Running as a service

By running Mopidy as a system service, using e.g. systemd, it will automatically be started when your system starts. This is the preferred way to run Mopidy for most users.

The exact way Mopidy behaves when it runs as a service might vary depending on your operating system or distribution. The following applies to Debian, Ubuntu, Raspbian, and Arch Linux. Hopefully, other distributions packaging Mopidy will make sure this works the same way on their distribution.


When running Mopidy as a system service, configuration is read from /etc/mopidy/mopidy.conf, and not from ~/.config/mopidy/mopidy.conf.

To print Mopidy’s effective configuration, i.e. the combination of defaults, your configuration file, and any command line options, you can run:

sudo mopidyctl config

This will print your full effective config with passwords masked out so that you safely can share the output with others for debugging.

Service user

The Mopidy system service runs as the mopidy user, which is automatically created when you install the Mopidy package. The mopidy user will need read access to any local music you want Mopidy to play.


If you’re packaging Mopidy for a new distribution, make sure to automatically create the mopidy user when the package is installed.


To run Mopidy subcommands with the same user and config files as the service uses, you should use sudo mopidyctl <subcommand>.

In other words, where someone running Mopidy manually in a terminal would run:

mopidy <subcommand>

You should instead run the following:

sudo mopidyctl <subcommand>


If you’re packaging Mopidy for a new distribution, you’ll find the mopidyctl command in the extra/mopidyctl/ directory in the Mopidy Git repository.

Service management with systemd

On systems using systemd you can enable the Mopidy service by running:

sudo systemctl enable mopidy

This will make Mopidy automatically start when the system starts.

Mopidy is started, stopped, and restarted just like any other systemd service:

sudo systemctl start mopidy
sudo systemctl stop mopidy
sudo systemctl restart mopidy

You can check if Mopidy is currently running as a service by running:

sudo systemctl status mopidy

You can use journalctl to view Mopidy’s log, including important error messages:

sudo journalctl -u mopidy

journalctl has many useful options, including -f/--follow and -e/--pager-end, so please check out journalctl --help and man journalctl.

Service management on Debian

On Debian systems (both those using systemd and not) you can enable the Mopidy service by running:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure mopidy

Mopidy can be started, stopped, and restarted using the service command:

sudo service mopidy start
sudo service mopidy stop
sudo service mopidy restart

You can check if Mopidy is currently running as a service by running:

sudo service mopidy status

Service on macOS

On macOS, you can use launchctl to start Mopidy automatically at login as your own user.

With Homebrew

If you installed Mopidy from Homebrew, simply run brew info mopidy and follow the instructions in the “Caveats” section:

$ brew info mopidy
==> Caveats
To have launchd start mopidy/mopidy/mopidy now and restart at login:
    brew services start mopidy/mopidy/mopidy
Or, if you don't want/need a background service, you can just run:

See brew services --help for how to start/restart/stop the service.

Without Homebrew

If you happen to be on macOS, but didn’t install Mopidy with Homebrew, you can get the same effect by adding the file ~/Library/LaunchAgents/mopidy.plist with the following contents:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

You might need to adjust the path to the mopidy executable, /usr/local/bin/mopidy, to match your system.

Then, to start Mopidy with launchctl right away:

launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/mopidy.plist

System service and PulseAudio

When using PulseAudio, you will typically have a PulseAudio server run by your main user. Since Mopidy as a system service is running as its own user, it can’t access your PulseAudio server directly. Running PulseAudio as a system-wide daemon is discouraged by upstream (see here for details). Rather you can configure PulseAudio and Mopidy so that Mopidy sends the audio to the PulseAudio server already running as your main user.

First, configure PulseAudio to accept sound over TCP from localhost by uncommenting or adding the TCP module to /etc/pulse/ or $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pulse/ (typically ~/.config/pulse/

### Network access (may be configured with paprefs, so leave this commented
### here if you plan to use paprefs)
#load-module module-esound-protocol-tcp
load-module module-native-protocol-tcp auth-ip-acl=
#load-module module-zeroconf-publish

Next, configure Mopidy to use this PulseAudio server:

output = pulsesink server=

After this, restart both PulseAudio and Mopidy:

pulseaudio --kill
sudo systemctl restart mopidy

If you are not running any X server, run pulseaudio --start instead of start-pulseaudio-x11.

If you don’t want to hard code the output in your Mopidy config, you can instead of adding any config to Mopidy add this to ~mopidy/.pulse/client.conf: