Table of Contents
- macOS: crontab, launchd, and launchctl
- Running a simple command every minute with Mac launchd
- 1) Move to the $HOME/Library/LaunchAgents directory
- 2) Create a Mac plist file to describe your job
- 3) Tell MacOS about your Mac plist launchd file
- 4) How Mac launchd works with system reboots
- An important note about root and sudo access
- MacOS launchd, launchctl, and plist resources
- MacOS startup jobs: cron and crontab, launchd and launchctl
MacOS crontab FAQ: How do I run a Unix job (or shell script) through the MacOS crontab facility? I keep trying to edit my Mac crontab file, but my Mac won't save my crontab changes, or run my program.Back to top
macOS: crontab, launchd, and launchctl
Many years ago (~2012-2014) I found that the Mac
crontab command was deprecated on MacOS, and the Apple documentation encouraged you to use their launchd facility. Here’s a blurb from Apple's
crontab man page:
“Darwin note: Although cron(8) and crontab(5) are officially supported under Darwin, their functionality has been absorbed into launchd(8), which provides a more flexible way of automatically executing commands. See launchctl(1) for more information.”
I’ve written several things about the Linux
cron command and crontab file format before, and as a quick note, here’s some information on the format of the crontab date and time fields.
Crontab date/time fields
First, from the crontab man page documentation:
I made a mistake in configuring
logrotate on a new Linux system, and almost ran into a problem because of that. Fortunately I saw the problem before it became a BIG problem, but as a result, I decided to add a script to my Linux system to check for large files, typically log files that have grown out of control for one reason or another.
Here then is a simple Linux shell script I named LargeFileCheck.sh, which searches the filesystem for files that are larger than 1GB in size:
Earlier today I ran into a problem making a Drupal 8 database backup. I ran the usual mysqldump backup command, and when it kept running for a long time I decided to kill it, and then began investigating the problem. I knew that I had recently deleted all of the log records, and the Drupal
cron task was running correctly, so something else was going on. In short, I found that my Drupal 8 database was huge.
It looks like the Mac launchd launchctl StartInterval is broken in Mac OS X 10.6.x, at least the current version (10.6.7). When I run a Mac launchctl script like this, which used to work just fine:
Mac OS X launchd FAQ: Can you share some Mac launchd examples (also written as launchd plist examples, or launchctl examples)?
In an earlier tutorial (Mac OS X startup jobs with crontab, launchctl, and launchd) I demonstrated how to use the Mac OS X launchd facility instead of cron to run what would normally be a cron (crontab) job. As I started working with launchd and launchctl, I realized it would probably be helpful to see several different launchd examples, specifically launchd plist file examples.
Mac Unix shell + AppleScript FAQ: How can I display a dialog with AppleScript from the Unix command line shell? (Either from a command line shell like bash through the Mac OS X Terminal, or from a shell crontab job.)
Linux crontab mail FAQ: Can you share an example of a Linux crontab entry you use to send email on a regular basis?
Here's the source code for a really simple Linux mail script that I used to send an email message to one of my co-workers every month. This script used the Unix or Linux mail command to email a file to her that showed a list of all the websites on our server that she needed to bill our customers for.
Here's the source code for the email shell script:
Linux crontab FAQ: How do I edit my Unix/Linux crontab file?
I was working with an experienced Linux sysadmin a few days ago, and when we needed to make a change to the root user crontab file, I was really surprised to watch him cd to the root user’s cron folder, make changes to the file, then do a
kill -HUP on the crontab process.
Thinking he knew something I didn’t know, I asked him why he did all of that work instead of just entering this:
Linux crontab format FAQ: Do you have an example of a Unix/Linux crontab file format?
I have a hard time remembering the crontab file format, so I thought I’d share an example crontab file here today. The following file is the root crontab file from a CentOS Linux server I use in a test environment.