How to restart or force restart a Mac?

By Connie | Posted to Home > Howto, updated on June 18th, 2021 |

When your Mac is running sluggish, overheating, or apps crash frequently, restarting it is always the simplest and quickest fix to make it back to track. During restarting, your computer will close all programs, and then start fresh.

However, if your Mac is not responding, you can't fix the frozen Mac with a normal restart. In this case, you have to force restart your Mac. Force restart enables a problematic Mac that cannot recognize the restart command to reboot compulsorily.

How to restart your Mac (Cursor is moving)

If your computer not performs well, like MacBook Pro screen is flickering, reboot it will help it back to normal. You can follow one of the ways below to restart your iMac, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air.

Restart a Mac through the Apple menu bar

There is a Restart button on a Mac, which supplies you with a quick Mac restart with one click.

Select the Shut Down button on the Apple menu bar

Click the Apple menu and select "Restart". If there are any files that are editing, it will ask if you'd like to save them. And if you want the opened apps or windows reopen when the Mac reboot, check the "Reopen windows when logging back in" option.

Select the Restart button on the pop-up window

Then, your computer will automatically shut down and reboot in a short time.

Restart a Mac with a key combination

Simultaneously press down the "Control" + Power button / Touch ID / Eject key (According to your Mac model).

Press the power button and Control key to force restart the Mac

Then, select the "Restart" button on the popup window that queries whether you are sure to shut down your computer now or not.

Select the restart button on the dialog box

Then, wait a moment to let your Mac restart automatically.

How to force restart your Mac (Cursor freezes or spins)

Unfortunately, your operating system freezes, or even your Mac won't turn on but shows a black screen. In that case, the normal restart button or shortcut key won't work either. Because the OS won't let you bring up any programs or options with your cursor.

Note: If it's just an app that's unresponsive rather than the Mac, there is no need to restart the Mac. Force quit the app is okay.

In this situation, you need to force restart your Mac. This method also applies to a Mac that's not starting up to the desktop as usual or a regular restart is not possible.

Force restart your Mac with keyboard commands

Hold down the "Control" + "Command" + Power button / Touch ID / Eject key at the same time for a few seconds. Your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro will shut down and then force restart.

Press down the Command + Control + Power keys to force restart the Mac

Force restart your Mac through a manual shutdown

If your Mac shows no response to the force restart keyboard command, you need to go ahead to manually shut it down.

  • Press and hold the power button for several seconds to fully turn off your Mac.
  • Wait 10 seconds or so, press the power button again to turn on the Mac.

Recover data if your Mac won't force restart

There are cases where your Mac fails to be unfrozen or turn on after a force restart. We understand that you certainly worry about your files stored on the computer. To get files off a Mac that refuses to force reboot to the desktop, data recovery software can help you.

iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac, a professional Mac data recovery software that can restore files from a Mac's internal hard drive in macOS Recovery. It can recover documents, videos, pictures and others with higher success rate than other software. And it works with all Mac models including Apple M1 Macs and supports macOS 11 to OS X 10.9.