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

   Posted 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.
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26 Responses to “OS X Lion: Disable Apps Opening with Last Used File or Web Page”

  1. September 07, 2011 at 5:18 pm, Jim Hamm said:

    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


  2. September 08, 2011 at 2:17 pm, David Kirk said:

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


    • January 27, 2014 at 11:45 am, Jeff said:

      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.


  3. September 17, 2011 at 2:54 am, Ted7234889 said:

    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.


  4. October 07, 2011 at 5:28 pm, Caddy said:

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


    • October 08, 2011 at 5:31 am, David Kirk said:

      You are welcome!


  5. October 13, 2011 at 1:34 pm, Meghan said:

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


  6. November 04, 2011 at 3:48 pm, mph66 said:

    Thanks. This also drove me effing crazy.


  7. November 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm, Merrin said:

    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?


  8. January 09, 2012 at 8:18 am, Luis said:

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


  9. January 09, 2012 at 8:20 am, Luis said:

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


  10. February 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm, Don said:

    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.


  11. February 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm, Chris said:

    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!


  12. April 17, 2012 at 12:36 am, Johannsson said:

    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..


  13. April 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm, Zoe said:

    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.


  14. April 24, 2012 at 1:02 am, LBD said:

    David Kirk, I love you.


    • April 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm, David Kirk said:



  15. April 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm, gail said:

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


  16. May 04, 2012 at 5:28 pm, Sherri said:

    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?


  17. May 31, 2012 at 3:13 pm, Julie said:

    Ahhhh. Thank you! This was driving me crazy.


  18. June 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm, Jeff said:

    Outstanding information!

    Cheers, dude!


  19. September 26, 2012 at 4:13 am, Scott Sheldrake said:

    Thank you!! This was driving me nuts


  20. October 02, 2012 at 12:20 pm, MMathema said:

    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


  21. October 07, 2012 at 11:27 am, Ejay said:

    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.


  22. December 03, 2012 at 6:04 pm, k snedeker said:

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


  23. November 08, 2013 at 10:42 am, Strepsi said:

    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


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