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How to Force Quit on Mac to Close Unresponsive Applications?

Updated on Friday, March 24, 2023

iBoysoft author Anna Yuan

Written by

Anna Yuan
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee

 How to Force Quit on Mac to Close Unresponsive Applications?

Summary: This post mainly talks about how to force quit on Mac in 4 simple ways to shut down frozen apps. The solutions regarding force quitting on Mac not working and FAQs about force quitting on Mac are also covered.

how to force quit on Mac

When the spinning rainbow wheel (also known as Mac's wait cursor) appears on your Mac screen, it may frustrate you a lot. It signals that your Mac is running slow due to a crashed or frozen application.

To get back to work, you have to wait until your Mac unfreezes itself. However, you don't know how long that will take. When faced with the spinning rainbow wheel, the simplest thing to do is to use force quit to close the unresponsive application to stop spinning wheel on Mac.

The force quit feature on Mac is an easy and effective way to shut down troublesome applications in just a few steps. In this post, you'll learn how to force quit an app on Mac in 4 ways. Besides, it also gives you the hint when force quitting on Mac not working.

• Finder Not Responding? 5 Ways to Force Quit Finder on Mac

Table of Contents:

How to force quit on Mac from the Apple menu

The most straightforward and effective way to close frozen programs is to utilize the Apple menu bar. Also, this option is the first method Apple support recommends.

To force quit an application, simply do the following:

  1. Click on the Apple logo (Apple menu) at the upper left corner of your screen.
  2. From the drop-down list, click the Force Quit option. You will be directed to the new window named Force Quit Application listing all the apps you have open on your Mac.   
    Force quit apps from Apple menu
  3. Select the application you want to shut down. If you want to shut down more than one application, press the Command key simultaneously to select multiple.   
    If you don't know which application is stuck, pay attention to the ones that have the note "Not Responding." This usually appears next to frozen applications.
  4. Then, choose Force Quit. A pop-up will remind you that any unsaved changes won't be saved. If you are fine about this, go ahead to click the Force Quit button again.   
    confirm force quit on Mac



Open Force quit window on Mac with a keyboard shortcut

If your Mac has completely frozen and you can't seem to get your cursor to work properly, you can open the Force Quit window via the keyboard shortcut. Here's how:

  1. Press the Option, Command, and ESC three keys simultaneously. This is similar to PC's Control + Alt + Delete function.   
    force quit on Mac with key shortcut
  2. The Force Quit Applications window will pop up. Choose the app that's causing the problems and hit the Force Quit button.
  3. A pop-up window will ask if you're sure you want to force quit on a Mac. If you do, hit the "Force Quit" button again. Mac will forcibly shut down the app.

How to click force quit on Mac Dock

Using Mac dock to force the unresponsive app to quit is also a simple and useful method. Just follow the below steps:

  1. At the bottom of the screen, find the completely frozen application in the Dock. Right-click on the app or hold down the Control key while clicking it on the mouse or trackpad.
  2. Hold down your Option key. You'll see that Quit will change to Force Quit in the context menu.   
    force quit on Mac with Mac Dock
  3. Select Force Quit and the app will automatically quit.

How do you force quit on a Mac via Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor on your Mac shows all the processes that are running on your computer, including the process of the unresponsive app. To kill an application using Activity Monitor, here's what to do:

  1. Press Command + Space keys on your keyboard or click on the magnifying glass icon in the top-right corner of the screen. This will bring up the Spotlight Search window.
  2. Type in Activity Monitor, once it is highlighted in the list, double-click on it.   
    open Activity Monitor in Spotlight
  3. Select the CPU tab in Activity Monitor. From the Process Name column, find the misbehaving app and choose the app by clicking on it.
  4. Click on the X button from the top-left corner of the screen. A pop-up window will ask if you are sure you want to quit this process, if yes, choose Quit. If the app is not yet shut down, click on the X button again and select Force Quit this time, the app will then close.   
    force quit app in Activity Monitor

What to do if force quit isn't working on a Mac

If force quit not working on your Mac after using the methods described above, you can force restart your Mac. To do so, press and hold Command + Control+ Power buttons. If you have unsaved changes, you can hold the Command + Control + Option + Power buttons. This will ask you whether you want to save the changes.

force restart Mac

If you're using a MacBook Pro with a touch bar, press the power button (Touch ID button) for 5 seconds to force your Mac to shut down. Then wait a few minutes and press the power button to manually start your Mac again.

Also read: How to Close Apps on Mac & Force Quit Frozen Apps?

FAQs about the force quit feature on Mac   


There is no direct equivalent to the PC's Ctrl+Alt+Del shortcut on a Mac. But you can press Command + Option + Escape on a Mac to open the Force Quit Applications window. Then you can force quit these apps just like what you can do after pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete on a PC.


Force quitting on a Mac works effectively to shut down the unresponsive application. However, if your work isn't saved, for example, not having your Microsoft Word saved. Then you may lose it when using the force quit feature.

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