From time to time, programs on a computer can suddenly stop responding for no explicable reason. It can be hard to pinpoint a reason as to why a program stops responding as it could be due to a bug in the software; software and hardware conflict; a system/driver error; or maybe your computer simply does not have the resources to support the running of the program.

When this happens, you will need to force quit that program. Most people are familiar with the Ctrl + Alt + Del combination, but that is, unfortunately, a Windows feature, so what if you’re using a Mac? There are several ways to do this.


How To Force Quit Mac Apps Using Keyboard Combinations

This method will bring up a window that lets you choose which app (or apps) that you want to force quit.

  1. Press Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + Esc
  2. This will bring up a window that will show you the list of apps currently running on your Mac
  3. Select the program you want to force quit
  4. Click the Force Quit button

Alternatively. if you just want to force quit the app currently in the foreground, you can skip the steps above for a more straightforward method.

  1. Press Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + Shift + Esc
  2. The current app that is running in your foreground should force quit

How To Force Quit Mac Apps From The Dock

  1. Hover your mouse over the app on the dock that you want to force quit
  2. Hold down Option (⌥) and right click with your mouse
  3. Select Force Quit

How To Force Quit And Kill Mac Processes Using Activity Monitor

Now previously we mentioned that one of the main reasons to force quit an application is because it has become unresponsive. However, there are other reasons why you might want to kill the process of an app and that is to free up system resources.

There are times due to a bug or inefficient programming that software can end up consuming more system resources than it should, and this can result in your computer slowing down. When this occurs, you can choose to kill off that application’s process via the methods we mentioned above, or if you’d like more details, this is where the Activity Monitor comes in.

  1. Press Command (⌘) + Space and type in Activity Monitor and press Enter
  2. Select the application or process you want to kill or force quit and click the X button at the top left corner
  3. A confirmation window will pop up
  4. Click Force Quit to complete the process

How To Force Quit Mac Apps Using Terminal Commands

Last but not least there is the option to kill off a process or application via the Terminal feature. This is slightly more advanced and to do so, you will need to launch the Terminal app.

  1. Press Command (⌘) + Space and type Terminal
  2. Type kill -9 [PID]
  3. Replace [PID] with the numerical identifier assigned to the program
  4. You can find the PID of the application by launching the Activity Monitor (Command (⌘) + Space and type in Activity Monitor) and looking under the PID column


Sometimes there is no choice but to force quit an unresponsive program, but we should mention that this should be a last resort measure. This is because sometimes force quitting a program can result in you losing your progress, such as a document typed halfway, a photo mid-edit, or a video that’s being compiled. It can also result in some files getting corrupted as they don’t get the opportunity to complete their process naturally. These are some things to consider the next time you want to force quit an app, and where it might be a better idea to wait it out and hopefully letting it resolve itself (if possible).

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