Are you having a technical issue and can’t get an app to close on your Mac? Perhaps the app is taking up all your system’s resources and you can’t even open a new app. Many times you can’t right-click on the app in the Dock and close it. Then, the X button doesn’t work either. So, how do you force quit on a Mac when nothing else works?
Don’t become too frustrated just yet. The following steps will show you every possible way to force quit on a Mac — from keyboard shortcuts to a force restart. We’ll have you back to work in no time!
How to Force Quit on a Mac Using a Keyboard Shortcut
Are you watching your cursor turn into a little rainbow wheel, just spinning and spinning, unable to click on anything? While all of our steps below require you to use your cursor and click around on your screen, we’d like to mention the keyboard shortcut first.
If you can’t click on anything, push these buttons on your Mac to Force Quit the current app:
Option + Command + Esc
This shortcut should kill the problem app. If it doesn’t, keep reading, because we’ll help you force quit any application on your Mac.
How to Force Quit on a Mac
The term “Force Quit” refers to forcing an application or process to stop running entirely. As opposed to simply exiting an app, this closes all background processes despite what the app wants (such as Microsoft Word not closing because it wants you to save your document).
Force quit is most useful when an app crashes or becomes unresponsive. Essentially, that means the app isn’t acting right, and the only option is to force it closed. The next several steps will walk you through how to force quit processes on your Mac.
Step 1: Click the App
If you can, click the questionable application, so it appears on top of everything else.
Helpful Hint: This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does put your app at the top of the Force Quit list in the following steps.
Step 2: Click the Apple Icon
Your Mac’s Force Quit option is in the Apple Menu. So, click the Apple icon to access the drop-down menu.
Step 3: Click Force Quit
In the drop-down menu, you’ll see several options. Click the Force Quit option to open the Force Quit menu.
Step 4: Ensure the App is Selected
Every app currently running on your Mac will appear in the list. Ensure the app you want to close is selected. It will be highlighted blue while the rest are grey.
Step 5: Click Force Quit
At the bottom of the pop-up window, click Force Quit.
Your app should close instantly, but it may take a few seconds.
How to Check Which Apps to Force Quit on Mac
Sometimes an app or process hangs up, affecting every app you have running. This makes it hard to determine which app is the problem because they’re all misbehaving. However, there is a way to see which app is the culprit.
Hopefully, your Mac will let you click around without going too slowly. If it will, you can follow these steps to see which app is the problem.
Step 1: Open Finder
Your Mac’s Finder stores all of your computer’s information. This is where to find any applications, including photos and documents.
Click to open the Finder at the bottom of the screen in the Dock. It looks like a blue and white face.
Step 2: Click Applications
A new window will open with a list of options to the left. You’ll see Recents, Downloads, and other options. Click the Applications tab in the left-side menu.
Step 3: Click Utilities
Now, we need to access Utility apps. If your apps are in alphabetical order, which is the default, scroll to the bottom of the window and click Utilities.
Helpful Hint: The Utilities icon looks like a folder with tools on it.
Step 4: Click Activity Monitor
Now, click the Activity Monitor. This app will show you what apps are running and how they’re functioning.
Step 5: Investigate the Problem App
Now, click the Memory tab at the top. The application that appears first is the one taking up the majority of your Mac’s memory and, therefore, the one we should try to force quit first.
You can also check the CPU tab and Energy tab for problems. Some apps hog your Mac’s RAM (Memory), while others tax the CPU to the point that nothing else can function correctly.
Finally, follow the steps above to force quit the malfunctioning app on your Mac.
How to Force Restart a Mac
If none of our steps are possible because your Mac isn’t responding, you may want to consider a force restart. However, when possible, the best way to restart your Mac is to click the Apple icon, then click Restart.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to do a force restart when your Mac isn’t responding. Press the power button until your Mac turns off. Then wait 30 seconds and restart it. It may take a moment for your computer to boot up, but the issue shouldn’t happen again.
Helpful Hint: Remember that any unsaved work gets deleted during this process.
May the Force Quit be With You
Hopefully, if you were having some sort of technical issue, we resolved it! Whether it be a force quit or a force restart, shutting down a problem app or process typically fixes our problems and gets us back to work!
Sometimes force quit on our Mac doesn’t work; that’s when we need to restart the entire system with a force restart. If an app won’t close, force quit is the way to go! You can use the keyboard shortcut or follow the Apple icon path to bypass any pop-ups and close the app, making it much easier and faster.
Check out the video below for a quick visual guide to the methods in this post.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©WeDesing/Shutterstock.com.