Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The real way to disable Adobe Updater from your Mac OS X

Adobe update manager is really annoying, but most instructions on the web to disable it merely tells Adobe Updater not to report updates; the updater still runs silently. The fact that I'm dedicating system resource every now and then so the Adobe Updater can phone home but not tell me to update is not good enough for me. I want Adobe Updater to stop completely.

To stop Adobe Updater completely, one must understand how it gets run in the first place. The updater is launched by a Mac OS X system service called launchd. To launchd, Adobe Updater is a periodic job. The job file is stored under your ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder. The actual file name is suffixed with a number of random characters, but it starts with "com.adobe.ARM" as the prefix. If you look inside the file (it's a plain text file), you'd see that launchd would run the updater at 12600 seconds interval, or 3.5 hours.
To remove, type these commands in a Terminal window:
cd ~/Library/LaunchAgents
launchctl remove `basename com.adobe.ARM.* .plist`
rm com.adobe.ARM.*
Basically, the idea is, for each launchd plist file in ~/Library/LaunchAgents that you don't want, run launchctl remove on the job name, which is the same as the plist file name without the .plist suffix, then remove the actual .plist file.

While you are at it, there may be other launchd jobs in ~/Library/LaunchAgents left over from stale applications you might have tried before. Feel free to remove them all.

You're welcome.

Edit (Oct 20, 2012): a couple of readers pointed out in the comment that the launchd namespace used by Adobe Updater is now different. I just installed Adobe (Acrobat) Reader XI and found that the name is still com.adobe.ARM.*, but if you have Creative Suite, it might be com.adobe.AAM.* instead. I don't have Creative Suite so I can't verify that.

Furthermore, it appears that when you set Updater preference in Adobe Reader XI to "Do not download or install updates automatically," it now removes the launchd task as well, which means the launchctl and rm commands would no longer be necessary. Kudos to Adobe for figuring that out!

One reader also pointed out that in his case, the updater is installed in the system-wide location /Library/LaunchAgents. In that case, you will need to run “sudo su -” first and type in your own password to gain root privilege (the prompt changes from “$” to “#”) before they can be removed. Be careful the commands you enter as root, as a mistake can irreparably damage your system.

Thanks for keeping me updated y'all.


Unknown said...

You should correct your code to com.adobe instead of com.apple. Everything else was fine, thanks.

Michael Littman said...

Interestingly, when I go to the directory, there's nothing there. I'm not sure what is starting "Updater". (When I inspect the process in "Activity Monitor", it does say launchd is responsible, so that's weird.)

Likai Liu said...

@trickards thanks for the heads up. Corrected.

RH27 said...

On my Lion + Photoshop CS5 install it was called com.adobe.AAM.Updater-1.0.plist

Seems to have worked though. Thanks!

orthorim said...

FYI if you want an easier way to do this, download Lingon. It shows you what's running, what's being loaded, and allows you to enable/disable items.

Full control for your Mac. It's free/open source, too.

Christina McGinnis said...

It didn't work for me any idea why? Running Lion and CS5. I copy and pasted it exactly so I'm not sure what the problem is, I am very new to this kind of thing. Help?

CK said...


I had the same prob and solved it.

My Mac is also running on Lion with CS5.

Go manually in library then in launchagents.

You'll find the file called com.adobe.AAM.Updater-1.0.plist as RH27 said.

You can manually delete it.

Stan Klimoff said...

A couple of revisions for 2012:
— The updater now uses namespace com.adobe.AAM instead of com.adobe.ARM;
— It might be installed for every user on your system, not just for current one; go to /Library/LaunchAgents instead and use sudo to delete the plist.

Bottom line:
cd ~/Library/LaunchAgents
launchctl remove `basename com.adobe.ARM.*.plist`
launchctl remove `basename com.adobe.AAM.*.plist`
rm com.adobe.ARM.*
rm com.adobe.AAM.*

cd /Library/LaunchAgents
launchctl remove `basename com.adobe.ARM.*.plist`
launchctl remove `basename com.adobe.AAM.*.plist`
sudo rm com.adobe.ARM.*
sudo rm com.adobe.AAM.*

dpwe said...

I had two ARM files in ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ . I had to modify the launchctl command to be:

for f in `basename -s .plist com.adobe.ARM.*`; do launchctl remove $f; done

Unknown said...

on 10.8.2 w/ CS6 Master the file name was the AAM but the actual launchd process name was different --

file name was com.adobe.AAM.Updater-1.0.plist but
the process name in the plist was com.adobe.AAM.Scheduler-1.0

Thus, if anyone gets a "no process found" when trying to remove take a peek at the plist to check the process name. in my case doing this:

launchctl remove com.adobe.AAM.Scheduler-1.0
rm com.adobe.AAM.*

Works! Thanks for the tip

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AcousticSurf said...

Thanks for posting this.

I used \(launchctl list \) and found a weird process called:


I removed this one, but I'm on the lookout for other weird ones.

Shotgunsnack said...


arinoteles said...

Thanks. but i have serious font problems. Can I undo this? please help me!!

Rodrigo said...

I did this and worked.

launchctl list | grep adobe

then copy the process name and

launchctl remove PROCESS_NAME

zartre.y said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zartre.y said...


Another way is to navigate to ~Library/LaunchAgents and delete the com.adobe.AAM.Updater.(version may varies).plist .

Rémi Belzanti said...

It works ! Thx !
What i did :
cd ~/Library/LaunchAgents/
rm com.adobe.*
cd /Library/LaunchAgents/
sudo su
rm com.adobe.A*

Note: The launchctl command didn't make any changes.

Unknown said...

I have lunchy installed:

To remove the updater, I did this in a terminal window:

$lunchy ls com.adobe*

$ lunchy uninstall com.adobe.ARM.202f4087f2bbde52e3ac2df389f53a4f123223c9cc56a8fd83a6f7ae
stopped com.adobe.ARM.202f4087f2bbde52e3ac2df389f53a4f123223c9cc56a8fd83a6f7ae
uninstalled com.adobe.ARM.202f4087f2bbde52e3ac2df389f53a4f123223c9cc56a8fd83a6f7ae

That's done the trick for now.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip. I hate how apple keeps bullshitting its users.

Unknown said...

Has the command text changed? I am trying desperately to stop the Adobe updater as well as the adobe genuine thing that keeps popping up Any idea on how to stop it all?