Get Back to Work Faster After Restarting Your Mac

Restarting Tips

Mac users often put off installing updates due to the time it takes to relaunch apps, reopen documents, and repopulate Web browser tabs. We recommend starting  installation of a full macOS update at the end of the day or before lunch to minimize your downtime. But with a bit of set-up, you can pick up within a minute or two or where you left off before a restart.

Apps, Documents, & Folders

For certain apps you want running, or documents you want open, at login, in macOS Ventura, open System Settings > General > Login Items. In macOS Monterey or earlier, look in System Preferences > Users & Groups > User > Login Items. Here you can add apps, documents, and folders to the Open at Login list. To remove an unwanted item, select it and click the – button. If you don’t recognize something, Control-click it and choose Show in Finder to see where it is located.

macOS offers another setting if you have other apps or documents open that you want to return to immediately after relaunching an app. In Ventura, look in Systems Settings > Desktop & Dock and scroll down to Windows & Apps. Deselect “Close windows when quitting an application” because otherwise reopening an app will not automatically restore its open documents and windows. In Monterey and earlier, find this setting in System Preferences > General.

To reveal the last, and most important, setting for ensuring your same Mac environment before and after a restart, choose Restart, Shut Down, or Log Out from the Apple menu. In this dialog, select “Reopen windows when logging back in” and click Restart. macOS remembers this setting, so you should not have to select it each time. And as a bonus, if your Mac crashes or shuts down unexpectedly, it should come back as it was before the crash.

Web Browsers

After relaunching your Web browser, you can control session settings as follows:

  • Safari: Recent versions of Safari always open with windows and tabs from your last session, though you can choose whether that includes all windows or just non-private ones (see Settings > General).

  • Google Chrome: To make sure your open tabs are restored after relaunching, choose Settings > On Startup, and select “Continue where you left off.”

  • Firefox: In Mozilla’s browser, choose Settings > General and select “Open previous windows and tabs.”

  • Arc: Users of Arc are encouraged to set up workspaces containing pinned tabs, which persist across sessions. But to ensure all your windows and regular tabs load after relaunching, open Settings > Advanced and select “When opening Arc, restore windows from previous session.”

  • Brave: As a Chrome-based browser, Brave offers a similar setting to Chrome; find it in Settings > Get Started and select “Continue where you left off.”

  • Microsoft Edge: Although also based on Chrome, session settings in Microsoft Edge are stored in a different location with a different name. Choose Settings > Start, Home, and New Tabs and then select “Open tabs from the previous session.”

Between these macOS and browser settings, you can ensure that a restart results in the minimum interruption possible: when your Mac finishes restarting, all of your apps, documents, windows, and browser tabs will be the same as when you left off.

(Featured image by Adam Engst)