How To: Force Quit an Application on Mac OS X

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There are times when your Mac may not “just work” — unfortunately, it happens. If you ever notice an application you are using has stop responding and you can no longer do anything within the program itself, it may be time to try and force quit the application. A force quit essentially is a way to have your Mac close (or quit) a program that has become unresponsive.

Be warned that by force quitting an application, you may potentially lose any unsaved data that you were working with. For example, if you were working on a document in Microsoft Word or Pages and the program becomes unresponsive, if you force quit the application and haven’t saved your document recently, you may lose the contents of the document. So always save everything you’re working on frequently!

So how do you force quit an application?

Force quitting an application is actually very easy. Below are the steps you would need to take to force quit any application on your Mac.

In the menu bar (the bar at the top of the screen), all the way on the left hand side, you should see the Apple logo, click it and a menu such as the one below will appear.

Once the menu is present, click on Force Quit…

Force quit osx

After you have clicked on Force Quit… (or if you like keyboard shortcuts hit Command-Option-Escape at the same time and the same exact dialog window will appear) a dialog box will appear displaying all of the programs you are running currently on your Mac. Find the one that says it is not responding or if it doesn’t say not responding, find the one that you are having trouble with and click it to highlight the program in the window (e.g. how Google Chrome is highlighted below).

Force quit osx window

Now that the unresponsive program is highlighted, click on Force Quit button. A confirmation box will appear asking if you are sure you want to force quit the application, click on the Force Quit button.

Force quit osx confirm

That’s it! You have now successfully force quitted the unresponsive program and should now be able to reopen it and resume whatever it is you were doing.


— Jeff Weisbein

Jeff is the founder & CEO of BestTechie. He has over 10 years of experience working with technology and building businesses. He loves to travel and listen to music.




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