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Are you facing the frustration of a non-responsive app on your Mac? Rather than feeling stuck and aggravated, take action by force quitting the unresponsive application. The good news is that you have alternatives to effectively close such apps.

In the digital age, our lives are intricately woven into the world of technology, where applications streamline our tasks and enhance our productivity. However, even the most advanced systems can occasionally encounter hiccups, leading to unresponsive applications that refuse to close gracefully. This is where the invaluable skill of force quitting comes into play.

Picture this scenario: you’re engrossed in a creative project or tackling a crucial task on your Mac, and suddenly, a misbehaving application brings your progress to a screeching halt. The spinning beach ball of frustration appears, and clicking furiously yields no results. This is precisely when knowing how to force quit an app becomes your lifeline.

In this article, we delve into the art of force-quitting apps on a Mac, navigating the uncharted territory of frozen interfaces and unresponsive software.

Why Force quit is needed?

Force Quit” is a feature on macOS (previously Mac OS X) that allows users to forcibly terminate unresponsive or frozen applications. When an application becomes unresponsive, it might stop responding to user input, freeze, or become stuck in a loop. In such cases, using the regular “Quit” option might not work because the application is not able to respond to the quit command.

Here are a few reasons why the “Force Quit” option is needed on macOS:

  1. Application Freeze or Hang: Sometimes, an application might freeze or hang due to various reasons, such as a software bug, memory issues, or conflicts with other software. In such cases, the application stops responding to user actions, and the only way to close it is by using the “Force Quit” option.
  2. Resource Allocation Issues: If an application consumes an excessive amount of system resources (CPU, memory, etc.), it can slow down or freeze the entire system. Force quitting the problematic application can release the resources it was using and help restore system stability.
  3. Software Conflicts: In some cases, conflicts between different applications or system processes can lead to an application becoming unresponsive. Force quitting the affected application can help resolve the conflict and allow other applications to function properly.
  4. Temporary Glitches: Occasionally, temporary glitches or errors can cause an application to become unresponsive for a short period. If the issue doesn’t resolve on its own, using “Force Quit” can provide a way to quickly restart the application.
  5. Error Recovery: Some applications might encounter errors that prevent them from functioning correctly. Force quitting can provide a way to restart the application and attempt to recover from the error.
  6. Developer Debugging: For software developers, the “Force Quit” feature is valuable during the development and testing phases. It allows them to terminate applications that might be stuck in an infinite loop or unresponsive state during testing.

How to Force Quit Apps on Mac?

Mastering the skill of force-quitting applications on a Mac becomes a breeze once you’re familiar with a set of simple techniques. This functionality represents the simplest way to shut down misbehaving or unresponsive apps.

Below, we present a range of methods for force quitting that will ensure you stay on track:

1. Force Quit Using a Keyboard Shortcut

If you’re having trouble finding the Apple logo or accessing the dropdown menu via the taskbar, employing keyboard shortcuts can simplify the process for you.

Simultaneously press Option + Command + Esc to open a force quit window on your Mac screen. Then, follow the previously stated steps:

  • Option + Command + Esc.
  • Choose the app(s) you wish to quit, then click on Force Quit.
  • Confirm your intention to quit by clicking Force Quit again in the ensuing pop-up window, and bear in mind that any recent changes will not be saved.

2. Force Quit Using the Apple Menu

Force Quit Apps on Mac

Step 1: Identify the Unresponsive App

  • In a situation where the rainbow spinning wheel appears, determine which app is unresponsive.
  • With multiple apps or windows open, this might require some investigation.
  • Recognize Unresponsiveness via Cursor
  • Observe the cursor’s appearance to distinguish a functioning app from an unresponsive one.
  • A regular cursor indicates normal operation, while a spinning rainbow wheel signifies an app freeze.

Step 2: Locate and Access the Taskbar

  • Identify the taskbar at the top of the screen after identifying the problematic app.
  • Look to the far left to find the Apple logo, then click to open the dropdown menu.
  • Access the dropdown menu and choose the option for “Force Quit.”

Step 4: Select Apps for Force Quitting

  • The “Force Quit” selection opens a pop-up window listing all currently open applications.
  • Locate and pick the specific app you intend to close.
  • If multiple apps require closure, use the Command button to select multiple options concurrently.

Step 5: Confirm Force Quit

  • Proceed by clicking “Force Quit” once you’ve selected the target app(s).
  • A new notification window will emphasize that unsaved changes will be lost.

Step 6: Confirm Force Quit Again

  • Select “Force Quit” again in this window to finalize the process.

3. Force Quit Using the Activity Monitor

Force Quit Apps on Mac

The Activity Monitor is a valuable Mac utility that helps identify problematic or disruptive applications. By examining their energy consumption, you can decide which apps to terminate.

Step 1: Launch Activity Monitor

  • To access the Activity Monitor, use the Spotlight feature (Command + Space keys), or locate it directly through the Finder.

Step 2: Choose the Target App

  • Once the Activity Monitor window opens, select the application you wish to forcefully close.

Step 3: Initiate Force Quit

  • After selecting the desired application, click on the cross icon situated at the window’s top. This icon resembles an octagon with the letter X in its center.

Step 4: Confirm Force Quit

  • A new dialog box will appear, asking for confirmation to shut down the app. It also presents an option to halt the quitting process. To immediately close the app, click the “Force Quit” button positioned in the middle.

4. Force quit from the Dock

Force Quit Apps on Mac

  • Right-click on the app icon you intend to close or click and hold the icon to reveal the dock menu.
  • While holding down the Option (Alt) key, notice the Quit menu transforming into Force Quit.
  • Proceed to click on Force Quit to effectively terminate the application.

5. Force quit using the Terminal

Force Quit Apps on Mac

If you lean towards a command-line approach for resolving issues, you can force quit an unresponsive app using Terminal. Here’s the procedure:

  • Launch the Terminal.
  • Input the command: “killall [application name] (for instance, if the unresponsive app is Spotify, input killall Spotify in the Terminal).”
  • Press the Return key. The specified application will be promptly terminated.

In case an application’s name comprises more than two words, such as “Google Chrome,” it’s advisable to enclose the name within quotation marks.

Remember that the killall command operates at the system level, and the autosave feature might not function. Exercise caution to avoid losing any unsaved data.


To sum up, whether employing keyboard shortcuts, the Dock, or Terminal commands, you have various methods to force quit unresponsive apps on your Mac. Each approach offers a way to regain control over your system and manage troublesome applications effectively. Always be mindful of potential data loss when using these methods and prioritize saving your work regularly.

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