iTunesHelper – What does iTunes Helper do?
iTunesHelper or iTunes Helper, is a program from Apple that runs in the background and monitors for the connection of any iPod or iPhone to the computer, if an iPod or iPhone is detected it will automatically launch the iTunes application. The functionality is the same on both Mac OS X and Windows PC’s, and there is no serious ramification to disabling it (other than that iTunes will no longer auto-launch upon connecting your iPhone or iPod).
Disable iTunes Helper in Mac OS X
iTunesHelper.app is autoloaded during system boot in Mac OS X, but if you’re having problems with the iTunesHelper app you can easily disable this from auto-loading by going to System Preferences -> Users -> Login Items, clicking on the iTunesHelper application and then clicking on the minus (-) button at the bottom of the list (thanks Gord!). Unselecting the checkbox next to iTunesHelper application hides it during system launch, as seen in this screenshot:
Disable iTunes Helper in Windows
Go to Start Menu -> Run, type in ‘msconfig.exe’ and hit enter. A system configuration utility will pop up and click the “Startup” tab, from there navigate to iTunesHelper.exe and disable it by unselecting the checkbox next to the app name.
Why you would want to disable iTunes Helper
Sometimes iTunesHelper freaks out and causes system hangs, CPU drain, and other frustrating problems. Otherwise, you may just not want iTunes to automatically launch if you connect an iPod or iPhone, you can disable that setting within the iTunes settings, or you can disable iTunesHelper itself. My cousin was recently having all sorts of problems with the actual iTunesHelper daemon running in the background, so I helped him disable it completely, and his problems were resolved.