Top 4 effective & easy ways to force quit any Mac OS X app

Force quit Mac OS X Apps

Generally, the majority of OS X apps run quite well on Mac, but every now and then something can go awry and the applications may stop responding to your inputs. Not to mention, it would be very annoying, especially if you are in the middle of something that needs to be done ASAP. At these times, standard approaches to quitting an app may no longer do the trick. Sometimes if you give the app a few moments to recover, per se, you’ll get back the control over the app. But if, the app couldn’t recover itself and taking up too much time to respond, then your first port of call should be terminating the apps that eating up the system resource. Therefore, it’s always a good thing to know how to force quit apps in such crisis so that they don’t affect the overall performance of your Mac. In this blog post, I would like to state some effective methods that would come handy when an OS X app starts to slow down your Mac or force-quitting the app might be the only shot left.

Force quit apps using keyboard shortcuts

OS X Force Quit Window

If you would like to force quit an OS X application using a simple keyboard shortcut, press CMD (⌘) + ALT + ESC.When you do, a small window will pop up with a list of running apps – where all unresponsive apps would be notified with not responding tag.

You can also bring up this window via OS X Apple menu (). From that window, just scroll down the list of apps, select the unresponsive one using arrow keys and then press the Enter key.

Sometimes you can’t even escape from the app itself to perform the above method, even your mouse pointer may stop responding along with the app you want to quit. In such cases, simply use this keyboard shortcut CMD (⌘) + ALT + SHIFT + ESC, and the mac operating system will immediately force quit whichever app is currently active on your Mac desktop.

Force Quit OS X Apps using Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor is one of the best and useful OS X apps come with Apple’s Desktop operating system. This powerful built-in tool lets you view all running processes along with much other information of operating system, which includes Network, Memory, etc. You can also use this utility to force quit responding and not responding processes. To perform it, go to your Mac Utilities folder, locate the Activity monitor app or you can simply search it down via Spotlight search, open it, and from the list, search for the application or the process you want to force quit.

OS X Activity Monitor

Once you locate it, select it and click on the Quit Process button, then confirm your action on the small dialog box that shows up.

Force the app to close itself using Dock

When an app has become unresponsive, go to the dock and find the unresponsive app icon, then right click to bring up the contextual menu and select the quit option from it. Still the app window stays open and not responding, then hold down the Option key, right-click on the app icon and choose Force Quit option from the contextual menu that appears.

Dock of OS X - Force quit an APP

But, keep in mind, there will be no warning when you Force quit an app. Therefore, keep your eyes peeled when you make your selection, and make sure you are quitting the right one. If not, you’ll lose any unsaved changes.

Force quit any mac app using Terminal

You can also force quit all running mac applications using the Terminal app. To do so, first of all, you should find out Process identifier (PID) of the unresponsive application. In order to find PID value, open a Terminal window and enter the following command:


OS X terminal App Activity Window

Now it will list all recent tasks on the system. From that list, search down the PID value of the unresponsive program, a 4-digit value and type the following command in new terminal Window:

Kill XXXX         // XXXX represents the PID value of an application

Here also you won’t get any confirmation after it terminates the process, the terminal will simply wait for another command.


Hopefully, above methods will help you easily force quit an unresponsive app on your Mac and get you back on track. If none of them works for you, try to restart or shutdown the system. But, sometimes even these options might not appear. In that case, hold the power button down until the system cuts off the power supply totally, by doing so, you may lose any unsaved data. I know it’s not that great, but sometimes it would be your last resort, at least you could save some time instead waiting in front of the system for hours. And, not to say, unresponsive apps can be the result of a faulty app or may be because of junk files. So it is always a good thing to clear all unwanted stuff and keep your Mac optimized using any top OS X professional cleaner apps like MacCleaner and CleanMyMac.

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