Emacs Deamon Mode on macos
A common complaint about emacs is that it takes longer to launch than vim. I enjoy being able to quickly edit a file without leaving the terminal in vim and was curious if there was a way to make emacs load just as fast. I have a number of emacs plugins through Spacemacs and it does take around 10-20 seconds to launch in both terminal and GUI mode. With emacs client mode, it launches in less than a second.
Emacs client and Server
Instead of launching a full emacs client every time you want to edit a file, it's better to launch emacs as a daemon in headless mode when your computer starts up. If you have an emacs process already running, you can connect to it using the
emacsclient launches a terminal client to a local emacs process and launches just as quickly as vim.
emacsclient -c opens a separate GUI instance
launchd and macos Launch Agents
If we frequently use emacs we can have the macos process manager start an emacs daemon on login and restart it if the deamon dies.
Create this file in
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN"
<string>Gnu Emacs Daemon</string>
launchctl load on startup
This command will start the deamon and ensure it is started on every login.
launchctl load -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/gnu.emacs.daemon.plist
You can also use
unload to stop the daemon and prevent it from starting next login.
launchctl load -w
: Loads and starts the job while also marking the job as "not disabled." The job will restart on the next login/reboot.
launchctl unload -w
: Stops and unloads and disables the job. The job will NOT restart on the next login/restart.
Now that we have a deamon always running, we can quickly launch emacs by running
emacsclient -c or
emacsclient. If we ever need to kill the emacs daemon it should be restarted automatically.