Startup Programs on Mac

Mac computers are designed to be user-friendly, which includes allowing you to customize your startup programs according to your preference. By disabling certain apps from starting up automatically, you can speed up your computer and save resources. In this article, we will show you how to change startup programs on Mac.

Conclusion and Closing

Changing startup programs on Mac is a simple process that can greatly improve the speed and efficiency of your computer. By disabling unnecessary apps, you can reduce the amount of resources your computer uses at startup, which will speed up the boot time and help your computer run smoother.

We hope this guide has been helpful in showing you how to change startup programs on your Mac. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading and we’ll see you in the next article!