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:

Option 1: Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + Esc

For Mac users who need to force quit an unresponsive app, what you will need to do is Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + Esc.

Alternatively you can also press the Apple icon to the top left corner of the menu bar and select “Force Quit”.

This will bring up a window that will show you the list of apps currently running on your computer and all you’ll have to do is select the program you want to force quit and click the button and you are good to go.

Option 2 – Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + Shift + Esc

If you want to skip a few steps and force quit the current application (the one running in the foreground), you can try Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + Shift + Esc. Hold down on the key combination for a second or two and it should force quit the current application.

Option 3 – Force quitting from the dock

In addition to these key combinations, you can also force quit applications directly from the dock. Hover your mouse over the app on the dock that you want to force quit, hold down Option (⌥) and right click (on your mouse) and select “Force Quit”.

Option 4 – Force quit from 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 a 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.

Activity Monitor can be accessed from your apps within the Utilities folder or by pressing Command (⌘) + Space and type in “Activity Monitor”. It is essentially similar to the Task Manager on Windows. It will show you the apps and processes that are currently running on your computer and how much system resources it is consuming, such as CPU and RAM usage.

To kill off an application or process from Activity Monitor, select it and click the “X” button to the top left corner of the program.

A confirmation window will popup so just press “Force Quit” to complete the process.

Option 5: Killing via Terminal (Command-line)

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. The Terminal application can be accessed by pressing Command (⌘) + Space and type in “Terminal”, or it can be found in your Applications > Utilities folder.

Now in order to force quit an app or kill a process, you will need to know its “PID”. You can find the PID of a program via the Activity Monitor under the “PID” column.

Once the Terminal app has been launched, type in “kill -9 [PID]” where PID is a number identifier assigned to the program, so for example to kill off the Pages app, you would type “kill -9 737”.

Caution

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 note for the future.

Filed in Apple >Computers. Read more about Apps and Macos.

Related Articles on Ubergizmo