Skip to content

launchd – How to delete hidden login iterms from backgrounditems.btm? CML way is prefered

  • by
Spread the love

I am running MacOS Big Sur. I installed some apps downloaded online. I found out many apps were started automatically at startup.

By googling and examining my system, I figured out they were started from the file backgrounditems.btm which is located at ~/Library/Application Support/ The file stores Login Items.

By running a python script downloaded online, I can see many Login Items registerd in the file backgrounditems.btm and they are NOT shown in System Preferences > Users > myuser > Login Iterms.

I tried the command osascript -e 'tell application "System Events" to delete login item "name"' to delete the hidden login iterm, but failed with error message “36:73: execution error: System Events got an error: Can’t get login item “”. (-1728)”

These hidden login iterms are also NOT shown when I use the command osascript -e 'tell application "System Events" to get the name of every login item'.

So my question is how to remove those unwanted login iterms to stop them autostart at my login. Command Line Way is prefered. I think some GUI apps such as ccleaner may do the job, but I don’t want to install some GUI apps which may be autostarted themselves. Basically, I don’t want to install an autostart iterm to remove autostart items.

Thanks a lot.


I figured out the file is in a binary plist format.

Then I tried two tools.

One is the default cml tool plutil. Another one is a thirdy party tool ProperTree. Both can convert and open the binary plist as XML plain plist. But even with a plain plist format, it’s kinda hard to understand it. The important sections are still coded in base64 format in xml.

I can decode base64 with many tools, but I still feel it’s kinda too much work for this purpose. Do anyone know any easier way to remove hidden login iterms from the file? Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *