Preventing iDevice Auto-Launch in Mac OS X

July 18, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you have been out and about snapping photos on your iPhone or iPad, or even a digital camera, when you plug you devices into your Mac it will prompt the launch of the iPhoto software which will then attempt to sync your images from your phone to your Mac.

While this might seem quite useful it can also prove quite tiresome, particularly for anybody who hasn’t snapped any new pictures.

Another drawback is that if you also have iTunes configured to launch automatically when an iOS device is connected, you will have two apps vying for memory and processor resources; while this shouldn’t be a problem on most Macs, you might find it frustrating if you’re also browsing the web or checking emails.

Fortunately both iPhoto and iTunes have options that can be set to prevent the connection of devices from prompting the launch of these applications.

Preventing iDevice auto-launch in Mac OS X

Preventing Auto-Launch in iPhoto

This auto-launch process can be disabled, thereby preventing iPhoto from running when you connect your iDevice. Note that this must be done by first connecting your device, however!

With your device connected, open Image Capture and identify the icon for the iPhone or iPad in the left-hand pane. At the bottom of the pane you should spot the Connecting the [DEVICENAME] opens: field and one of a list of software options, such as iPhoto and Image Capture, will be displayed.

Also in this drop down list will be the choice of No application, which is the option you will need to prevent the app from auto-launching in future!

The great thing about this option is that it is per-device; if you have previously setup an alternative device (for instance a digital camera) with your Mac, this can still be used to auto-load iPhoto upon connection. Equally, it can be disabled just as easily.

Managing Auto-Launch Options in iTunes

If you wish to prevent iTunes from opening when your iPhone, iPod or iPad is connected, a similar process can be followed. Again, this requires you to connect the device in order to launch the application, and then select it in iTunes.

In the right-pane, select the Summary tab so that the correct view is displayed, and then you will see the Open iTunes when this iPod is connected option which is checked by default. All you need to do is deselect this option and click Apply – no more iTunes auto-launching when you next connect your device!

Of course, you might soon miss this auto-launching feature and decide that auto-launch is preferable to manually opening the application concerned. Fortunately, both of these options can be easily reversed, allowing you to revert back to the defaults.

Alternatively, you might opt to have just one of the applications open when your iPhone is connected: for instance, your iPhone will open iTunes but only your digital camera will launch iPhoto.

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