Can I Reorder My Mac’s Login Items?


Kirk asks: Is it possible to prioritize or reorder my Mac’s Login Items? I have some that take longer to open than others and slow the quicker ones down. Ideally, I’d like to have the quick ones open first, then followed by the longer jobs. Can I do that?


Kirk, the simple answer is that yes, this is possible, though the user-interface for doing so is a bit wonky. Head to your System Preferences->Accounts->Login Items. Grab an item with the mouse and drag slightly to the left or right. You’ll immediately see a bar appear at the bottom of the list. As soon as you let go, that particular Login Item will drop to the bottom, effectively making it the least prioritized item in the list.

Simple, right? Well, yes… and no. A few notes:

  1. Login Items reserved for “(All Users)” will always be at the bottom of this list and anything you change will appear above them.
  2. Login Items do launch in parallel, meaning that the system does not wait for one to finish before firing off the next one. As far as we can tell, though, the order here is the order the system follows, so if you have some really quick ones at the top, they may finish launching before the busier jobs at the end of the list have time to really take over. 

So yes, all of this is possible. Whether it has any positive or negative effect for you, though, is going to be very dependent on your specific system.