Nathan Grigg

LaunchControl for managing launchd jobs

Launchd is a Mac OS X job scheduler, similar to cron. One key advantage is that if your computer is asleep at a job’s scheduled time, it will run the job when your computer wakes up.

LaunchControl is a Mac app by soma-zone that helps manage launchd lobs. It aims to do “one thing well” and succeeds spectacularly. Whether you are new to writing launchd agents or you already have some system in place, go buy LaunchControl now.

(I tried to make this not sound like an advertisement, but I failed. This is not a paid advertisement.)

Complete control

At its core, LaunchControl is a launchd-specific plist editor. There is no magic. You simply drag the keys you want into your document and set their values. There is no translation layer, forcing you to guess what to type into the app to get the functionality you know launchd provides.

It is an excellent launchd reference. Every option is fully annotated, so you won’t have to search the man page or the internet to know what arguments you need to specify.

LaunchControl window

Helpful hints

LaunchControl is extremely helpful. If you specify an option that doesn’t make sense, it will tell you. If the script you want to run doesn’t exist or is not executable, it will warn you. If you are anything like me, this will save you four or five test runs as you iron out all of the details of a new job.


LaunchControl also acts as a launchd dashboard. It lets you start jobs manually. It shows you which jobs are running, and for each job, whether the last run succeeded or failed. For jobs that fail, it offers to show you the console output. This is all information you could have found on your own, but it is very useful to have it all in one place and available when you need it.