Have you ever had an app freeze up on your Mac, refusing to close normally? It can be frustrating when you can’t force quit a stuck program the usual way. But thankfully, there are steps to force quit on Mac any app that simply won’t play nice on your Mac.
In this guide, we’ll walk through what to do when an app stops responding and you need to close it for good. We’ll cover the normal ways to quit apps, plus what to try when those methods fail. Whether it’s a stubborn web browser that won’t budge or a word processor forcing your Mac to freeze, we’ve got you covered on shutting down troublesome apps with authority.
What we cover
Force Quit on Mac using Keyboard Shorcut
When an app just won’t quit normally, you can force it to close on a Mac with just a few steps. First press Option (or Alt), Command, and Esc all together – this keyboard shortcut brings up the force quit menu.
Or you can also click the Apple logo in the top corner of your screen, then select Force Quit to pull up the same menu. This will open a Force Quit window showing all open apps. Just click the one you want to forcibly close, then select Force Quit.
Like magic, this will force the stubborn app to shut down immediately so you can move on. No more endlessly waiting for an unresponsive program! Now the Finder app is always running in the background on a Mac. But if it starts acting up too, you can force the Finder itself to close using the same steps.
After selecting Finder in the Force Quit window, just click Relaunch instead of Force Quit. This will shut it down and instantly restart a fresh Finder so your desktop works normally again.
Force Quit Using The Activity Monitor
The Activity Monitor on your Mac is a super handy tool for finding and force quitting any misbehaving apps. Here’s how to use it when an app just won’t close normally:
- First, launch the Activity Monitor. You can find it quickly using Spotlight Search – just hit Command+Spacebar and type in Activity Monitor. Or open Finder and navigate to the Activity Monitor there.
- Once launched, the Activity Monitor window will open. Here you’ll see a list of all your currently running apps and processes.
- Scroll to locate the stubborn app you want to force quit. Click to select it in the Activity Monitor list.
- Now click the X-shaped “Stop” button in the top left corner of the Activity Monitor window. This will prompt a pop-up asking if you’re sure you want to force that app to quit.
- Click the “Force Quit” button in this pop-up window to make it happen. The app should now close instantly, regardless of whether it was responding or not. Activity Monitor overrides it.
This provides a streamlined way to force quit from within a dedicated app manager, rather than the general Force Quit menu.
You can also use Activity Monitor to see which apps are using high CPU power, eating up RAM, or otherwise taxing your Mac’s resources. This helps identify any problem apps dragging down performance.
Also Read: How to screenshare on Mac
When You Can’t Force An App To Shut
What if you try to force quit an app and it still won’t close? When firmly force quitting doesn’t work, it’s time to restart your Mac!
Go to the Apple menu and select Restart. This will shut down all open apps and reboot your system fresh. With luck, the program causing issues will be released after a restart. If that app still won’t quit after a restart, the next option is forcibly powering down your Mac entirely:
Press and hold the power button on your Mac for up to 10 seconds, until the computer shuts off completely.
- Since force powering down interrupts system processes, only use it as a last attempt to regain control when all else fails. But after 10 seconds held down, your Mac should turn off regardless of any misbehaving apps.
- Once fully powered down, turn your Mac back on normally. This essentially performs a hard reboot, restarting the computer on a clean slate.
Once it boots back up, your system will be freed from whatever app was locking things down before. But if not, it may require troubleshooting for deeper issues that have been affecting the performance.
Note – Ending Words
Even Macs with a Touch Bar still have an Escape key. It’s just been moved to the left side of the Touch Bar itself rather than being a standard key. So if you need to quickly press Esc to force quit an app, just tap it on the Touch Bar. The Esc function is still there and as handy as ever.
Also, all Mac laptops have a power button located in the top right corner of the keyboard.
On more recent models with Touch ID, the power button is actually built into the Touch ID fingerprint sensor key. But it’s still in the same general spot to quickly shut down or restart your MacBook.
The point is, whether you have a Touch Bar or Touch ID model, the Esc and power buttons are definitely there – they may just look a little different or be in slightly different spots.
But Apple made sure to retain easy access to these critical keys even as designs evolve. So you can always find a way to swiftly access Esc or power functions no matter which MacBook generation you have.