Has an application stopped working on Mac, making you wonder whether to force quit it? We’ll put your mind at ease—that is not only possible but the feature was built into the operating system. Aftethe developers must giveto give users a way to close an application forcibly, freeing RAM (Random Access Memory) and preventing a system freeze, crash, or shutdown. Prolonged hanging is also detrimental, especially if the hardware is pushed to the maximum. Finally, you may be in a rush to wrap things up, and the inconvenience is impacting you from continuing. Therefore, let’s demonstrate how to force quit on Mac.
1. Terminate a Mac app from Dock
As mentioned, Apple built a utility for exiting out of applications that won’t respond. Unsurprisingly, you should try to click the Quit option in the app’s menu bar. If that isn’t working, don’t fret. By far the simplest and fastest way to terminate an app acting up on Mac is to stop it in Dock like this:
- Note the location of the icon for the troublemaker application in Dock and press the “Options” key.
- While holding the “Options” key, right-click on the application icon.
- From the list of options in the pop-up menu, select Force Quit.
- Confirm your decision and the system will terminate the app.
2. Use the Force Quit Applications utility on Mac computers
If the method above didn’t produce results, press the “Command + Q” key combination to see if it responds to keyboard commands. Only then should you open the “Force Quit” window, and proceed in one of two ways:
- Press the “Option + Command + ESC (Escape)” key shortcut to launch the “Force Quit Applications” utility
- Navigate to the Apple menu (apple icon in the top left corner) and select the Force Quit <application name> option. Confirm the decision by clicking the Force Quit button in the pop-up
In both cases, once the window opens, click or select the problematic application using keyboard arrow keys, then use the Force Quit button in the bottom right corner.
Note. Mac devices with a Touch Bar still have an Escape key located to the left of the Bar. Also, terminating a process will likely lead to some data loss. Therefore, if you haven’t saved a project or were working on something, you will likely lose some progress. Many applications use auto-saving features as a failsafe so the rollback time varies.
3. Force Quit Mac applications via Activity Monitor
Windows users may recognize Activity Monitor as something akin to Task Manager. It is a system manager that lets users see the utilization of crucial hardware and software components such as disk, CPU, memory, energy, network, and so on. One option is the ability to see all currently running processes, with applications being at the forefront. With that said, you can use the Activity Monitor utility to force exit applications on Mac this way:
- Open Activity Monitor by:
- Opening Spotlight (Command + Space keyboard shortcut or the dock) → Selecting/searching for it
- Going to Finder → selecting Applications → picking Activity Monitor from the drop-down menu
- Opening the Applications/Utilities folder and selecting Activity Monitor.app
- Find the application in the “Process Name” tab. There are likely multiple instances, especially if it’s your browser. Clicking the “Process Name” option sorts the apps alphabetically. Select any instance of the problematic application. We suggest the one at the top, labeled with (Not Responding), or the one with the highest CPU and GPU usage.
- Once selected, click the icon of an octagon with an X inside (ⓧ) in the upper left corner.
- You can now choose the Force Quit button to stop the app forcibly.
Note. If none of the methods solve your problems, you may have to shut down or restart your Mac computer. You can press and hold the power button (Touch ID button for Mac machines with Touch Bar) and wait until you see the logo. You can also click the Apple logo in the top main menu then pick Restart.