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Adding Startup Items to Your Mac

Automatically Launch Applications or Items When You Boot Your Mac

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Adding Startup Items to Your Mac

Startup/Login Items are part of the Accounts Preference Pane

Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc. Adding Startup Items to Your Mac

The Login List shows all of the items that will start automatically

Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Startup items, also commonly referred to as login items, are applications, documents, shared volumes, or other items you wish to automatically start up or open when you boot or log in to your Mac.

A common use for startup items is to launch an application that you always use when you sit down at your Mac. You may, for instance, always launch Apple Mail, Safari, and Messages every time you use your Mac. Instead of launching these items manually, you can designate them as startup items and let your Mac do the work for you.

Adding Startup Items


  1. Log in to your Mac with the account you wish to associate with a startup item.

  2. Click the ‘System Preferences’ icon in the Dock, or select the ‘System Preferences’ item from the Apple menu.

  3. Click the ‘Accounts’ or ‘User & Groups’ icon in the System section of the System Preferences window.

  4. Click the appropriate user name in the list of accounts.

  5. Select the ‘Login Items’ tab.

  6. Click the + (plus) button below the Login Items window. A standard Finder browsing sheet will open. Navigate to the item you wish to add. Click once on it to select it, and then click the ‘Add’ button.

The item you selected will be added to the startup/login list. The next time you start your Mac or log in to your user account, the item(s) in the list will start up automatically.

Alternate Method For Adding Startup or Login Items

Like most Mac applications, the Startup/Login Items list supports drag and drop. You can click and hold an item, and then drag it to the list. This alternate method of adding an item can be useful for adding shared volumes, servers, and other computer resources that may not be easy to find in a Finder window.

When you have finished adding items, close the System Preferences window. The next time you boot or log in to your Mac, the item(s) in the list will start up automatically.

Don't Get Carried Away with Startup Items

Startup items can make using your Mac easier and can make your everyday workflow a snap. But adding startup items just because you can can lead to unusual consequences.

For complete details on how to remove startup/login items, and why you should delete ones you no longer need, read through: Mac Performance Tips – Remove Login Items You Don’t Need

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