I recently wrote an article about how to automate your Mac so you can get more things done throughout the day, starting with the auto login items you can set up in System Preferences. This classic Mac feature is easy enough to use, but it’s not nearly as feature rich as a similar third-party application called Startupizer ($9.95).
Startupizer is an app for Mac power users who want to gain better control over startup conditions for login items. Similar to smart playlists in iTunes, you can set up rules for how and when you want various items to launch on your Mac.
Read on to find out just how useful Startupizer can be.
Startupizer vs. Login Items
In OS X System Preferences, you can add an application, file, or folder, or even a webpage to the list of Login Items that will automatically launch when you boot your Mac.
This feature is handy, but notice how limited it is. You can’t stop a listed application from launching, nor can you assign specific days or times for selected items to launch. With Startupizer, you can customize the execution of Mac startup items, and even prevent certain items from launching when you boot your Mac. Of course, in order for Startupizer to work, you will need to add it to your list of System logins. If it does not launch, it can’t handle the login items you add to it.
Getting Started with Startupizer
When Startupizer launches, it automatically detects your existing login items in System Preferences. Many of those Mac startup items might include your menu bar items that you want to make sure automatically launch. Startupizer allows you to move any of your existing items so you can customize the launch in Startupizer.
For example, Google’s Music Manager is on my list of login items, but I moved it and a few other items to Startupizer because I don’t need those items to launch everyday. I just need Music Manager to launch once a week and import any new songs I’ve added to my iTunes Library.
I also don’t need Google Chrome to open every morning with my other login items. And on the weekends, my iTunes player doesn’t need to open until around 10am or later.
Customizing Launch Items
When you click the Back button in Startupizer, it will reveal the login items that it will manage. You can add additional items by clicking on the plus button in the bottom-left corner of the window. Remember: in addition to applications, you can add any launch-able item including files, folders, and webpages to Startupizer.
To get started with assigning login conditions for items, select an item and click the eye icon on the right side. In the pop-up inspector, add a New Scheduled Condition, accessed by clicking on the gear button on the bottom-left.
Next, you can set the rules for when you want that item to launch. For example, I have set up an application called Caffeine to only launch Friday through Sunday, starting at 8pm, because those are the days and times I’m most likely to use it.
Notice in the above screenshot that other rules exist for that item. By design, each new scheduled condition automatically shows up in all of the items you add to Startupizer. You can then simply enable which condition you want to apply to a particular item. When you change the rules for a particular condition it will change for all of the items it is applied to. This doesn’t affect the ability to selectively disable a condition in one item without it being disabled in other items.
You can also schedule items to launch and automatically hide, just as you can in the System Preferences login feature. And, if need be, you can disable an item from launching without removing it from Startupizer.
Startupizer includes a few other handy features that make it worth taking the time to customize specified Mac startup items. If you boot your Mac on a regular or daily basis, you might be reluctant to add applications like iTunes, Photoshop CS, or other programs that tend to take a while to fully load. Or there may be occasions when you need to prevent selected items from launching when you boot your Mac.
Startupizer allows you to set a hotkey condition that when pressed will prevent assigned applications from launching.
You can also assign rules that add a delay time between the launching of items. Sometimes, if too many items are launching within a second of one another, it might cause a snag in the launches. You can also assign conditions to launch items when your computer awakes from sleep.
The Bottom Line
Startupizer is a powerful application for Mac users. The only feature I wish it included was the ability to quit applications at a specified time. This can be done with the automation program Keyboard Maestro, which can launch, hide, and quit applications based macros you set up. Startupizer on the other hand makes setting up rules easier.
Download: Startupizer ($9.95)
Have you used Startupizer? Is your Mac a gleaming example of automation at its best? Let us know what you think of this and any other similar applications in the comments, below.