Why Does iTunes Keep Restarting When I Quit the Program? [Ask MacRx]



Software can be a cantankerous thing. Sometimes programs won’t launch when you need them, and other times they won’t go away when you’re done! One reader is having a problem with iTunes refusing to quit when asked:

I have some questions related to 10.5 iTunes. When I quit iTunes it goes about the process normally and then starts back up. iTunes is using 80-100% CPU usage when running. Could this be related to a third-party plug-in? Very frustrating and have to force restart my mini as iTunes cancels the shutdown process.

Thanks, Tim

Hi Tim,

Yes, these problems could be related to an incompatible iTunes plugin. There are two places these are located: in the top level /Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins folder and in your user ~/Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins folder. Take a peek in both and see what you have. Make a copy of what’s there before deleting anything, in case you need to revert back.

If that’s not the cause then you may have a corrupt copy of the iTunes preferences file or iTunes itself. For the preferences, delete the com.apple.itunes.plist preference file in your user library ~/Library/Preferences folder, then relaunch iTunes. If still not fixed, delete the iTunes applicaton itself, reboot, then download the latest iTunes installer from Apple and run this again.

I did try those suggestions previously (except re-installing iTunes) after doing an online search, and still the same issues. I then looked to see what had been installed recently and at the Activity Monitor.

My son uses a BlackBerry and the software for it – their sync program. It appears that the newest version installed a ‘RimAlbumArt’ daemon that uses iTunes. After finding that I did a search for it and found discussion on the BB forum and issues with the latest 2.20 program. There doesn’t appear a way to get rid of that daemon; I quit it in the Activity Monitor and it starts back up again. So I am going to pull a previous version of the BB program from Time Machine and try that.

If a problem still I will re-install iTunes. Or maybe BlackBerry will have a update too.

I think you’re on the right track with the BlackBerry daemon. Quitting this in Activity Monitor doesn’t delete the software; it’s probably set to restart automatically upon termination. That may be exactly what it’s doing with iTunes.

Check to see if you have anything from BlackBerry in your main /Library/StartupItems folder. If so, remove this, reboot and see if that helps. If not, contact BlackBerry tech support and ask them how to completely uninstall this software. Replacing the current program with an older version may not remove the offending component.

In my experience, BlackBerrys and Macs do not play well together, either using their own software or third party solutions like Missing Sync for BlackBerry. My general suggestion to my clients experiencing similiar problems is get an iPhone! The way RIM’s fortunes are going these days that may soon be a necessity for everyone…

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Readers, have any additional suggestions on this topic, or corrections/clarifications on the advice above? If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

  • Teds McTeddington

    Does the person use GeekTool? Make sure it’s not running. If you want to use it combined, make sure it’s not requesting to iTunes to display track info on your desktop. It will open iTunes if it is set up like that.

  • MrM589

    I had this issue combined with absurd iphone battery life, both problems solved when I disabled Itunes Wireless Sync. If you are using Iphone/Ipad and syncing this way try disabling it to see if it works.
    Wireless Sync: Good idea but not there yet.

  • Brendon

    If you hold down the Shift key while launching itunes, it will disable any 3rd party plug-ins installed.

  • Baines989

    I thought It was because of of the cloud and iTunes connecting with my phone…not the case??

  • Baines989

    I thought It was because of of the cloud and iTunes connecting with my phone…not the case??

  • JD

    I had this issue for a while before, but a couple updates later, it stopped restarting itself.

  • Jordan Stocker

    on my macbook pro i cant get TeamViewer to stay closed

  • AlterThending

    Since Lion I have had the same problem with the Mail app. Sometimes I have to force quit it to get it to go away. Sometimes it won’t let me delete mail either. Must be a bug of some kind.

  • volodoscope

    The iCloud still needs a lot of work. Mail and iTunes are constantly being beeped from the mother ship.

  • CDF

    I have the same issue when I have running a small application, What’s playing now; if I quit it, then iTunes stops starting again after i quit.

  • nizy

    I had a problem like this a few years ago and found that the issue was the iTunes dashboard widget.

  • Patspicks

    Unplug your iPod or iPad from your computer

  • David Stewart

    SRS Labs’ iWow plug-in causes this problem. “This has a process called “genredetection” which will restart iTunes if it quits unexpectedly. When iTunes restarts it will spawn a new genredetection process. Now when you try to shutdown iTunes normally then it’s OK for the new genredetection process. But not for the remainder of the last iTunes session. So it will restart iTunes. Now a new genredetection process is spawned ….” (http://www.mac-geeks.de/2008/0

    If you enter “killall genredetection” in Terminal, it will kill all the extra processes started, and you can close iTunes without it reopening. I wrote an Application in Automator that has a single shell command (above). When I used iWow and I ran into this loop, I would run the app. Problem solved.

  • Aymeric Dujardin

    Look at /Library/Application Support and delete the folder Blackberry.

  • m_hardwick

    I have nothing in the way of an iPhone or iPod plugged in, and no … still get it – so er, what do you suggest next ‘eh?

  • m_hardwick

    I have nothing in the way of an iPhone or iPod plugged in, and no … still get it – so er, what do you suggest next ‘eh?

  • jakelson

    This is perfect. It’s such an old article, yet still great to have! Had a bad visualizer plugin, Quartz Composer Visualizer.bundle. Thanks!