How to Force Quit on a Mac (Updated Guide)

Curious to know how to force quit on a mac. Sometimes, out of the blue, your Mac will stop, your apps won’t respond, and you’ll start feeling increasingly irritated. Please don’t panic; it’s not that big of a deal. It can be quickly fixed using one of the numerous methods that we will discuss in this article.

But first, why does your Mac freeze in the first position? Your Macintosh stops responding when there are a lot of commands piled up, and your computer doesn’t have enough capacity to run all those apps.

A different common reason for a Mac hanging up is excessive heat. To help prevent it, check our article on the way to stop your Mac from overheating.

How to Force Quit a program on a Mac

How to Force Quit a program on a Mac
How to Force Quit a program on a Mac

If an app on your Mac stops answering, you can use what Apple calls “Force Quit” to close it. But before you use this drastic path, try to close the app the usual way: Choose Quit from the app’s menu in the menu bar, or you can press Command + Q while in the app.

If the app still doesn’t quit, then follow certain steps:

  1. Concurrently hit these three keys: Option, Command, and Esc (Escape).
  2. Choose the app within the Force Quit window, then click Force Quit.

Alternatively, you can select Force Quit from the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of your screen, and then choose the app you want to quit via the Force Quit window. As you’ll see, Apple’s Force Quit function works very similarly to pressing Control + Alt + Delete on a PC.

Force Quit from the Apple Menu

To force quit an app on a Mac:

  1. Hit the Apple logo in the upper left corner of your screen to open the Apple menu
  2. Choose the Force Quit option from the drop-down menu
  3. You should see the table of currently active apps. Select a frozen app and click Force Quit

Force Quit from the Dock

The active application’s icon is usually placed on your Dock panel. You can quickly force quit the non-responding application on a Mac from there. How can you do this? There’s no magic here.

To end a task on a Mac:

  1. Get the frozen app’s icon and right-click it (or click with the Control key pressed).
  2. Next, hit the Option key and choose the Force Quit option that pops up.

Force Quit Using the Mac Keyboard Shortcut

The easiest and probably fastest way to access the Force Quit menu on a Mac is to use a particular key combination.

All you require to do to force quit a program on a Mac:

  1. Hold down the Command (⌘) + Option/Alt (⌥) + Esc keys concurrently to open the Force Quit menu
  2. Next, select the app you want to quit
  3. Hit the Force Quit button and you are done!

Seldom, when your Mac freezes your keyboard stops working, too. Luckily, it’s fixable—check this article on how to fix a keyboard that stopped working.

Force quit from the Activity Monitor

Force quit from the Activity Monitor
Force quit from the Activity Monitor

This is a more advanced yet still relatively easy way to force quit the app on a Mac. Even if you’re fresh to Macs, you’ve likely heard of the Activity Monitor app.

If the app isn’t answering, you may check how it is using your system resources.

  1. Open Activity Monitor using the Spotlight search
  2. Go to the CPU tab
  3. Locate the app you need to quit from the list.
  4. Highlight this app and hit the X button in the upper left corner of the Activity Monitor window.

Force Quit Using the Terminal

Alternatively, you can force quit the frozen app using the Terminal command. This step is for excellent Mac users who are familiar with shell commands.

  1. Start by seeking the Terminal in the Spotlight search window and launch the Terminal app
  2. Type in: kill all application name
  3. For example, if the Show app doesn’t respond, type in kill all Preview
  4. Hit the Enter key

It’s important to say that once you use the kill all command, the auto-save function won’t work, and you’ll lose your saved data. Thus, make sure to use this method carefully.

What Happens If Your Force Quit Finder Freeze?

The Finder tool assists you find and organize all your documents, media, folders, and other files. It’s the first thing you see when your Mac starts, and it’s ever available when you’re utilizing other apps. So, if Finder should ever freeze, your Mac will be momentarily useless. Luckily, you can force Finder to quit when it stops returning. Just select Finder in the Force Quit window, and then hit Relaunch.

Don’t worry, nothing terrible would happen if your force quit Finder. You can quickly close it by any of the previous methods discussed in this article. Now you understand all the ways to force a non-responding app to quit. Hopefully, your Mac will run easily, and you’ll rarely use these tricks.


Q: How do I force quit Mac when it doesn't force quit?
A; To do the identical thing but faster, use Mac shortcut keys to close frozen applications. On your keyboard, hit and hold Command + Option + Esc. It will quickly bring up a “Force Quit Application” window. Select the frozen application from the dialogue box and choose Force Quit.
Q: How does one force quit on a Mac using the keyboard?
A; Hit these three keys together: Option, Command, and Esc (Escape). This is related to pressing Control-Alt-Delete on a PC. Or want Force Quit from the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of your screen. Select the app in the Force Quit window, then hit Force Quit.
Q: How do you unfreeze a Mac?
A: In this example, the cure is to perform a Force Quit. Go to the Apple menu and choose Force Quit, or press the Option-Command-Escape keys as a shortcut. The Mac will display a list of applications; hit the one that’s frozen, and the Mac will close it down without affecting any of the others.
Q: How do I force quit a Mac installer?
A: Command-Option-Esc will take up the Force Quit window. Select the installer and quit. Open Activity Monitor in Applications/Utilities. In the top part of the Activity Monitor window, see the installer then click on the red icon to quit the process.

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