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How to force quit on Mac?

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  • 6 min read

Sometimes, apps on your Mac can freeze or become unresponsive. When this happens, you can force quit the app to close it and free up resources.

Apart from quitting the apps that freeze, force quitting can also help resolve problems like an app that’s using too much memory or CPU resources or an app that’s causing your Mac to slow down or crash. However, it’s important to note that force quitting an app can sometimes cause data loss. If you have unsaved work, save it before force quitting the app.

In this article, we will mention ways you can force quit on Mac.

When should you Force Quit?

Here are some reasons why force quitting becomes necessary:

Unresponsive applications

When an application stops responding or becomes stuck, it can hinder productivity and disrupt your workflow. Force quitting allows you to terminate the unresponsive application swiftly and regain control over your Mac’s resources.

Freeing up system resources

Unresponsive applications can consume significant system resources, such as CPU and memory, even when not functioning actively. By force quitting these applications, you can free up valuable system resources, ensuring your Mac runs smoothly and efficiently.

Preventing system slowdowns

Unresponsive applications can slow down your Mac, causing delays and frustrations. Force quitting prevents these applications from continuing to consume system resources and potentially affecting the performance of other active applications.

Resolving application issues

Some applications may encounter temporary glitches or bugs that lead to unresponsiveness. You can often resolve minor issues and restore functionality by force quitting and relaunching the problematic application.

Troubleshooting software conflicts

Unresponsive applications may sometimes result from conflicts with other software installed on your Mac. Force quitting allows you to identify and troubleshoot such conflicts by isolating the problematic application and investigating potential compatibility issues.

Avoiding system restart

In some situations, you want to avoid restarting your Mac due to fear of losing your unsaved work. In such cases, force quitting comes in handy. This saves time while simultaneously preventing data loss.

Also read: How To Stop Apps From Opening Automatically on Macbook?

5 ways to Force quit on a Mac

Let us now learn how to force quit an application on Mac.

Using the Apple Menu

The first method to force quit an application on your Mac is through the Apple menu. Follow the steps given below:

  • Click on the Apple logo at the top-left corner of the screen.
  • From the drop-down menu, select Force Quit.
  • Now, select the app that you want to quit.
  • Click the Force Quit button.

Using the Force Quit window

You can also use the Force Quit window to close the apps. Here’s how to do that:

  • Press Option + Command + Esc on your keyboard to open the Force Quit window.
  • Select the app that you want to force quit.
  • Click on the Force Quit button.

Using the Dock

You can also use the dock functionality on Mac to force quit an unresponsive application:

  • Right-click on the app’s icon in the Dock.
  • After that, select Force Quit from the menu.

Using the Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor is a built-in utility on macOS that provides detailed information about the processes and system resources on your Mac. It also allows you to monitor and manage the performance of your computer by providing real-time data on CPU usage, memory usage, disk activity, network activity, and more.

Follow the steps given below to use the Activity Monitor to force quit on Mac:

  • Open Activity Monitor and then select the app that you want to quit.
  • Click on the Quit button.
  • A dialog box will appear asking if you want to force quit the app.
  • Click on the Force Quit button.

Using the Terminal

The Terminal is a command-line interface (CLI) application on macOS that provides direct access to the underlying Unix-based operating system. Users can interact with Mac using text commands. The Terminal application is located in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder on Mac.

Here’s how to use the Terminal to force quit an app on Mac:

  • Open Terminal via Finder.
  • Now, type in killall [application name]. For example, if you want to force quit Instagram, you will enter killall Instagram
  • Press Enter.

That’s it! You can now use any of the above methods to force quit an application on Mac.

Also read: Macbook Pro touch bar not working: Quick Fix 

Frequently answered questions (FAQs)

Let us head to some FAQs related to the topic:

How do you force quit on Mac when it won’t force quit?

If the Mac is frozen and you cannot perform any function, you can force it to shut down by pressing and holding the power button for 10 seconds. This forces all apps to close, and your Mac will shut down. However, you may lose any unsaved data.

How do I force restart my Mac?

There is no button or functionality to ‘force restart’ a Mac. However, you can press the power button for 5-10 seconds to shut down your Mac and then press the power button again to start it.

Is Force Quitting bad for Mac?

Force Quitting an application is not necessarily bad for Mac. However, you may lose data, and frequent force quitting can minorly affect the system. But there’s nothing to worry about if you do it occasionally.

Also read: How to fix iPhone touch screen not working?

Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: