Ways to Force Quit on Mac

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As a Mac user, one might have to deal with the hanging of applications. This happens due to various reasons like the less capacity of RAM and the processor becoming slower with time. The solution to this issue is force quitting the applications running on your Mac device. We have created for you some methods to implement the shortcuts to force quit an application on a Mac device.

Improper Memory Usage can also cause malfunction like the bad pool header on the Windows Operating System. It is a type of BSOD (blue screen of death) malfunction. A blue screen is displayed after a fatal system error occurs and the system is unable to function properly anymore. It crashes. A blue screen is displayed to inform the user about the error. Therefore, it is also referred to as blue screen bad pool header. In a bad pool header on Windows 7, the error code is displayed on the blue screen while in the bad pool header on Windows 8 onwards the error code is replaced with the BAD_POOL_HEADER code instead. However, in Mac OS we can avoid these grave circumstances by using Force Quit.




Importance of force quit on Mac:

The Mac OS is more stable than many other discrete operating systems. Users of other operating systems usually encounter problems like freezing of an application. It occurs mostly due to memory usage. There are other reasons too. This brings down the efficiency of the system and the experience of using a fast system becomes a thing of the past. Mac OS is much more stable. This does not mean that it is free of such bugs. Such issues do arise. However, the frequency of these issues is far less. There are ways of handling such errors. We can force quit an application to resume our work without restarting the system.

Let’s Get Started:

We can terminate the application which freezes and resume our work with the other running applications. The interruption in work is not well received and should not be. The feature to force quit gets handy in these situations. Here are some standard ways of forcefully quitting applications on Mac OS X. These methods must be used by a person who has prior experience in working in a Mac OS X environment. Unexpected system behavior might be a consequence of following the commands improperly or not having enough knowledge about the Mac OS X environment. Hence, these methods should only be used to avoid delays when really necessary.

Force Quit Using Window (C-O-E option)

All the OS X versions have an exclusive option to force quit the frozen applications. They come with a force quit window. To access it, we can:

  • Use the “Command-Option-Escape” (C-O-E) shortcut key from the keyboard.
  • A click on the apple logo would suffice.
  • Select the “Force Quit Window”

From the Force Quit Window, we simply need to select the application to be force quit. Options will be available for the commands related to the application. We can select the “Force Quit” option for the fulfillment of our purpose.

Sometimes, even this method might fail to force quit the application. Alternative methods to force quit are available.

Force Quit Using OS X Dock

For force quitting the frozen application on Mac OS X, this shortcut is the most commonly used. This is a fairly easy to implement the shortcut to shut an application using the Dock.

  • Go to the Dock and right click on the application you want to force quit.
  • From the keyboard, press the “option” key. You will notice that the “Quit” option would be replaced by the “Force Quit” option. Selecting this option would shut down that application without affecting the other applications.

It should be noted that alerts like “save existing” should not appear. This might lead to the loss of data you were working on. After force quitting the application, you can restart the application and resume your work. This method comes handy in most of the situations as it is very easy to implement. Sometimes the popup might not appear and you would not be able to force quit using this method. The only option left is to try other methods given below.

Force Quit Using Keyboard Shortcut

Command + Option + Shift + Esc keys should be pressed simultaneously. A Doc window will pop up with the option to force quit the hanging application. We just need to select the application and click on the Force Quit option.

This is the method which has the maximum risk of data loss.

Force Quit using the Activity Monitor

The “Activity Monitor” of the Mac OS X corresponds to the Task Manager of the Windows Operating System. We can easily get the information about all the running applications from the Task Manager. The Activity Monitor of Mac OS X categorizes the applications based on their properties like the User Id on which the application was started, Process IDs, Usage of CPU etc. User can select the properties to sort the applications. There is also an option of listing out the applications that are hanging. We can follow the following steps to force quit the application using the Activity Monitor:

  • Go to Applications. Select the Utilities option and navigate to the Activity Monitor.
  • To view all the active applications, Go to the Activity Manager and select the Energy tab.
  • Select the hanging application to be force quit and click on the cross. There is also a search tab for the applications.

The following steps need to be followed carefully for force quitting successfully. This method works in most of the cases.

Force Quit Using Terminal




The activity monitor can be used to find the application’s process ID. Once we know the process ID, We can force quit the application using the terminal window Key in Kill <process id>. The steps stated below must be followed.

  1. Go to the Activity Monitor and search for the application you want to force quit. The Process ID can be found.
  2. Once you have the process ID, you can open the terminal from your MAC and enter the command:

Kill -9 PID

This is an advanced method to force quit an application on Mac OS X. The user needs to have the advanced level knowledge to execute this method and the special authority to execute these system-level commands. The user needs to know about and be experienced in dealing with the different terminal commands on the Mac command prompt.

Other Alternatives:

Usually, the freezing of applications occurs due to the use of redundant hardware or a prolonged use of the hardware or memory being full. This leads to 95% of the applications crashing and disrupting the working of the system. Sometimes the browser Plugins or the system updates added recently also result in the hanging of apps. Restarting the system might lead to the loss of unsaved information. Apart from force quitting applications, there are other methods too like installing updates on Mac OS X to bring more stability or to upgrade the RAM.

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