How to Force Quit on Macbook

Force quitting is a process used to shut down an unresponsive application.

It can be necessary when an app is not responding to regular quit commands, and you end up stuck with a frozen app or seeing the spinning beach ball of doom. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to resolve.

4 Different Ways to Force Quit Apps on Macbook

There are a multitude of different ways to force quit an app on your Macbook, and we’re going to start with the simplest. To force quit an application on your MacBook, follow these simple steps:

1. Keyboard Shortcut: Press `Command + Option + Esc`. This will open the Force Quit Applications window.

2. Select the App: In the window, you’ll see a list of all currently running applications. Click on the app that’s not responding.

3. Force Quit: After selecting the app, click the ‘Force Quit’ button at the bottom of the window.

As mentioned, there are different methods you can use to force quit apps on your Macbook

Using the Apple Menu

Another way to access the Force Quit option is through the Apple Menu:

1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen, in the Apple menu bar.

2. Click ‘Force Quit’ from the drop-down menu. This will bring up the same Force Quit Applications window.

Using the Dock

If the application you need to force quit is in the Dock, then you can also force quit on Mac by holding down the Option key whilst right-clicking on the app itself.

1. Right-click (or Control-click) on the app icon in the Dock.

2. Hold down the Option key, and the ‘Quit’ option will change to ‘Force Quit’.

3. Select ‘Force Quit’ to close the unresponsive application.

Remember, you can only use the Force Quit window if you have the Mac app available in your dock. If not, you’ll need to use another method.

Force Quitting from the Terminal

Terminal allows Mac users to run many different processes. Advanced users may prefer using the Terminal for force quitting unresponsive apps:

1. Open Terminal from the Applications folder.

2. Type `top` and press Enter to display running processes.

3. Find the Process ID (PID) of the unresponsive app.

4. Type `kill [PID]` and press Enter. This will force quit the application.


Knowing how to force quit on a MacBook is an essential skill that can help you manage unresponsive applications effectively. Force quitting apps shouldn’t be the first action that you take when your app is frozen, though it may be the only option if you’re facing the spinning pinwheel on your Macbook.

While it’s a useful tool, it’s also important to take steps to prevent your apps from freezing in the first place. Regular maintenance, updates, and mindful usage of your MacBook will minimize the need for force quitting and ensure a smoother, more efficient computing experience.



Full-time writer, Apple fanboy and macOS supremacist. Currently running: 16" Macbook Pro w/ 64GB RAM & M1 Max. Already wants to upgrade to the M3 😫😭

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