OS X Lion: Disable Apps Opening with Last Used File or Web Page

   Posted September 5, 2011 by David Kirk in Apple Mac

Once your system is updated to OS X Lion, applications will attempt to automatically open from your last session. When you start an application, suddenly the last file you were using is staring you in the face. While many users will find this convenient, other users find this particularly annoying. Here is how to disable this new feature from Lion.

I really thought I would enjoy this feature. It’s logical, and I really enjoy it on my iOS devices. However, I just cannot get used to it. When I open Safari, I really do not want all the pages I was previously viewing taking forever to load. When I open my browser, I just want a fresh blank window.

Here are the steps to disable apps opening from your last session:

1. Click System Preferences
2. Select General
3. Uncheck Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps

how to prevents apps from restoring from previous file

After this is disabled, apps with open to their default loading page. Plus, my browser won’t take a million years trying to load the last zillion pages that I had open when I last closed it.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

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  • Jim Hamm

    Or, can leave box checked and do Cmd+opt+Q when shutting Safari; Holstein shift key when opening Safari. Both will enable Safari to open only home page when it starts up….Jim

  • David Kirk

    Thanks, Jim! That’s great information to add to this article. I had no idea.

    • Jeff

      Any other suggestions? I’ve unchecked the “restore windows” box and Safari still keeps launching the last open pages instead of just opening the designated home page at start up.

  • Ted7234889

    Any idea how to get rid of the annoying tick box that defaults to on i.e, restore the last session on startup? I have taken to closing every application each time I shut down. Otherwise I get stream of different applications trying to open up every time a start work. This would probably be less of a problem if I always used one machine with a choice of a macbook and Imac I very rarely want to use the last few apps I had open other than mail.

  • Caddy

    THANK YOU! I was getting so annoyed at closing the last file I no longer needed to be displayed.

    • David Kirk

      You are welcome!

  • Meghan

    Thank you! I too was getting very annoyed by this new “feature”!!

  • mph66

    Thanks. This also drove me effing crazy.

  • Merrin

    Unchecking that box doesn’t seem to work for me. When I restart my computer, word, calendar, finder, etc. all still open.
    I am sure that ‘open at startup’ is not checked for any of these applications.

    Do you know how to fix this?

  • Luis

    Any idea why Microsoft Word (for Mac) ignores that and opens the last document used, regardless of whether the box is checked or unchecked?

  • Luis

    Any idea why Microsoft Word (for Mac) ignores that and opens the last document used, regardless of whether the box is checked or unchecked??

  • Don

    Thank you. I’m one of those who have found it particularly annoying. It’s very rare I want to work on the previous document, or view the previous web page. And if I do want to work on a previous document, I just click on the document, and then it opens up in the application.

  • Chris

    Guys, i just bought my imac, but, when i start it up, lots of pages are also starting up suddenly, like: itunes…etc. I can’t figure out what should i do. Any help, please? Thank you!

  • Johannsson

    Thanks, this is for my part very annoying, however, to my surprise, the teature on my Mac was and is unchecked, and still the restored pages pops in my face every time..

  • Zoe

    Thanks; this crazy function just crashed Powerpoint for me. Why would it open up files that I’d closed manually during the last session? I can see it opening the very last file I closed, but all 20 of them??? Insane. I may still go back to Snow Leopard; can’t seem to do without Exposé.

  • LBD

    David Kirk, I love you.

    • David Kirk


  • gail

    Thank you so so much – this was so annoying!!! really grateful!

  • Sherri

    I have the same problem and have followed the steps you provided, but my files in Word, Excel, etc and Preview all still come up with a file that I last accessed months ago. Do you have any recommendations for solving this glitch?

  • Julie

    Ahhhh. Thank you! This was driving me crazy.

  • Jeff

    Outstanding information!

    Cheers, dude!

  • Scott Sheldrake

    Thank you!! This was driving me nuts

  • http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/17168/os-x-lion-disable-apps-opening-with-last-used-file-or-web-page/ MMathema

    I have the same irritating problem which refuses to go away. Further on my Lion (iMac/10.8.2) when I open System Preference –> General I do not see “Restore Windows and ……” box at all. Grateful for any help

  • Ejay

    Same here with Mountan Lion 10.8.2
    Every time when i say don’t open the programs at closing. They open again.
    Please help.

  • k snedeker

    Same issue with 10.8.2. Beginning to think apple is losing their stuff.

  • Strepsi

    It’s particularly bad with Microsoft Office for Mac, which is not the most stable to begin with, trying to “recover” the docs that caused the crash. Thanks