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It happens that apps on Mac don’t always respond to user commands, so active processes still occupy the system memory. You may need to force quit apps to fix a frozen Mac. In this article, we share the ways how to close frozen programs on Mac, including the case when force quit on Mac is not working.


1. How to force quit on Mac using a shortcut
2. How to force close apps on Mac using Activity Monitor
3. How to force quit an app from the Dock panel
4. How to force stop programs on Mac using Terminal
5. What to do when the Force Quit command on Mac is not working

Before closing the frozen app wait for a minute. Perhaps the application is trying to process your last request. In this case, the mouse cursor becomes a rainbow ball.
application window with rainbow ball icon
If it didn’t help, then use one of the following ways to force close an app on Mac.

How to force quit on Mac using a shortcut

To call the Force Quit Applications window press Command+Option+Esc on your Mac keyboard. This shortcut will open this window, where you can select running apps and close them.

Force quit applications window

Also, you can call the Force Quit window using the Menu Bar:

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your desktop.
  2. Select Force Quit. It will propose to close the active app.
  3. Confirm by clicking the Force Quit button.

Force quit Chrome option in the menu bar

How to force close apps on Mac using Activity Monitor

The default Apple program Activity Monitor System gives information about the CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk, and Network. It also allows you to “kill” any system process on Mac.

Follow these steps to force quit apps using Activity Monitor:

  1. Open Activity Monitor from Launchpad.
  2. Go to the CPU tab.
  3. Select the “hovering” process from the list.
  4. Click the Force a Process to Quit (X) button in the top left corner.
  5. Confirm the operation.

Activity monitor - quit selected app window

How to force quit an app from the Dock panel

The alternative method for Mac Force Quit command is using the Dock panel.

Here is how to force quit an app right from the Dock panel:

  1. Hold Alt (Option) key and right-click on the app’s icon in the Dock.
  2. From the context menu select Force Quit.

dock panel - Force Quit option for app

How to force stop programs on Mac using Terminal

If all of the above steps did not help, then you still have the ability to force shut down the application via the command line.

Follow these steps to force quit with the Terminal app:

  1. Launch the Terminal.
  2. Type the following command: killall [application name]
  3. Click Enter.

terminal window - force quit command killall [application name]

the killall command works at the system level and when you use it, the auto-save option doesn’t work. Be careful not to lose important unsaved data.

What to do when the Force Quit command still not responding

In the case that none of the above methods were successful, then it’s time to force quit with Memory Cleaner. Actually, Memory Cleaner was designed to clean inactive RAM and speed up your Mac, however, it has a feature to force close apps.

Here are the steps to force quit apps using the Memory Cleaner app:

  1. Download Memory Cleaner and launch it. Use this link to download the app for free.
  2. Click the Memory Cleaner icon in the toolbar.
  3. Just right-click on the app you want to close and select Force Quit.

Memory Cleaner window - force quit option

So which method to use to force quit on a Mac

We have provided five ways of how you can force close programs on Mac. Use the way most convenient for you. If your Mac often gets frozen, use Memory Cleaner which allows you to clear RAM memory, speed up your Mac and force quit apps.

Memory Cleaner logo

Memory Cleaner

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System requirements: macOS 10.10-10.15
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This article is based on our expertise in optimizing Mac performance and fixing some related issues. We’ve been working 10+ years in developing special disk utilities for making a Mac work smoothly. We regularly explore the latest updates of macOS and update our apps and our articles according to system changes. If you have any questions related to this guide, contact us by email.