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How to force shut down a mac

Learn how to turn your Mac on and off, and get help with issues during startup or shutdown.

Turn on (start up) your Mac

To turn on your Mac, press its power button, which is usually marked How to Force Shut Down a Mac. Some Mac notebooks also turn on when you open them, connect them to power, press any key, or press the trackpad.

Learn more about turning on different Mac models below.

Mac notebooks

On MacBook Pro models that have a Touch Bar, Touch ID (power button) is on the right side of the Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard.

On MacBook Air models introduced in 2018 or later, Touch ID (power button) is on the right side of the function keys at the top of the keyboard.

On Mac notebooks with physical function (F1–F12) keys, the power button How to Force Shut Down a Macis a key in the top-right corner of the keyboard. 1

Newer Mac notebooks also turn on when you do these things:

  • Open the lid of your Mac, even if it’s not connected to power.
  • Connect your Mac to a power adapter while its lid is open. 2

Additionally, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models introduced in 2018 or later turn on when you press any key on the keyboard or press the trackpad.

Mac desktops

Mac mini

The power button How to Force Shut Down a Macis a circular button on the back of the computer. With the back of the Mac mini facing you, the power button is on the far-left side.

iMac and iMac Pro

The power button How to Force Shut Down a Macis a circular button on the back of the computer. With the back of the computer facing you, the power button is in the lower-right corner.

Mac Pro (2019)

On Mac Pro (2019), the power button How to Force Shut Down a Macis a circular button on the top of the computer, next to the Thunderbolt 3 ports. 3

Mac Pro (Rack, 2019)

On Mac Pro (Rack, 2019), the power button is a pill shaped button on the front of the computer, next to the status indicator light. 3

Turn off (shut down) your Mac

The best way to shut down your Mac is to choose Shut Down from the Apple menu .

Just as your Mac follows a startup process after it turns on, it follows a shutdown process before it turns off. That process includes automatically quitting all open apps and logging out of your macOS user account.

If your Mac doesn’t shut down, try Force Quit to close any apps that aren’t responding. If that doesn’t work, press and hold the power button until the Mac turns off.

Press and hold the power button to turn off your Mac only if it isn’t responding. You’ll lose unsaved changes to any documents that you have open.

If your Mac doesn’t turn on

If your Mac doesn’t turn on, check your power connection, and if you’re using a Mac notebook, make sure that its battery has some charge. You can also try holding down the power button for ten seconds, then pressing the power button again to see if the Mac turns on. Learn more about what to do if your Mac doesn’t turn on.

If your Mac turns on but doesn’t start up completely, you can use safe mode to isolate issues with your Mac.

Learn more

  • You can also put your Mac to sleep, which is different than shutting down. Learn more about sleep and the other Energy Saver settings on your Mac.
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts for sleep, log out, and shut down.

1. On earlier Mac notebook models, the power button is a circular button next to the keyboard.
2. To start up your MacBook Pro or MacBook by plugging it in, make sure to use an AC adapter that provides sufficient power, like the one that came with the computer. Your Mac notebook’s battery must have some charge to start up when you connect it to power.
3. On earlier Mac Pro models, the power button is a circular button on the back of the computer or on the front of the computer above the headphone jack.

You can shut down your Mac if you won’t use it for an extended period of time or even perform a forced shutdown, which forces all running programs to shut down immediately. You have three ways to shut down your Mac:

Choose the Apple key→Shut Down. A dialog box appears, asking whether you’re sure you want to shut down. Click Cancel or Shut Down. (If you don’t click either option, your Mac will shut down automatically after a few minutes.)

Press Control+Eject (or press the power button). When a dialog box appears, click the Shut Down button.

Press and hold the power button to force your Mac to shut down. You can also force shutdown your Mac by pressing the Control+Option+Command+Eject keystroke combination.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Generally, a force shutdown is handy if your entire Mac suddenly freezes or hangs, making it unresponsive. If only a single program is freezing or acting flaky, you’re usually better off to force quit that single program instead of shutting down your entire computer. Avoid using a force shutdown if at all possible.

If you do nothing when you see the dialog box that asks, “Are you sure you want to shut down your computer now?”, the machine will turn itself off in two minutes. If you want to shut down immediately, click the Shut Down button. If you’ve changed your mind, click Cancel.

MacBooks, like iPhones, rarely ever get stuck to the point that they’re unusable. A MacBook may freeze but in most cases, it will be usable again in a while. Of course, that’s not always the case. A MacBook can freeze and since it has a battery, you can’t just power it off unless the battery too runs out and that can take hours. What you can do instead is force shut down a MacBook.

Force shut down MacBook

Force shutting down a MacBook is literally the same as force shutting down a PC. It just seems like it won’t work because unlike a PC, the power button on a MacBook looks like any ordinary key but it can force a shut down.

Tap and hold the Power button on your MacBook for five seconds. When your screen goes black, it indicates that the Mac has been shut down. If you tap the key again, it will boot the system.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

The power button isn’t the only way to force a shut down. If your MacBook has an Eject key, you can use the Command+Option+Control+Eject key combo to force a shut down.

