With macOS Ventura, you can now view which applications are allowed to perform tasks even when they’re not actively running. While this is a useful feature, there’s one limitation: it only allows you to disable background items, not remove them entirely.
When you uninstall an application by dragging it to the Trash, the list of authorized applications can become quite lengthy. This is because simply deleting the
.app file doesn’t necessarily remove associated background files or processes.
Settings -> General -> Login Items
- The Allow in the Background section lets you see which apps are added to background items.
- Open Finder, press
Command + Shift + G, and navigate to
- Remove the
.plistfile associated with the background item you want to remove.
After doing a bit of research, I discovered that
launchd is the process that’s responsible for managing the loading and unloading of launch agents and daemons.
launchd is a system-wide process manager in macOS that executes and manages various system tasks. Each
launchd task has an associated
.plist file, which specifies the task’s configuration details. For example, the Google Chrome we see in the above screenshot shows two items, which means that it has two
When you navigate to
~/Library/LaunchAgents, you will see those files.
.plist File Location
System tasks run whenever the system is running, even if no user is logged in, and they are started with
root privileges. These tasks are stored in the
/Library/LaunchDaemons directory. In addition, system tasks can also be set up to run if any user is logged in, in those cases they are stored in the
On the other hand, user tasks will only run when the user is logged in and will be executed with the user’s privileges. User tasks are stored in the
Here is a list of file locations you can find by typing
man launchctl into the Terminal.
FILES ~/Library/LaunchAgents Per-user agents provided by the user. /Library/LaunchAgents Per-user agents provided by the administrator. /Library/LaunchDaemons System wide daemons provided by the administrator. /System/Library/LaunchAgents OS X Per-user agents. /System/Library/LaunchDaemons OS X System wide daemons.
App Store Apps
You may have noticed that I also have Wipr installed, as it’s listed in the Allow in the Background section. However, I couldn’t find any
.plist files related to Wipr in the
~/Library/LaunchAgents directory. Why is that?
My assumption is that since I installed Wipr through the Mac App Store, Apple is automatically managing these apps and their associated background processes. When I uninstalled Wipr, the item in the Allow in the Background list was also removed automatically.
Honestly, I do not understand why Apple doesn’t add a right click menu to let people find or remove those