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How to Force Quit An Application on Mac

Home > HowTos > Troubleshooting Tips Updated by Robert on June 19, 2024 | Approved by Anthony Spadafora

Have you ever experienced that frustrating moment when an app on your Mac just won't respond? You're clicking and waiting, but nothing happens. Don't worry, you're not alone. Many Mac users encounter this issue, and there's a simple solution. In this blog post, we'll explore how to force quit an application on Mac. You'll learn various methods to regain control and keep your Mac running smoothly. Whether you're a seasoned Mac user or a newbie, these tips will be helpful.

Why Do Applications Freeze on Mac?

Macs are known for their reliability, but even the best systems can encounter issues. Understanding why programs freeze can help you prevent it from happening in the future.

By understanding these common issues, you can take steps to ensure your Mac runs smoothly.

The Importance of Force Quitting

When an application becomes unresponsive, it can significantly slow down your system or even cause it to freeze completely. Force quitting the problematic app helps restore the system's responsiveness, allowing you to continue working without interruption.

Additionally, it can help you identify problematic apps that may require updates or reinstallation.

How to Force Quit An Application on Mac

There are multiple effective ways to force close an app on a Mac. Let's examine them!

1: Using the Force Quit Applications Window

It is one of the easiest ways to force quit an unresponsive program on Mac. Here's how to do it:

  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.


This method is quick and doesn't require navigating through menus. It's great for users who want a keyboard shortcut for force quitting.

When to Use It:

Use this method to quickly close an unresponsive app without disrupting your workflow. It's a fast and efficient solution.

2: From the Apple Menu

Another convenient way to force quit an app is through the Apple menu. Here is a gudie:

  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.

Common Scenarios:

Use the Apple menu to force quit an app when it is completely unresponsive, and you can't click within its window. It's a reliable go-to method.

When to Use This Method:

This method is ideal for beginners or those who prefer a graphical interface. It's simple and effective for closing a single problematic app.

3: Force Quitting via the Dock

The Dock offers another straightforward way to force an app to close on Mac. It is perfect for users who prefer using the mouse.

  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."

Benefits of the Dock Method:

This method is visually intuitive and easily accessible. It's ideal for users who like to use the Dock for app management.

Situations to Use This Method:

Use the Dock method when the app's icon is visible and accessible. It's a quick way to force quit without navigating menus or windows.

4: Force Quitting with Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor is similar to Task Manager in Windows, which provides detailed information about your system's processes. It's also an effective way to force close an app on MacBook, iMac, and more.

  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.

Advantages of Activity Monitor:

It provides insights into your system's performance and resource usage. It's useful for advanced users who want more control over their system.

When to Use Activity Monitor:

Use Activity Monitor when you need detailed information about running processes or when other methods fail to close the app.

5: Using Terminal to Force Quit

For users comfortable with command-line interfaces, Terminal offers a powerful way to force applications to close on Mac.

  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.

Benefits of Using Terminal:

It allows precise control of system processes. This is useful for advanced users who want to manage the system efficiently.

When to Use It:

Use Terminal when you need granular control over system processes or when other methods are unsuccessful.

6: Restart Your Mac

Although this may affect your work and waste your time, this is also a solution on how to force quit an application on Mac. The steps are as follows:

  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.

When to use:

When frozen programs are seriously affecting your system performance.

7. Seek Professional Help

How do you force quit an app on Mac? This may be a last resort. In this case, please consider seeking help from Apple's support team or a professional technician. Persistent freezes may require expert intervention.

How to Recover Unsaved Files after a Program Force Quit

Losing unsaved work due to unexpected app quits is frustrating, but don't worry—there's hope! Try iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac. Its advanced algorithms can help you effortlessly recover unsaved Word documents on Mac. It also supports PowerPoint, Excel, Pages Document, and more.

  1. Download and install this program on your Mac.
  2. Select the hard drive where the unsaved files are located and click "Scan."
  3. Switch to "Type" in the left panel and click the "Unsaved Documents" tab.

  4. Find the target file in the list and preview the content.
  5. Select the unsaved file and click "Recover."

Other tips for finding unsaved files:

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.

Preventing Applications from Freezing

While force quitting is a useful skill, preventing applications from freezing in the first place is even better. Here are some tips:

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.


Knowing how to force quitting applications on Mac is essential for any Mac user. It can help you quickly resolve issues with unresponsive programs and get back to your work or play. Whether you use the Apple menu, Force Quit Applications window, Dock, Activity Monitor, or Terminal, each method offers a solution for different situations. You can keep your Mac running smoothly by understanding why applications freeze and how to prevent it. Remember, always maintain enough hard drive space and don't run too many programs simultaneously to avoid such problems.


  • When you force quit an app on Mac, the system immediately closes the application without saving any unsaved work. It's similar to ending a task in Windows.

  • Regularly forced quitting applications isn't recommended as it can lead to data loss (unsaved work will be lost) and may cause errors in the application. It should only be used when a program is unresponsive.

  • Yes, you can. In the Force Quit Applications window, you can hold down the Shift key and click on multiple applications to select them. Then click "Force Quit" to close all chosen programs.

  • If the force quit command for Mac isn't working, you can try to force quit the application through Terminal. Open Terminal and type killall [program name]. Be sure to replace [program name] with the name of the app you want to quit.

  • The Quit command allows an application to close normally, saving any changes and freeing up system resources. On the other hand, Force Quit immediately ends the application process without saving changes.

  • Force quitting can lead to software corruption or file loss if the application is in the middle of writing data. However, it's unlikely to cause physical damage to your computer.