5 Easy Ways to Force Quit Apps on Your Mac

While it doesn’t happen often, we can find an unresponsive or frozen application on Mac. Moreover, force quitting an app is a simple fix to many problems like Mac keeps restarting or the app keeps crashing. Luckily, macOS allows you many ways to force quit an application on Mac and we’ve covered all possible ways in detail.

Force Quit on Mac

Knowing more than one way to force quit on Mac can come in handy, Especially, if the app is acting stubbornly, rendering your mouse or keyboard unusable. You can always use an alternative method and close the problematic app for good. So, let’s get going.

Things to Know Before You Force Quit Apps on Mac

There’s a fine difference between quitting and force quitting. When you hit the Close button on an app, it doesn’t always quit entirely. It’s just shoved in the background and might even open from the last used window.

However, a Force Quit is like shutting down and then restarting the app. It not just kills the app, but also all related processes running in the background. That means it may incur data loss if the work is not saved. So, it’s safe to assume that force quitting an app on Mac is the last measure when it is stuck or unresponsive.

How to Force Quit on Mac

Note: Irrespective of the Mac or MacBook model you use, these solutions remain common to the majority of macOS versions.

1. Force Exit on Mac Directly From the Dock

You can use the Dock to close an application on MacBook or force quit. First, locate the app icon that’s stuck or frozen. Then right-click on the app icon while holding down the Option key on your keyboard. Select Force Quit from the menu that opens.

Force quit from Dock

2. From the Force Quit Menu

One of the most well knows and common ways to force quit an application on Mac. And its best benefit is that you can terminate more than one app at once.

Now, there are two ways to bring upon the Force Quit window,

  • Go to Apple Menu → Select Force Quit from the drop-down menu.
  • Press Command + Option + Escape key from your keyboard.
Click Force quit

Once the Force Quit window is opened, select the app or apps and click Force Quit.

Click Force Quit

Note: You can also click on Finder and hit Relaunch to check if it’s the Finder that’s stuck or causing the disruption. After the Finder relaunches, try using apps on your Mac.

3. Use Activity Monitor to Force Quit Program Mac

The Activity Monitor is a powerful utility that allows you to monitor and control the processes of all your running apps. It gives you resource-specific details like which apps and processes take the most memory and CPU. Besides that, this is also an excellent way to Force Quit stuck applications.

To do so, open Spotlight, i.e., press the Command+Space keys. Then, type in Activity Monitor and press Return to open the Activity Monitor app. Or you can go to Finder → Applications → Utilities → Activity Manager.

Open activity monitor

Now, from the Activity Monitor window, select the application you want to force quit and press the ‘x’ button on the top. Choose Force Quit in the confirmation pop-up to cease all the processes related to the particular app.

Click x and the Force Quit

4. Keyboard Shortcuts to Force Quit Any App on Mac

If your cursor or mouse becomes unresponsive along with the app, this four-key force quit command on Mac is your best bet. It takes down the currently active application instantly.

To force quit a frozen application, simply press the Command + Option + Shift + Escape shortcut on the keyboard. It will instantly close the application.

Note: If even this doesn’t work, press the Control + Option + Command + Power button. This force quits all apps and shuts down the system.

5. Use Terminal Commands

If you are comfortable tinkering with the Terminal app, you can use it to force quit a stubborn app on your Mac. However, the only thing you’ll need to take care of is typing the exact application name. For instance, you’ll need to type the app’s name as WhatsApp and not whatsapp.

Step 1: Open Terminal from Spotlight, Launch Pad, or Applications → Utilities.

Search and select Terminal

Step 2: Type in the following command and hit Return Key:

sudo killall "<appname>"

Step 3: Enter your device password and hit Return.

Terminal command to Force quit apps on Mac

If everything is fine, Mac will force quit the application. However, you might get a ‘No matching processes were found’ error if there is a spelling mistake or the device can’t find the process.

What if I can’t force quit apps on my Mac

It’s quite unlikely that one of the methods mentioned above won’t work. However, in the rare scenario, you should force restart your Mac. And if the app continues to freeze, even after restarting, you can boot the Mac in Safe Mode or check out this guide to get force quit on Mac working again.

Although the ultimate solution is to either contact the app developer or Apple support and get help from authorized personnel.

Quick Tips to Avoid App Freezing on Mac

As they say, prevention is always better than a cure; here are some hacks to minimize the chances of app freezing on your Mac:

  • Keep your macOS and apps up to date.
  • Close unnecessary apps and processes running in the background.
  • Monitor system resources and free up space on your Mac.
  • Avoid installing incompatible or unreliable software.

FAQs for Force Quitting Apps on Mac

1. When should you force quit an app?

Force quitting should not be the norm. You should only use the option when an app stops responding, keeps crashing, or runs sluggishly and the regular methods of closing the app don’t work.

2. How does force quitting differ from regular app closing?

Force quitting is a more aggressive method. It forcefully terminates the app, even if it is unresponsive, whereas regular app closing allows the app to gracefully exit and save any unsaved data.

3. Can force quitting harm my Mac?

It doesn’t really affect your Mac, although you might lose unsaved data. However, if you have to force quit an app repeatedly, it is an indication of some underlying issue with the app or your Mac; then you should address the issue critically.

Quit Stubborn Apps on Mac

Knowing how to force quit apps on Mac is a valuable skill. It can help you deal with unresponsive applications while keeping frustrations at bay. And by familiarizing yourself with these methods, you can regain control over unresponsive apps.

Most importantly, it will ensure a smoother and more productive experience. If you have any questions, queries, or suggestions, feel free to reach out to us in the comments section.

Last updated on 31 May, 2023

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