How to Force Quit on Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated to Troubleshooting Tips by Robert on Jan 3, 2024 | Approved by Anthony Spadafora

Apple's macOS is renowned for its stability and efficiency, but there are times when applications may freeze or become unresponsive. In this case, knowing how to force quit on Mac is a good option for you. Here, we will guide you through the steps to successfully force quit an application on your Mac.

Step 1: Use Shortcut Keys

This is the quickest way for a Mac force quit the unresponsive programs. You can do this:

  1. Press the "Command + Option + Esc" on your keyboard simultaneously.

  2. In the "Force Quit Applications" window, select the unresponsive application and hit the "Force Quit" button.

Tip: This is also how to use Ctrl Alt Delete on Mac for users new to Apple computers.

Step 2: From the Dock

The Dock is usually at the bottom of the screen and displays your recently used applications. When someone freezes, you can follow these steps to force quit on Mac.

  1. Locate the unresponsive app's icon in the Dock.
  2. Control-click (or right-click) the app's icon.
  3. From the context menu that appears, choose "Force Quit."

Step 3: From Your macOS's Menu

To force quit application on Mac by Menu, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the "Apple" icon in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. Select "Force Quit" from the drop-down Menu.

  3. A new window titled "Force Quit Applications" will appear.
  4. Select the unresponsive application from the list.
  5. Click on the "Force Quit" button at the bottom of the window.

Step 4: Use the Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor is similar to Task Manager in Windows. It displays all processes, including apps running on your system, so that you can view their activity. Therefore, you can use it to force quit an application in Mac.

  1. Open the Activity Monitor by going to Applications > Utilities.
  2. Click on the unresponsive program and then the "X" button in the toolbar at the top of the window.

  3. Confirm your decision to force quit the application.

Step 5: Use the Terminal

To force quit command for Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Find Terminal in your Utilities folder within Applications.
  2. Once open, type the command "killall [application name]." Replace [application name] with the name you want to force quit.

  3. Press Enter to execute the command.

Step 6: When All Else Fails, Restart Your Mac

If none of the above macOS force quit work, you may need to restart your Mac. To do this:

  1. Click on the "Apple" logo from the top left corner of your screen.
  2. Select "Restart" from the drop-down Menu.

Tip: If your Mac computer cannot click on any menus because the program is unresponsive, you can also directly click the power button to force restart.

Advice on Keeping Your App Running Smoothly to Avoid Force Quit on Mac

Here are some tips that can help you avoid needing to force quit an app on Mac:

Remember that even with these precautions, there may be times when you still need to force quit an application on Mac. However, these tips can help reduce those instances.

Tips to Recover Files Lost Due to Force Quit an Application in Mac

Recovering files lost by force quit a Mac app can be a bit tricky, but there are several methods you can try:

Remember, it's always best to save your work frequently and keep backups to prevent data loss. Also, try the Mac force quit application unless necessary, as it can lead to data loss.


Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how to force quit on a Mac:

Remember, it's always best to try and quit an application normally before resorting to force quit on Mac. If an application is regularly freezing or becoming unresponsive, it might be worth checking for software updates or reinstalling the program.


Knowing how to force quit on a Mac is essential for any Mac user. It can help you quickly resolve issues with unresponsive applications and get back to your work or play. Use these methods wisely, as forced application quitting can result in unsaved data loss. Always maintain enough hard drive space and don't run too many programs simultaneously to avoid such problems.