It goes without saying that a forced shut down will result in data loss. When you boot back to your desktop, you will see a message informing you that the Mac was forcefully shut down and it will offer to open the apps that you previously had open. macOS will likely be able to re-open all the apps but it won’t save any work unless the app has a built-in auto back-up feature that saves work as you go along.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

A forced shut down is a very temporary fix if your MacBook is freezing too often. These laptops and the OS itself are generally very stable so if your MacBook keeps freezing something is very wrong with.

If you’ve recently dropped your MacBook or spilled something on it, the frequent freezes may be an indication of hardware damage. If you’ve been modifying it via the Terminal and have modified a core system file, it is likely that it is causing the system to freeze. Of course, problematic apps may also be the reason. If you suspect an app is to blame for the constant freezing, start your Mac in safe mode and remove it. The app itself may not be malicious however it may be poorly developed or it may have a bug that causes problems the system is unable to handle.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

You have no idea how to force shut down your Mac computer, and it’s frustrating to think that you’re in the middle of your concentration when your Mac freezes. No matter how powerful a Mac computer is, there will be times that your machine will just give in to workload and begin to become unresponsive. Like any other computing hardware, Macs freeze for various reasons.

The most common reasons why Mac freezes are the following:

  • Insufficient RAM to share among running applications
  • Large applications using too much CPU
  • Software bugs and incompatibilities
  • Multiple applications open at once
  • Applications competing for disk access and other resources at the same time

The bottom line is: memory plays a significant role in the performance of your Mac. So next time, make sure you’re only running a number of applications that are within the means of your Mac’s RAM and/or CPU.

Before we proceed to the proper steps, make sure to give your Mac some time to process running tasks. If not, then you can force quit applications first. Just follow the steps below.

How to Force Quit Applications on Mac

Before you force shut down your Mac, try to force quit open applications first. One of them might be the reason why your Mac is freezing. This way, you are also decreasing the chances of damaging any applications on your computer.

To force quit an app on a Mac, follow the steps below:

  • Hold down command + shift + option + esc altogether to force quit the foreground or current application.
  • If there are multiple windows opened, launch the Force Quit window. To do this, press command + option + esc and select the application. Then press the return key or click the Force Quit button to force quit the selected app.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

If the force quitting the culprit doesn’t cut it, proceed to the next step.

How to Force Shut Down Mac and Reboot Automatically

If you want to force shut down your Mac and reboot it automatically, press and hold command + option + control + the power button, all at once. This combination prompts your Mac to force quit all open applications and restart. Alternatively, you can use the eject key in lieu of the power button, if your Mac has one.

Note that open applications with unsaved changes will prompt you to save changes. If the cursor is freezing, hit the return key to confirm changes.

How to Force Shut Down Mac

If you just want to force shut down your Mac straightaway, press and hold the power button for 5-10 seconds. Note that this will force quit open applications which means unsaved changes will be lost. Applications could incur a damage. Wait for 30 seconds to 1 minute before turning on your Mac again.

Alternatively, you can press and hold the power button for 1.5 seconds to trigger a window confirming if you want to shut down your Mac. Press return to confirm. Although this is likely to cause any damage to your Mac, it’s most likely ineffective.

Have you successfully force shut down your Mac? If not, let us know in the comments section. We’ll be happy to assist you.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Dan is a web developer, a digital nomad, and a lifelong Apple fan. At iPhonebyte, his job is to help you get the most out of your iOS and Mac devices. Read the story about him and the website here.

by Anna Sherry Updated on 2020-02-26 / Update for Mac OS

While it’s very rare but some users complain that their Mac wont shut down. If you are in a similar situation and your Mac just won’t turn off no matter what you do, this guide will help you sort out your issue. The guide teaches how you can force shutdown Mac so your machine shuts down and basically that’s it.

There are various reasons as to why your Mac refuses to power off. Maybe there are some apps preventing your machine to turn off or maybe there is an issue in the NVRAM. We are going to check all of this out in the guide below so let’s get started. Here’s how you force your Mac to shut down:

1. Force Quite the Frozen App on Mac

If an app is causing the issue where your Mac is prevented from shutting down, you may want to force close the app so that your Mac is then allowed to turn off. If you have never force closed an app on your Mac and you are not sure how it is done, the following will teach you how to do it.

Step 1. Press the Command + Option + Esc keys at the same time on your Mac’s keyboard and it will open a dialog box.

Step 2. When the dialog box opens, you will see a list of apps currently running on your Mac. Click on the app you would like to force close and then click on the Force Quit button.

The selected app will be closed on your Mac. That is how you force close Mac apps so your Mac can be turned off.

2. Reset SMC

SMC stands for System Management Controller and resetting it will likely fix the Mac won t shut down issue you are facing on your machine. That part is responsible for providing energy to your Mac components.

