[bash] Running script upon login mac

I am wondering if anyone is able to help me out with getting a .sh file to run when I log in to my account on my computer. I am running Mac OS X 10.6.7.

I have a file "Example.sh" that I want to run when I log onto my computer. I do not have a problem running it when I am already logged in, but I want this to run automatically.

This question is related to bash shell authentication terminal osx-snow-leopard

The answer is


tl;dr: use OSX's native process launcher and manager, launchd.

To do so, make a launchctl daemon. You'll have full control over all aspects of the script. You can run once or keep alive as a daemon. In most cases, this is the way to go.

  1. Create a .plist file according to the instructions in the Apple Dev docs here or more detail below.
  2. Place in ~/Library/LaunchAgents
  3. Log in (or run manually via launchctl load [filename.plist])

For more on launchd, the wikipedia article is quite good and describes the system and its advantages over other older systems.


Here's the specific plist file to run a script at login.

Updated 2017/09/25 for OSX El Capitan and newer (credit to José Messias Jr):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
   <key>Label</key>
   <string>com.user.loginscript</string>
   <key>ProgramArguments</key>
   <array><string>/path/to/executable/script.sh</string></array>
   <key>RunAtLoad</key>
   <true/>
</dict>
</plist>

Replace the <string> after the Program key with your desired command (note that any script referenced by that command must be executable: chmod a+x /path/to/executable/script.sh to ensure it is for all users).

Save as ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.user.loginscript.plist

Run launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.user.loginscript.plist and log out/in to test (or to test directly, run launchctl start com.user.loginscript)

Tail /var/log/system.log for error messages.

The key is that this is a User-specific launchd entry, so it will be run on login for the given user. System-specific launch daemons (placed in /Library/LaunchDaemons) are run on boot.

If you want a script to run on login for all users, I believe LoginHook is your only option, and that's probably the reason it exists.


  1. Create your shell script as login.sh in your $HOME folder.

  2. Paste the following one-line script into Script Editor:

    do shell script "$HOME/login.sh"

  3. Then save it as an application.

  4. Finally add the application to your login items.

If you want to make the script output visual, you can swap step 2 for this:

tell application "Terminal"
  activate
  do script "$HOME/login.sh"
end tell

If multiple commands are needed something like this can be used:

tell application "Terminal"
  activate
  do script "cd $HOME"
  do script "./login.sh" in window 1
end tell

Examples related to bash

Comparing a variable with a string python not working when redirecting from bash script Zipping a file in bash fails How do I prevent Conda from activating the base environment by default? Get first line of a shell command's output Fixing a systemd service 203/EXEC failure (no such file or directory) /bin/sh: apt-get: not found VSCode Change Default Terminal Run bash command on jenkins pipeline How to check if the docker engine and a docker container are running? How to switch Python versions in Terminal?

Examples related to shell

Comparing a variable with a string python not working when redirecting from bash script Get first line of a shell command's output How to run shell script file using nodejs? Run bash command on jenkins pipeline Way to create multiline comments in Bash? How to do multiline shell script in Ansible How to check if a file exists in a shell script How to check if an environment variable exists and get its value? Curl to return http status code along with the response docker entrypoint running bash script gets "permission denied"

Examples related to authentication

Set cookies for cross origin requests How Spring Security Filter Chain works What are the main differences between JWT and OAuth authentication? http post - how to send Authorization header? ASP.NET Core Web API Authentication Token based authentication in Web API without any user interface Custom Authentication in ASP.Net-Core Basic Authentication Using JavaScript Adding ASP.NET MVC5 Identity Authentication to an existing project LDAP: error code 49 - 80090308: LdapErr: DSID-0C0903A9, comment: AcceptSecurityContext error, data 52e, v1db1

Examples related to terminal

Git is not working after macOS Update (xcrun: error: invalid active developer path (/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools) Can't compile C program on a Mac after upgrade to Mojave Flutter command not found VSCode Change Default Terminal How to switch Python versions in Terminal? How to open the terminal in Atom? Color theme for VS Code integrated terminal How to edit a text file in my terminal How to open google chrome from terminal? Switch between python 2.7 and python 3.5 on Mac OS X

Examples related to osx-snow-leopard

Check mySQL version on Mac 10.8.5 PostgreSQL error 'Could not connect to server: No such file or directory' Eclipse hangs on loading workbench Running script upon login mac Authorize a non-admin developer in Xcode / Mac OS How do you uninstall MySQL from Mac OS X? can't start MySql in Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard Easiest way to activate PHP and MySQL on Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion), 10.8 (Mountain Lion)?