Launchd in 5 Minutes

February 2015 ยท 2 minute read

Launchd is the official way to schedule a task or run a service on OSX. The provided documentations goal is to turn you into a launchd expert at the cost of your afternoon. These are the 5 minute highlights to get a task running.

Configure Plist

You tell launchd to run a task by putting a reverse domain named plist file( in ~/Library/LaunchAgents, this is probably what you are looking for but if you want it to be global then put it in /Library/LaunchAgents.

This file needs to have 600 permissions chmod 600 and be owned by root, chown root

Launchd tasks are run from / so all paths should be relative from that point.

Take a look at my plist as an example. Everything in there is pretty self explanatory. There is also an online service to help you build your own..


The following commands are self explanatory. If you change your plist you need to unload/load it again for the changes to take effect.

launchctl list | grep sudo launchctl unload com.davidhampgonsalves.markov-tumblr.plist sudo launchctl load -w com.davidhampgonsalves.markov-tumblr.plist

You can force a run of your task with sudo launchctl start com.markov-tumblr,


The best way I have found is to keep a tail of the syslog running with: tail -F /var/log/system.log. decipher any error numbers with launchd error <error number>.