How to kill a process in Mac with Terminal & Activity Monitor

When your MacBook starts to slow down or becomes unresponsive, you may need to think about force closing specific apps on your device. The best way to do this is to kill a process.

This is usually the quickest way to get your system running smoothly again. Let’s dive into the steps and tips to effectively manage processes on your Mac.

Using Activity Monitor to Identify and Kill Processes

First things first, we need to open Activity Monitor. We can do that by either using Spotlight to search for it, or we can go into Applications and then into the Utilities folder.

Here, you’ll find the Activity Monitor, which can be opened with a double click.


Once in Activity Monitor, you’ll see a list of all running processes. Look for processes that are using a high percentage of CPU or memory (it can beb a good idea to sort by CPU usage). These are often the culprits of your Mac’s performance issues.


To kill a process, simply select it in the list and click the ‘X’ icon in the upper left corner of the window.


You’ll be prompted to confirm that you want to quit this process. Click “Force Quit” to proceed.

Using Terminal to Kill Processes

For those who are comfortable with command-line interfaces, the Terminal offers a more direct way to manage processes.

First, start by opening Terminal, located in the same Utilities folder as Activity Monitor.

Next, type top or ps aux to see a list of running processes that are currently open on your Macbook.


At this point, we need to note the PID (Process ID) of the process you want to terminate.

In this example, we’re showing how to kill 2750, which is Spotify.

To kill the process via Terminal, type kill X, replacing X with the actual Process ID. For stubborn processes, use kill -9 X], which forces termination.

Conclusion – Two methods to Kill Processes

Killing a process on your Mac can be a powerful tool for managing your system’s performance.

Whether using Activity Monitor for a user-friendly approach or Terminal for a more hands-on method, understanding how to properly manage processes is an essential skill for any Mac user.


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