An ever-increasing number of Mac users have always been able to launch applications when logged into their computer, but that changed in macOS Ventura. Login items are now managed elsewhere, and Apple has also let Mac administrators manage them using MDM software.
Where are my login items?
Traditionally on the Mac, login items were managed under Users & Groups in System Preferences. That changes with Ventura—not only have System Preferences become System Settings, but they’ve been quietly moved to a new section found under the General category.
Login items are typically applications that you’ve asked your Mac to start automatically when you log in, but also include other processes, such as startup agents or running daemons, that are required for certain applications to run consistently.
If you’re an IT manager working on Macs, then you already know that the MDM service you use will have launch agents installed to run on enrolled Macs. This is also found in entry points.
What’s changing in macOS Ventura?
The two biggest changes to this approach are:
- Migrate settings from users and groups to general
- More items will become more visible, which will start when you log in
The latter means that software components, installation packages, and other items required for individual applications to run are now visible.
Upon installation, users will receive a message to alert them that the installation is complete, and these items can also be disabled in the login items. This is a big change, because until now such things were often invisible to the end user.
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The login items section has also been changed. It now offers two broad categories: open on login and allow in background.
- The first will be the home of any applications (such as your browser) that you want your Mac to open automatically when you log on.
- The latter includes any background elements such as MDM software.
Users can check and uncheck the box next to these background processes to prevent them from running automatically if desired. However, they cannot disable MDM system agents; Only administrators can do this from their chosen system console.
What about admins?
Mac administrators can now manage login and background elements across their Mac fleets remotely with a choice of MDM software. This means they can insist on a few items that work on all Macs or disable items that don’t meet security policy requirements.
Apple also introduced a new SMAppService API that MDM systems use to manage these elements, which is explained here. This is necessary as administrators try to protect Macs that are used outside the standard security perimeter. Apple maintains its mission to make Macs more secure than ever.
Are there other changes?
These aren’t the only changes Apple has made to System Preferences (Ventura) compared to System Preferences (previous iterations of macOS). Not only have these been redesigned for the Echo settings on iPads and iPhones, but they have new sections:
- Game controllers
- Entertainment Center
- Lock Screen (moved from Security & Privacy)
- Desktop & Dock (formerly in Desktop & Screen Saver and Dock & Menu Bar)
- Screen saver (once available in Desktop & Screen Saver)
- Wallpaper (Also available in Desktop & Screen Saver)
If you can’t find a particular control because it’s been moved, you can use the advanced search tool to locate it.
Additional improvements in macOS Ventura
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