Disable Unnecessary Mac OS X Services

Recently I installed Adobe CS5 on my Mac Book Pro and started getting “To Open CS5ServiceManager you need a java runtime.”

1. I checked My User account under system preferences and could not locate any Adobe Items.
2. Checked Adobe Settings to see if I could remove whatever was being loaded through their… nope
3. I now dislike Adobe more than ever
4. I set out to find to find an answer!

There are to ways to go about doing this so I’m going to start with the easy way :)

If you don’t fancy using the shell then there’s a GUI tool called Lingon…


Install Ligon and go to the User Agents section.
Disable both com.adobe.AAM.Startup-1.0 and com.adobe.CS5ServiceManager

This will prevent Adobe from loading utilities you do not need!

Now for command line:

Mac OS X uses the following directories to start various services (quoting from the man page):

/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ – System-wide daemons provided by Mac OS X
/System/Library/LaunchAgents/ – Per-user agents provided by Mac OS X.
~/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.

launchd manages processes, both for the system as a whole and for individual users using .plist files.
Open the terminal and type the following commands to view directory files:

cd /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
ls -l
ls -l | less


cd /System/Library/LaunchAgents/
ls -l
ls -l | less

How Do I Disable Unnecessary Services?

You need to use the launchctl command as follows:

sudo launchctl unload -w /path/to/.plist/file
sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/file.plist

In this example, you are disabling the Bonjour service, enter:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.mDNSResponder.plist
sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.mDNSResponderHelper.plist

I’m sure as the Mac continues to grow in popularity we may see more and more programs try to take advantage of
launchd like this. Fight Back and enjoy your Mac :)


  1. Lance says:

    Instead of using Terminal, why not simply trash everything from the LaunchDaemons directory? Sounds like you hate all startups, so just nix them all in one fell swoop.

  2. Frankly says:

    Keep disabling launchd services to preserve system resources, lower your attack vector & present less running (unneeded) services & daemons to the outside world & inprove your privacy and control over the OS.

    Lingon is good, but sadly lacking in what services do what, but thats not really Lingon’s main focus.. but it works well for disabling unneeded stuff.

    I just hope the Apple fanbois with cries of ‘leave it all alone’ can bear to shut up
    and learn that disabling un-needed daemons is a GOOD thing..
    but i bet they cant hold it in forever.. like those ready-to-pop Apple droids on various Apple forums who dont understand OS’s but understand some adopted sense of smugness whilst actually knowing little.. Bravo !

  3. jigyasa says:

    worked perfectly for me.. m on os 10.8 .. and my cs5 stopped workin ryt aftr i updated from lion to mountain lion.. n i was regretting d upgrade… cuz i need photoshop .. all the time.. Thanks a Ton :)

  4. jz says:

    You can disable anything from starting by moving the .plist file from the location it is starting from. I made a “disabled” folder in each of the locations listed above (Those are all correct), then move whatever offensive startup file into the “disabled” folder in case you ever want it enabled again.
    I’m not sure where Adobe items start because I don’t have any Adobe products installed right now, but I have had the java warning in the past, and I don’t want java installed for security reasons.
    For example, I hated all the traffic going to Apple for the applepushservice, so I moved com.apple.applepushserviced.plist in system/library/launchdaemons into “disabled” and now it doesn’t start the daemon with the system.
    Caveat: read “man launchctl” for warnings about changing file and folder permissions before working in the system folder!

  5. JKT says:

    You seem to change horses in mid-article. The point was to stop CS5ServiceManager, but at the end you say “In this example, you are disabling the Bonjour service”. Well, no, that is not what we are here to disable. We’re here to disable CS5, but when you try:

    # sudo launchctl unload -w /Library/LaunchAgents/com.adobe.CS5ServiceManager.plist
    nothing found to unload

    This in spite of the fact that it definitely is running, as I have the same “To Open CS5ServiceManager you need a java runtime” message on my screen as you do. So disabling Adobe is not as easy as this.

    1. JKT says:

      To follow up both the article and my reply, it appears that only items in /System/Library/LaunchAgents appear in launchctl. Items in /Library/LaunchAgents do not. But they can be easily manually rm’ed from that directory; just bypass launchctl altogether.


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