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I'm currently being bugged by Mail.app popping open every friday at the same time and simultaniously I receive mails from an app iBackup which I used to have installed.

I would like to get rid of it for good but I can't find the process or cronjob that launches Mail.app.

Things I tried:

  • Terminal
    • crontab -l
    • sudo crontab -l
    • for user in $(dscl . list /users); do sudo crontab -u $user -l; done
  • Searched all available locations listed by man launchd for a reference to Mail (grepped)

Where are crontabs listed in OS X? Are there any other places I can search for a script that launches every friday at the same time?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Although Mac OS X still has cron, since Tiger (10.4) the preferred program for automatically starting processes is launchd. It replaces cron, init, watchdogd and others. A well-written and reasonably recent Mac program would be expected to use launchd rather than cron for scheduling a periodic job.

This article is a good overview, but to address your problem more directly, have a look in ~/Library/LaunchAgents, /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons for launchd property lists. These property lists are generally named in a reverse-domain fashion, so com.ibackup.ibackup.plist would be a good thing to start looking for. Once you find the offending file(s) do [sudo] launchctl unload /path/to/file to deactivate it. Move or delete it to prevent it being automatically reloaded on reboot.

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Are there any ways to see the scheduling for these jobs? I've already grepped these directories (listed by man launchd for the strings ibackup and mail but no success. Maybe i can trace it down by filtering on the time the scripts are run? –  ChrisR Jul 8 '11 at 13:26
    
Launchd jobs can be run in response to a number of things, but those that run after a certain interval will contain <key>StartInterval</key> while those which run at a particular time will have <key>StartCalendarInterval</key> somewhere in them. Look at some of the Apple property lists in the same folders for examples of usage. –  Scott Jul 8 '11 at 15:15

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