5 Ways to Force Quit an Application in OS X

If your Mac runs on a slightly older processor, there may be chances that you frequently see the spinning beachball of death, as many applications may fail to respond at certain times. When this occurs, your first and foremost option would be to force-quit the app in question.

Force-quitting an unresponsive app is a quick and effective way to clear a hanging program or one that it running slowly. While you might be familiar with the standard method of quitting a program using the Option key (more on that below), there are also many other methods to force quit an app in OS X. We’ve covered them below, so be sure to check them out:

The easiest way of forcing a non-responsive app to quit is by using the Option key. To do this:

1. In the Dock, right-click the icon of the unresponsive application.

Force-Quit-Mac-Dock-Menu

2. Hold down the Option key, and you’ll see “Quit” change to “Force-Quit.”

Force-Quit-Mac-Dock

By clicking on the Force Quit option, the app will shut down. You can then choose to restart the app or continue on with your work, as you see fit.

The second option to force quit an app is by bringing up the “Force Quit Applications Window.” To do this, simply press “Command + Option + Escape” on your Mac, which will bring up the force-quit window:

Force-Quit-Mac-Force-Quit-Window

Here, simply select the unresponsive app’s name, and click on the “Force Quit” button to end the app immediately.

For those of you who prefer to use a simple keyboard key combination to do this, this method will be simpler. Select the application which is unresponsive, and bring it to the foreground. You can simply do this by right-clicking on the app icon in the Dock, and selecting Show/Show All/Show All Windows depending on the app that is unresponsive:

Force-Quit-Mac-Show

Once the app is in the foreground, simply hold down “Command + Option + Shift + Escape” for a second or two until the app forcibly closes.

The fourth method to force-quit applications that we’ve got for you today is by using the Activity Monitor. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Activity Monitor, think of it as the “Task Manager” (Windows users) or a “System Monitor” (Linux users) for your Mac. You can control all apps and processes simply from the Activity Monitor.

To force-quit an app using the Activity Monitor:

1. Open up the Activity Monitor on your Mac, either by using Spotlight or by navigating to “Applications -> Utilities -> Activity Monitor”.

Force-Quit-Mac-Activity-Monitor

2. In Activity Monitor, head over to the “Energy” tab. You should see all of your active (open) apps here as well as any previous tab you might have opened in the past 8 hours:

Force-Quit-Mac-Energy-tab

Note: If you can’t see the unresponsive app here, you’ll need to manually search for it using the Search field.

3. Select the unresponsive app, and click on the “X” button in the menu bar:

Force-Quit-Mac-X-Button

The fifth and final method we have for you today is to quit an app using Terminal via use of the kill command. We’ve already covered the kill command and what it does previously, so we won’t be explaining it here.

To force-quit a command using Terminal:

1. First, find the PID (process ID) of the app you want to force quit. If you don’t know how to do that, follow the steps detailed in this article to  find the PID of an app using Activity Monitor.

2. Once you have the PID of the unresponsive app, open Terminal on your Mac, and simply enter in the following command:

kill -9 PID

Here, replace PID with the process ID of the app you found earlier.

Force-Quit-Mac-kill

Once entered, the app should automatically quit, and you’ll be bought back to your responsive desktop.

Unresponsive apps can both be the result of a slow processor, or a faulty app. Either way, your Mac might hang or might get stuck, and you’ll need to either restart it or force-quit the app in question.

Hopefully, using the five methods listed above, you’ll easily be able to force-quit an unresponsive app on your Mac and get back to your work.

Let us know if you have any other methods to force-quit applications in the Comments section below.