Force to quit frozen apps on Mac

Terminate the frozen and unresponsinve applications on Mac

Despite fact, that Apple computers are one of leaders while talking about performance and stability. Usually, your MacBook or iMac will work for a long time without any glitches, however, Apple can't control everything around their products. Some of third-party applications might contain some optimisation and resource usage faults, that may cause frozen app or in some rare cases whole Mac. Probably, a most of Mac users have seen spinning beach ball, at least for a second, but more frustrating situation would be, when this ball does not stop spinning, and application becomes inactive, does not respond to any moves.

Even more frustrating situation, when whole computer becomes unresponsive and the only active thing on you display leaves the spinning beach ball. Good news, that Apple developers implemented several different methods, to 'kill' the application. You may choose between keyboard shortcut, Activity Monitor, Terminal, or right-click on Dock icon. All these methods force quits application, rescuing your Mac from inactive state. In this article we will cover each method, so you will be able to choose the easiest, most effective method, or try all possible ways to close unresponsive application. What is more, all these methods works on all version of Mac operating system.


Table of Contents:

Force to quit specific app through Dock icon

Let's begin with one of the easiest method, you will probably know, that you may enter the menu by right-clicking on icon. However, there you will only find the Quit option, that will try to stop process first and only then close it. In case when application is unresponsive, this method will not work, due to this reason you will have to hold down Option key on you keyboard when right-clicking to enter the hidden menu, where you will find the Force Quit option. Choosing this option will demand to your operating system to stop processes related to the particular application, without waiting until application stops it's activity.


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Force to close specific application via Apple Menu

This method is quite similar to closing via Dock, but in case you've enabled the Dock hiding option, due to frozen application it may not appear, while the menu bar always sticks on top. To access force quit option, hold down the Shift key and click on Apple logo in the menu bar at top of your screen and select Force Quit option, displayed together with active application's name.


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Use keyboard shortcut to enter Force quit menu

This method is quite handful, since you do not need to go or click anywhere, all you have to do is remember the easy combination of keys on your keyboard. Press the Command, Option, and Escape at once to access the Force quit applications window, there you may select your frozen application and stop it by clicking Force quit. What is more, you do not need to re-open the window if you desire to close another application, basically this window works like a small part of Activity Monitor app's with only closing function. Quite often, accessing the Force Quit menu helps to bring back your Mac from the unresponsive state as well.


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Use keyboard shortcut to close specific app

There is a combination of keyboard keys to quit active application as well, what is more it is quite similar to shortcut, that open Force quit menu, due to this reason it is very easy to remember both of them. Also, even if you are unable to use your mouse, this shortcut will help to close any active application. In to close active application by using keyboard shortcut, simple press all the following keys at once, Command, Option, Shift, and Escape.

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Force to quit apps via Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor contains a variety of useful functions, such as monitor current Mac's resource usage, list all running applications and processes together with information, such as process ID and user account, that is running the particular process. In a side with all other useful functions, Activity Monitor also offers option to try simply quit the application or force quit any running process. Additionally, unresponsive applications usually is displayed in red color within Activity Monitor, this way you may use this application in order to ensure if your application is frozen. This is one of the most effective methods in order to close some unresponsive application or process, such as frozen tab on your web browser.


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Launch Terminal to immediately close application

Terminal application - the built-in command line application, methods that requires to use this tool is usually the most effective, however, it may look a little bit confusing for unexperienced Mac users. To close applications you will need to use low-level kill command. To begin with, launch Terminal by using Spotlight, simple press keyboard shortcut of Command and Spacebar, then type in Terminal and press Return. Alternatively, open Finder and go to Applications, then select Utilities and launch Terminal application. Once the command line window appeared type in the following command and press Return to execute it.

  • killall AppName

Replace the 'AppName' with the name of application you desire to close, for example:

  • killall Safari


Video Showing how to force quit applications on Mac

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