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How to Close or Force Quit Running Apps on Mac

If your Mac is frozen or not responding, you will be stuck on the running app and won’t have an escape route except to force quite the running apps. Most people find the short key to close any running app on Mac as a big-time savior. You’re not alone in this.

Many people find it difficult to force quit a running app that has frozen. The most annoying part is that clicking on the ‘x’ mark at the upper left corner of an app in a Mac does not close the app, instead, it will close that window but the app keeps running in the background.

The process to force quit any running app is quite different from closing an ordinary app on Mac. Below, we will be showing you how to easily close the running app on your Mac.

force quit runing apps on mac

Close an App or Force quite running apps on Mac

It’s not right to always force quit apps on Mac. You should know that the closing app is the right way to switch to other important tasks on your PC as the application will still be running in the background.

So when you close running apps such as Photoshop, Chrome with dozens of opened tabs, a cloud storage app with continuous syncing on your Mac. If your Mac memory is low, then you should consider quitting the app to reduce the system resources. It’s recommendable to always close or quit apps when you are done using it.

On the other hand, force quitting an app on Mac is an extreme measure step to take. You should only force quit an app when it freezes or you are seeing spinning beach ball on the screen. To force quit app means to forcefully close it. Sometimes this quickly kills the app from the RAM, however, in some cases it does so without saving your work.

How to Quit or Close Running Apps on Mac

Using the macOS Menu bar

When you open any app on Mac, the menu bar on the top adjusts itself. You can now tap on the app name beside the little Apple icon and access the options such as app preference, the About app menu, and more. You should then scroll down to the bottom and select the quit app option and it will close the app on your Mac.

Using Keyboard Shortcut

Just like Windows PC, macOS also provides a keyboard shortcut to quit an app. When you want to close any app, you should use the Command + Q’ keyboard shortcut to close the current app on your Mac.

You should now see all the active and running apps from the dock. These apps are represented by the tiny black dot below the app icon in the dock.  You can now use a two-finger click on the app icon and then select the quit option from the floating menu.

If you are using a mouse, just hover the cursor on the app icon and right-click on it to open the floating menu. After that, you can now proceed to select the quite option.

quit running apps on mac

How to quit Apps from the Upper Right Corner of Menu Bar

Apps like OneDrive, Dropbox, Adobe Creative Cloud, time-tracking software, and many more always remain active in the menu bar. You can access these apps from the right side of the menu bar and select the app icon to open the floating menu and quit the app.  To quit the Dropbox, click on it and then tap on more options and select the Quit Dropbox option.

How to Force Quit Running Apps on Mac

Force Quit App Using Activity Monitor

Just like task manager on Windows, macOS also has Activity Monitor to let you keep track of CPU, memory, Disk, Energy, and Network usage by each app on your Mac. To close any app on your Mac using this monitor, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Use the ‘Command + Space’ keyboard shortcut to open Spotlight Search
Step 2: Now type Activity Monitor in it and open the app. Or you can still open the Activity Monitor from the Launchpad. You will see the Activity Monitor app in a folder named ‘Other’.
Step 3: This will open the Energy section. You can now move your cursor to the app name and it will enable the ‘x’ option at the top.
Step 4: Select the ‘x’ icon at the upper left corner and a dialog box will appear to force quit the app.
Step 5: You can now select the Force quit option from the floating menu and this will close the app.

Quit App Using the Force Quit Window on Mac

This option is available for every Mac user. All you need to do is to use the ‘Command + Option + Esc’ keyboard shortcut to open up the Force Quit Applications menu. Then select the app name using a cursor and use the force quit option from the bottom to finally close the app.

Force Quit App on Mac Using from the Terminal

This option is not recommendable. However, since macOS provides a handy trick to force quit apps using the Terminal, let’s give it a try. Just follow the steps below.

Step 1: Use the ‘Command + Space’ keyboard shortcut to open Spotlight Search
Step 2: Type “Terminal” and this will open the app. You can also open the app using the Launchpad.
Step 3: Again type “killall ‘app name’” and hit return. This will force quit the mentioned app. For example, to force quit Dropbox, I can type “killall Dropbox” and it will force close Dropbox after hitting the return button.

Quit Keyboard Shortcut For Mac to Quit Running Apps

Well, if you are looking for shortcut keys to quit running apps on Mac, here you have them. You can use the combination of keys ‘Command + Option + Shift + Esc’ and hold it for two seconds and it will force quit the running or active app on your Mac.

Using the method above, you can close or force quit any running app on any Mac model. It’s applicable to MacBook Pro Air and many more. This method is effective when your Mac freezes or the app itself.

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James T.

James, a distinguished alumnus of MIT, where he specialized in Computer Science and Communications Technology, has an impressive academic foundation that underpins his expertise. With over a decade in the industry, he deciphers complex technology into easy how-tos. Known for his keen insights, James is dedicated to helping readers navigate the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

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