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Different Ways to Force Quit Applications on Your Mac

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Macs are known for their smooth functioning operating systems. However, sometimes, you get the occasional glitch and some of the apps become “unresponsive”. Worse, you can’t seem to close or quit them! What to do in such a sticky situation?

Force Quit, of course!

Now, most of you will know the standard way to force quit the apps, which is you select the app’s icon in the dock, right click on it, and choose ‘Force Quit’. However, this may not always work. Here are some possible reasons for this malfunction:

  • Improper build of the app
  • Memory leaks in the app
  • Improper update for the existing operating system
  • Incompatibility with other apps running on the system
  • System running two low on RAM
  • Over-exerted processor

So here are a few ways to Force Quit app when the right-click method fails.

Using Finder

Make sure that you’re on the Finder app (click that square blue-white smiley icon in the dock). Then press Command+Option+Esc (together). A small window will open up, showing you all the apps that are currently running. Choose the one you want to terminate, and then hit the “Force Quit” button.

Using Activity Monitor

Use Spotlight to launch Activity Monitor. You can also find this app under Applications > Utilities.

Once the app is open, navigate to the “Memory” tab. Usually, the application that’s causing the trouble will be the one hogging the most memory. Select the app you want to end from the list and click on the “X” on the top left corner. A pop-up window will open up, asking for confirmation. Choose “Force Quit”.

Using Terminal

Use the Spotlight to launch the Terminal App. Again, you can also find it in the Applications > Utilities folder.  Now, type in the command “ps -ax” (without the inverted commas) and press the return key. You will see a list of currently running processes with a serial number — called a PID number — in front of it.

Don’t worry if the list runs into thousands of running processes. Find your app from the list and note down the PID number that is on the left side of the app. Once you have the PID number, type in the command “kill <PID number>”. The moment you press the return key after this command, the app will be closed automatically.

For example, this in this screenshot, if I wanted to stop Skype, I would type, Kill 303.

If the application still doesn’t close, then we’ve got a bigger problem, and you might have to go ballistic on your Mac. Which brings us to —

Hard Reset your Mac

As a last resort, you will have to force shut down your Mac. To do this, press and hold the power button (for about 4-5 seconds). You’ll hear the system go quiet. It would be a good idea to give the system a couple of minutes to cool down before you boot it up again.

Freezing apps are never good news, and if you have an app that keeps doing that then we recommend that you delete and re-install that app. Alternatively, you can go to Apple Support website and find out if it’s an app-specific problem or is your Mac the one causing the trouble.

We also recommend shutting down you Mac at least once a week. It’s also a good practice to clean-install your system once every year.

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