Mac OS X Disable Unnecessary Services

Posted on in Categories , , last updated December 25, 2009

How do I disable unnecessary services under Mac OS X to secure my Mac OS X based desktop / server / laptop?

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

  1. /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ – System-wide daemons provided by Mac OS X
  2. /System/Library/LaunchAgents/ – Per-user agents provided by Mac OS X.
  3. ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ – Per-user agents provided by the user.
  4. /Library/LaunchAgents/ – Per-user agents provided by the administrator.
  5. /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

OR

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

References:

5 comment

  1. If you disable Bonjour on a Macbook Pro running Snow Leopard, wireless internet dies you will have to remember what you just did in the terminal, and undo undo it to restore network access.

  2. Plenty of sites telling ‘how’ to disable services/daemons on OS X, but really not found one telling us ‘which’ ones to disable, some are obvious, most are not :(

  3. I am looking for a way to get rid of Office365 service. I am not at all technical, thats why I got a Mac. I never asked for this service, it just appeared after an update. It slows everything down. For a while it seemed to go away, again after an update, but after the most recent update, its back and slowing everything to a crawl. I am running Office for Mac 2011 with automatic updates and Mac OS 10.7.5. Help! I have tried moving it to trash, but get a message that I can’t trash it because its running. But I can figure out how to close it to trash it.

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