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Solved: How to fix Mystery Unknown App on Mac Dock After Login

We’ve encountered various problems with macOS, but the one we’re going to talk about today is quite puzzling. Lately, we’ve heard from some Mac users about a strange issue. When they log in to their Mac, they see an unfamiliar app briefly show up on their Dock. It’s like a “blank dock icon” that quickly appears for just a split second and then vanishes.

Furthermore, this odd occurrence doesn’t happen every time someone logs in; it just pops up randomly on some logins. Now, it’s important to note that this issue doesn’t harm your computer or any of your apps. However, it leaves users wondering where it’s coming from and if it could potentially become a problem down the road. There’s a bit of uncertainty here – could this “app” be some sort of harmful software (malware) or just a glitch in the system or a user app? Let’s get to the bottom of it and find out what’s going on.

Step to fix Mystery Unknown App on Mac Dock After Login

First, we went looking in all the possible places where we might find a clue about where this mystery app is coming from. We searched every part of the system in the list below, but we didn’t find anything that seemed suspicious or out of place.

User’s "login items"
local ~/Library/StartupItems/
~/Library/LaunchAgents (~ is your users folder)

Next, one user decided to take more drastic action and reset their Mac. This basically got rid of all the apps that didn’t come with the Mac originally. But guess what? The problem was still there. So, this made it pretty clear that the issue wasn’t caused by any third-party app. That was a big relief for everyone dealing with this problem.

Now, let’s get to the main point – who’s the one responsible for this mystery app appearing in the Dock after you log in on your Mac? Well, it turns out it’s not some outsider; it’s actually a system app made by Apple called XProtect.

For those who might not know, XProtect is like an in-built antivirus tool that macOS uses. It’s designed to find and remove malware by recognizing their unique signatures or patterns. To double-check this, we found that this was the only app that everyone affected by the issue had in common.

Here’s a little more info: One user noticed that this strange icon stayed on their Dock for about 2 seconds, just long enough for them to hover their cursor over it and see the app’s name. And you guessed it – it was indeed XProtect.

So, that’s the mystery solved! If you still have any questions or things you’re curious about, feel free to ask in the comments below. We’re here to help!

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