While most apps on your Mac will never cause any issues as they are known for their stability, things could go wrong at any time and the apps may start misbehaving on your machine. In such cases, even the default options to close an app will stop functioning.

Some of the common symptoms of an unresponsive app include the app not responding to your actions, not going away even when you drag the windows, and other nasty behavior.

Table of Contents

    The best thing to do when an app becomes unresponsive on your Mac is to force the app to quit. There are several ways built into the operating system of your Mac to help you force quit apps on your machine. These methods terminate the unresponsive apps so they no longer prevent you from working with the other apps on your machine.

    Force Quit Apps With The Apple Dialog Box

    One of the easiest ways to close unresponsive apps on your Mac is to use the built-in force close dialog box on your machine. Your Mac comes with this feature where it lists out all the open apps on your Mac. You can then pick the apps you want to force quit and it will get the job done for you.

    There are two ways to access this dialog box on your Mac. Either you can use a key combination or you can use the Apple menu to bring up the dialog box.

    To open the dialog box from the Apple menu, simply click on the Apple logo at the top-left corner of your screen and select Force Quit while you’re inside an app window.

    To access the dialog box with a key combination, press the Command + Option + Esc keys at the same time. The dialog box will open.

    You’ll find a list of all running apps on your Mac. Choose the app that is unresponsive and you want to force quit, and click on the button that says Force Quit.

    The chosen app or apps will be forcibly closed on your Mac.

    Force Quit Current App With A Keyboard Shortcut

    The above method lets you force quit any of the running apps on your Mac. But if you would like to only force quit the app you are currently in, you can do so without opening the force quit dialog box on your Mac.

    While you are inside the app window, press the Command + Option + Shift + Esc keys at the same time on your keyboard. It will force quit the app you are currently in on your Mac.

    Keep in mind the keyboard shortcut won’t ask for your permission to close the app. So if you have any unsaved work and the app allows you to save it, then do so before hitting the keyboard shortcut to quit the app.

    Force Close Apps From The Dock

    This one’s also easy to use and you can have your app force closed with the click of an option. Those of you who love using the Dock to launch and manage apps are going to like this method.

    Find the app that you want to force close in the Dock on your Mac.

    Once you’ve found the app, hold down the Option key on your keyboard, right-click on the app in the Dock, and click on the option that says Force Quit.

    The Dock will force close the selected app on your Mac. Again, you won’t get a prompt so make sure you aren’t closing an app where you have your work unsaved.

    Use Activity Monitor To Kill Your Apps

    Activity Monitor on a Mac is like the Task Manager on a Windows PC. It lets you view all the running apps as well as their processes on your machine. To use the utility to kill an app, all you need to do is find the process that is for the app in question and then kill it.

    Killing the process will force close the app on your Mac. Here’s how you go about doing it on your machine.

    Launch the Activity Monitor using your preferred way on your Mac.

    When it launches, ensure you’re in the CPU tab. From the list of apps on your screen, find and double-click on the one that you want to force close. Alternatively, you can select an app from the list and click on the X icon at the top.

    A dialog box will open on your screen. Click on the button that says Quit at the bottom.

    Click on Force Quit on the following screen to force close the app on your Mac.

    Activity Monitor ensures the process for the app is terminated so the app no longer remains active on your machine.

    Force An App To Quit From The Terminal

    If you’re someone who enjoys getting tasks done from the Terminal, you’d be glad to know that you can force close apps as well from your favorite command line editor.

    There’s a command you can run from the Terminal to kill any running app on your Mac.

    The first thing you’ll need to do is find the PID of the app you want to force close. Launch the Terminal app on your Mac, type in the following command, and hit Enter.


    You’ll get a list of all the running processes on your system. Take a look at the column that says COMMAND and find the app you want to force quit. Then note down the PID number next to the app name.

    Press q key on your keyboard to quit the processes list. Then type in the following command replacing PID with the actual PID of the app you want to close and press Enter.

    kill PID

    The Terminal will kill the app that the entered PID matches to on your Mac.