How to Force Quit an App on Mac – Top Tricks and Methods

Force Quit an App on Mac

Considering most apps running on a Mac may rarely hang or freeze given their stability, things could take a turn for the worse causing these apps to start malfunctioning. In such instances, even the default closing options of an app may stop working.

A number of the obvious signs of a pesky app include its unresponsiveness to execute its basic functions normally, not closing when you try quitting the app, and other annoying behaviors. Fortunately, several options can help you to Force Quit such an app in your Mac OS, and that you can read about in our guide on how to fix frozen apps on Mac Pro.

However, it is important to bear in mind that if you choose to go with the different Force Quit methods, unlike the normal procedure when quitting an app, there will not be any reminders asking you to save your work or confirm your decision. It will be too late for that once you click the force quit option as Mac OS will instantly shut down the app with no prompts or warnings at all. Therefore, it is important to note that the Force Quit option should be used only as a last resort.

Here are the top tricks and methods to force quit an app on a Mac (compatible with Mac OS Big Sur):

Using the Finder Method

Apple recommends this option for any app that seems unresponsive to the usual closing procedure.

Here are the steps on how to go about with this method:

  • In the top left corner of your screen, hit on the Apple icon, and from the list that appears, select Force Quit.
  • A Force Quit window will pop up displaying the running apps on your Mac.
  • Select the misbehaving/freezing app and click on the button at the button showing Force Quit.

The Keyboard Shortcut Method

If the first method renders to be futile, you can try out this second method by following these steps:

  • Simultaneously hold and press Opt/Alt + Cmd + Esc (on some keyboards Opt is labeled as Alt). This function is similar to Windows 10 where you press Ctrl+Alt+Del.
  • A Force Quit window will pop up displaying the running apps on your Mac.
  • Select the unresponsive/freezing app and click on the button at the button showing Force Quit.

The Option Key Method

If you are still experiencing trouble with the pesky app, you can try the Option Key method, which is more manual compared to the other methods.

Here are the steps:

  • In your Dock, press Control (Ctrl) while clicking or Right Click on the freezing or unresponsive app.
  • Press and hold the Option key. In the options list, it will change the normal Quit option to a Force Quit option.

If the above methods do not satisfy your expectations, you still have another option you can try out.

The Activity Monitor Method

Here are the steps:

  • To launch the Activity Monitor, use the Spotlight search.
  • On your screen’s top right corner showing the magnifying glass, type in the text box Activity Monitor.
  • Select the unresponsive/ freezing app from the task manager list.
  • Then navigate to the top left corner of the task manager and click on the button resembling a Stop sign.

If neither of the above methods is satisfactory, it would be advisable to save all your work, then restart your Mac and see if this does the trick. However, if none of the methods work, there is one last method that can solve or help you force quit an app on your Mac.

The Terminal Command Method

As a last resort, this method may be handy and especially if you are tech-savvy as it is involving unlike any of the methods above.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • From the Spotlight Search Window, type in Terminal and launch it. Alternatively, you can open your Applications Folder>Utilities and launch the Terminal app.
  • The Terminal Window will pop up displaying your username and a dollar sign. In the Terminal Window, type in the following command:

ps -ax then hit Enter.

  • This will give you a list of all running processes on your Mac along with other details like its respective PID numberelapsed running timeprocess name, and process location.
  • To kill (force quit) a specific application, look for its name and note down the PID number.
  • Type the following command in Terminal: kill <PID number>
  • Press Enter.
  • The Terminal will kill the app that the entered PID number matches to on your Mac.


If the above methods do not solve your problem, you may format your Mac or visit a professional Mac service provider for more assistance.

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