Dark Pattern: Stop Spotify from Starting up on Mac

I know this is a lame story to post but OMG it took me way longer to figure this out than is should have and the feature was buuuuuuried. Dark. UX. Pattern.

You’re frustrated because you’re having computer issues. Something has broken and is glitching causing you to not only look through google but to try all kinds of things that you’re pretty sure might cause your computer to explode. In your desperation you try anything because you really want to watch that last episode of “Raised by Wolves” (that show is crazy out there). In trying anything you find yourself continually rebooting, restarting, shutting down, etc your computer in hopes that upon rebirth…its risen from the ashes of frustration to birth a new “works just like it did” baby engulfed in the flames of your joy.

Each time it fails your frustration is mounting. Each new login its not fixed and to add insult to injury you keep quiting the spotify app that constantly opens up upon login. Why is it opening up? You go to your system preferences and check your user login items…no spotify.

Users and groups with the login items open….no spotify

You right click the icon in your dock and check to see if login options have been set there…

Open at login is not open here either

Nope…nothing. That must mean its buried inside the application itself and to be honest I don’t remember setting it up as a preference to begin with. Perhaps I did. I’m not entirely sure.

Digging into the application

It took me a lot longer to find this option than it should have. I don’t know why something that impacted the startup of computer was seemingly buried under an advanced option accordion at the bottom of a page which…if I’m being honest was a little chaotic with all of the surrounding information still there and not really clearly marked. If I’m being honest…I wouldve expected this type of setting to live inside the “devices” category and/or be more prominently displayed closer to my profile. Its my computer and I’ve tried removing your app from my Os startup locations who are you to defy me? THE USER?!

Ok so here it is. Hit up your preferences from your dropdown menu. You can also access it from your application under the profile dropdown and “settings” selection.

Once in the settings you can scroll aaaaaallllll the way down until you hit advanced settings. Make sure you click that.

If you’re a bit disoriented with all the white headers, white buttons, white text, thats ok you’ree not alone. Yes something opened up you just have to read the content to realize its all different, oh wait, no you have to scroll UP to find the option. That makes sense right? You opened it…so scroll up to see your new choices. Look for startup and window behavior

Make sure to select NO because what the heck does minimized mean?!? It means yes. I’m pretty sure there are two yes options and a no option no joke. Mine was on minimized but it minimizingly opened up every time.

Is this a dark pattern?

If you don’t know what a dark pattern is, its kind of the like the evil twin of ux. Evil ux which causes mistakes and/or user action in favor of an action that benefits another entity and usually done in a slightly questionable way. Did spotify default to opening up at launch? I don’t know but I don’t appreciate any application that assumes that. Its my computer not yours. If it wasn’t intentional and/or I did set up the preference why make it so hard to find and remove? Who is that benefitting, you or me? Do your numbers show that opening spotify at startup causes more plays and therefore more revenue? It does seem like you’re incentivized by that behavior and in trying to keep me from changing it. Just saying. It may not be a dark pattern, well it literally is dark in there, but its a gray one for sure. It might just be me though.

Experience Designer @slalom. Founder, designer, and Illustrator @wattle_n_daub. Boring people to death with UX, illustration, typography, and identity design.

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