CIO Role – What Is A Launchctl Mac? What Is A Launchctl Mac?

What Is a Launchctl Mac? Launchctl mac is the way to load or unload daemons and agents of launchd. Moreover, Launchctl helps in having subcommands on the command line. Also in connecting or even in changing from standard input.

In launchctl, many subcommands take a specifier. Which shows the target for the subcommand domain or service.

Let’s learn more about Launchctl Mac and its function.

What Is The Difference Between Load And Start and Unload and Stop?

Launchctl Start :

It labels for the job to start. This is generally saving for testing or correcting a specific job.

Launchctl Stop :

It labels the job to stop and is the opposite of start. Also, it is possible to restart the job right away for arranging to stay functioning.

Launchctl Remove :

It removes the job from launchd but before returning, it will not wait for the job to actually stop. So, it did not have errors in managing this one.

Launchctl Load :

You can load and start the job since it is not “disabled”.

Launchctl Unload :

Its function is to stop and unload the job. It still restarts the job on the next login and reboot.

Launchctl Load -w :

Its function is to load and start the job. It also marks the job as “not disabled”. And also still restart the job on the next login and reboot.

Launchctl Unload -w :

Its function is to stop, unload, and disable the job. On the next login and restart, the job will not restart.

Launchctl Subcommands

Launchctl Kickstart

Use launchctl kickstart to [option] target where [option] can be -k to kill the running service before restarting it. Or -p to return the process ID of the service as its output.

There are two ways if you want to run a specific service right away. It either replace an existing service or one that is not set to run otherwise.

Launchctl Reboot

This is the most valuable command for userspace for tearing down. And also for bringing it back up which can save you starting the Mac.

Launchctl reboot, force all open apps and services to quit right away, and then restart your Mac.

Launchctl Reboot Halt

It does the same teardown of userspace, but rebooting at the end instead of shutting down.

Launchctl Reboot Userspace

It tears down userspace but leaves the system running. Also, it forces all open apps to quit, then brings back up userspace again. And depends on the basic system to run.

Launchctl Reboot Logout

It is like the GUI command to log the user out. But, it is much faster for the apps to quit right away without any choices to save open files.

Launchctl Reboot Apps

It ends all the apps you are running except for the Finder and Dock, leaving those, LaunchServices, etc,. Still functioning and doesn’t give the apps in any things as possible as save open files. But, is the perfect way of leaving all open apps very fast.


Launchctl Mac is not a tool for the curious or exploratory. Besides, it does tend to be serious. And if you are not aware of some things, you can bring down macOS around you.

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