How to Force Quit on Mac?

Macs are famous for being fast, but over time, they may start to slow down and not work as they used to. This slowdown can lead to frozen or unresponsive apps, which can sometimes be super-frustrating. This is why knowing how to force quit on Mac when an app freezes or gets stuck in the middle of the work is important. 

Top 5 Methods to Force Quit on Mac

There are many ways to force quit an app on Mac, through the Apple menu, Activity Monitor, Dock, etc. In the following guide, let’s go through the best five ways to force quit frozen apps on your Mac. We’ll also learn how to end an application through keyboard shortcuts if your entire screen becomes frozen. So, stick till the end to know it all! 

Method 1: Using the Apple Menu

If you can move the cursor on the screen, try force closing the app by following these steps:

  • Take the cursor to the three dots at the top-left of the frozen window and click the yellow button. This will minimize the program, placing it in a Dock.
How to Force Quit on Mac 1
Minimising The Frozen Window
  • Click the Apple icon at the top-left of the screen to access the Apple menu.
Clicking the Apple icon
Clicking the Apple icon
  • Select Force Quit in the drop-down menu.
How to Force Quit on Mac 3
Selecting Force Quit
  • A new window will appear with all the programs currently running on your Mac. Find the frozen application and select Force Quit.
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Selecting Force Quit Safari Browser

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Method 2: Using Keyboard Shortcut for Apple Menu

Using a keyboard shortcut is a fast and practical way to force quit apps when the entire screen freezes. In this case, the cursor becomes stuck or may not even appear on the screen.

So, let’s see how to force quit on Mac using the keyboard shortcut. This method is the same as the one with the Apple menu but uses a keyboard shortcut.

  • Press Command + Option + Escape simultaneously on your keyboard.
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Opening Force Quit Option through Keyboard Shortcuts
  • The key combo will launch the Force Quit window, showing all the running programs on your Mac. Find and select the frozen program > Force Quit.
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Selecting the Program to Force Quit

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Method 3: Using Dock

If the frozen app appears in the Dock, you can end it from there. All you need is to follow these steps to know how to force quit on Mac using Dock:

  • Find the icon of the application icon in the Dock. Right-click and hold the icon to open the dock menu.
Opening Dock
Opening Dock
  • At the same time, press and hold the Option key on the keyboard. Keep holding till the Dock Quit menu changes to Force Quit.
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Changing Dock to Force Quit
  • Once it does, click Force Quit to end the application.
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Selecting Force Quit Option

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Method 4: Using Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor displays the current status of applications running on your Mac. It shows which app consumes the most CPU, memory, disk activity, etc in it. And so when a program freezes, you can check its status in the Activity Monitor and end it. 

Let’s see how to force quit on Mac using the Activity Monitor.

  • Launch the Spotlight search window by pressing Command + Space keys on the keyboard at the same time.
  • When the window appears, type Activity Monitor in the search box and press Enter.
Typing Activity Monitor in Spotlight Search Window
Typing Activity Monitor in Spotlight Search Window
  • The Activity Monitor window will appear, showing all the programs currently running on your Mac. Select the app you want to close and click the x button in the top bar.
Clicking on ‘X’ Button
Clicking on ‘X’ Button
  • A pop-up will appear on the Mac screen confirming the shutting down of the app. Click Force Quit to end the application.
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Selecting Force Quit Option

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Method 5: Using Keyboard Shortcut for Activity Monitor

If the cursor freezes (or disappears) and you cannot use Activity Monitor with the trackpad, try the keyboard shortcut. It is the same as the above method, but you’ll know how to force quit on Mac by opening the Activity Monitor through the keyboard. 

  • Press CMD + OPTION + ESC at the same time on the keyboard.
  • The key combo will open the Activity Monitor window, showing all the programs currently running on your Mac. Find the application you want to close > click the x button located at the top bar.
  • A pop-up will appear confirming the closing of the app > select Force Quit.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if the cursor is unresponsive and I can’t access the Apple menu or use keyboard shortcuts?

If the cursor is unresponsive and you can’t access the Apple menu or use keyboard shortcuts, the one option left is to Force Restart your Mac. To do this, press and hold the power button on your Mac until the screen turns off. Wait a few seconds, then repress the power button to restart your Mac.

How do I force quit a background process or a hidden application on my Mac?

Sometimes, a background process or a hidden application not visible in the Dock becomes unresponsive. In that case, you can use the Activity Monitor to force quit it. Launch the Activity Monitor by pressing Command + Space to open Spotlight search, then type “Activity Monitor” and hit Enter. In the Activity Monitor window, go to View > All Processes. Locate the process you want to quit > select it > click the x button in the top bar. Confirm the action by clicking Force Quit in the pop-up.

Can force quitting an application cause any data loss or damage to my Mac?

Force quitting an application can result in data loss if you have unsaved changes in the application. When you force quit an app, it doesn’t go through the normal shutdown process. This means that any unsaved work may not be saved. Plus, if an application performs critical tasks or accesses important files when forced to quit, it can also cause data to become corrupt. One way to avoid this is to save your data while using an application frequently.

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Conclusion

Knowing how to force quit on Mac can save you from the frustration and hassle of dealing with a frozen app. You can force quit apps through various ways, including Activity Monitor, Dock, or Apple Menu. Even when your entire screen freezes, you can use keyboard shortcuts to close the stuck window on your Mac.

However, note that you should always force quit an app as a last resort. It is because force closing an app can result in data loss if you didn’t save it. We recommend frequently saving your data while using an application to avoid losing it. This way, your data will remain safe even if the app becomes unresponsive abruptly.