How to force quit an OS X app that isn't responding

How to force quit an OS X app that isn't responding

While OS X may have the reputation of being a solid operating system, it isn't immune from occasional crashes and app freezes. If you've owned a Mac for a long period of time, you've most likely come across the spinning beach ball of death a time or two. Here's how to figure out which app is causing the problem, if you don't know already, and how to force quit the app:

  1. Click on the  icon in the top menu bar and then click on Force Quit...
  2. A window will then open with a list of apps. Find the one you want to force close and highlight it. Note that apps that are frozen typically say Not Responding next to them which makes them easy to find in the list.
  3. Once you've got the app you'd like to end highlighted, click on Force Quit.

That's all there is to it. The app you selected will shut down completely. You should now be able to re-open it again. If it keeps crashing, try to completely uninstall and reinstall the app as well.

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to force quit an OS X app that isn't responding


The quicker way is to just right-click on the offending program in the Dock and choose Force Quit.

I'm guessing you chose the other method because not everyone knows how to "right-click".

I use this method when the force quit clicking and holding doesn't work or seems to take too long. It quits immediately

Sent from the iMore App

Not sure what you're trying to say (your typo), but every app puts its icon in your dock when it's open. Even if you don't always keep it in your dock. With the exception of menu apps (such as MenuMeters)

"Command + Alt + Esc"
My favorite form of forcing apps down... Until Apple implements the new gesture recognition and it can just give my computer "the finger" to force quit apps.

Sent from the iMore App

You can map the keyboard shortcut as a gesture to your Magic Trackpad (if you have one) via an app calld BetterTouchTool.

I was about to say that too....Alt, Esc, Cmd. I just think about making a letter L with my left hand and the fingers land on the correct keys on my keyboard.

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The letter "L" sure beats using two fingers from one hand for the option/alt & cmd plus a finger from the other hand for the esc!