How to Get EOS Utility Out of the Way

Canon EOS cameras do not tolerate when more than one app tries to talk to them over USB. They don’t even give a beep, just silently start operating erratically. This isn’t new, this behavior is present from the dawn of the EOS system.

And yet large manufacturers are routinely caught red handed, keeping a connection to your camera when no one asked. With serious consequences. This arrogant behavior frustrates the hell out of me – imagine solving a user’s problem when he has a pile of these apps on his machine…

To make things worse, Apple had removed the ability to detect such an interference in macOS 10.12, and thus we are unable to pinpoint culprits the way we did in the past.

I already wrote about how to prevent Apple’s Photos from automatically launching when you connect a camera (you can find a longer version in my Kuuvik Capture Inside Out eBook).

This is EOS Utility’s turn. It was a great citizen that coexisted nicely with other camera control apps for years, but recent versions started to do naughty things.

I recommend against installing any Canon software in the first place, unless you have a very strong reason to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I love Canon’s cameras and several lenses – it’s extremely good at making these things. But its apps always were, and still are, sub-par. You can get markedly better results (in terms of image quality, user interface, functionality, power consumption, etc.) with proper third party apps. 

For a long time EOS Utility was a single app. But recently it’s been split into three: EOS Utility 3 for new cameras, EOS Utility 2 for older ones, and a shell around those, which is now called EOS Utility (formerly this was a separate utility for Wi-Fi pairing). The problem child is the latter, EOS Utility, which thinks it has a right to always run and talk to your cameras – without your consent. Start it once, and you need to run extra miles to get it out of the way. These extra steps are the topic of this post.

Once started, the EOS Utility shell’s icon appears on the menu bar. Right-click the icon, choose Quit, and you may think it’s gone. Well, until you start your computer next time.

This is because it created a startup item. But fortunately this item can be removed easily in System Preferences. Go into Users & Groups, and then click Login Items. You’ll see something like the screen below.

Click the line with the EOS Utility item, and click the minus sign below the list. And while you are here, it’s a good practice to remove other suspicious/unwanted items.

If you need to use EOS Utility over USB, I recommend to start the separate EOS Utility 2 or 3 apps instead of this shell. This way you can avoid both unwanted interference as well as doing this cleanup procedure over and over again.