One of the steps below asks you to turn off your Mac so this method is suitable for you if you do not always face the shutdown issue on your machine. Resetting SMC on a Mac is a pretty easy task and the following are the steps on how you can do it on your machine.

Step 1. Click on the Apple logo at the top left corner of your screen and select Shut Down to turn off your Mac.

Step 2. If your charger is connected to your Mac, disconnect it now.

Step 3. Hold down the Shift + Control + Option and the Power keys on your keyboard. Keep them held down for ten seconds.

Step 4. Let go of the keys and press the Power button to turn on your Mac.

You have successfully reset SMC on your machine and you will not face the shut down issue ever again on your Mac.

3. Reset NVRAM

NVRAM is a kind of random-access memory that your Mac uses to quickly supply information to its processor. Clearing the contents of this RAM type will help you fix the shutdown issue and the following is how you can go about doing it on your Mac.

Keep in mind the method is suitable for you if you do not always face the shutdown issue.

Step 1. Turn off your Mac and press and hold down the Option + Command + P + R keys on your keyboard.

Step 2. Keep the keys held down for about twenty seconds.

Step 3. Let go of the keys and your Mac will boot-up.

The shutdown issue should likely be fixed on your machine.

4. Force Shutdown Mac

If you are still unable to shut down your Mac normally, you may want to force the system to shut down your machine at any cost. There is actually a feature on your Mac that lets you do that, and the following should help you with it.

Here’s how to force shutdown MacBook Pro:

Step 1. Save your work and close any apps running on your Mac.

Step 2. Press and hold down the Command + Control + Option + Power buttons at the same time on your Mac.

Your Mac will be forced to shut down.

5. Reinstall macOS

If none of the methods above worked for you, you may want to run to the final solution that is to reinstall the macOS operating system on your Mac. It will replace your current system and install a fresh version of the OS on your machine.

The following is how you do it:

Step 1. Turn off your Mac. Learn how to shut down MacBook Pro using the above method if you don’t know how to do it.

Step 2. Boot-up your Mac and press and hold down the Command + R keys together when you start the boot chime.

Step 3. The macOS recovery will load. Select the option that says Reinstall macOS.

Follow the on-screen instructions and a fresh version of the OS will be installed on your Mac.

Extra Tip: How to Recover Lost Files After Force Shutdown or macOS Reinstall

It’s rare but sometimes you end-up losing files when you force shutdown or reinstall a version of macOS on your Mac. If this has happened to you and you have lost your files, you can recover your files using the following instructions.

Enter Tenorshare UltData – Mac, a software that makes it possible for you to recover lost files on your machine. It uses special algorithms to detect and recover files from various drives on your Mac machine. The following is how you use it.

Step 1 Download and run the software on your Mac. Select the drive where your deleted files were located and click on Scan.

Step 2 If you run macOS High Sierra or later on your Mac, disable SIP using the instructions in the following image.

Step 3 Review the scan results, select the files you would like to recover, and click on Recover.

Step 4 Choose a folder to save your files.

You have successfully recovered lost files on your Mac.

Conclusion

If your Mac wont shut down for any reason, our guide above should help you fix the issue so that your machine shuts down whenever you want it to. It also shows how you can recover your data if you lose it while performing any of the methods described in the guide.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Do you have experienced that your Mac freezes or stops working? In this case, you need to force shut down mac. By doing so, your Mac is possible to work normally again and ready to use. Then, do you know how to force shut down mac with touch bar? Actually, to do it is so simple if you know the ways. To make it happen, you can follow the explanation below.

2 Methods of How to Force Shut Down Mac

Well, related to the methods to force shut down mac, you have to know that there are two methods. What are they? Here are the available for you.

1. Forcing Any Mac to Shut Down

The first method of how to force shut down mac that you can use is forcing any mac to shut down. In this method, there are five easy ways that you can do about how to force shut down mac desktop. Here are they.

a. Understand force quitting can cause problems

The first way is to understand that force quitting can cause problems like losing unsaved work.

b. Find Mac’s power button

Almost all Macs contain a physical control or button with the ‘Power’ icon that can be pressed to turn off the device.

c. Press and hold the power button

After you have found this button, just press down on it and please remember not to release it for five seconds.

d. Release the Power button

You should release this button after five seconds of course. In this way, the Mac should be off.

e. Wait a minute

Before turning back on Mac, please wait a minute.

2. Forcing a Frozen Mac to Shut Down

The second method of how to force shut down mac. There are seven ways of how to shut down macbook pro with keyboard. In order to know it, just follow these ways below.

a. Determine the severity of Mac’s condition

What does it mean? It means that if the Mac is very frozen, please skip the next two steps.

b. Try force quitting an application

You can do it if Mac froze after opening as a specific application. Then, trying force quitting can be done by pressing Command + Option + Esc and click the desired program that you want to force quit. Last, just click Force Quit at the bottom of the window.

c. Try to save any open work

You are able to do this way by pressing Command + S while in the program’s window.

d. Find Mac’s power button

Macs have a physical button with the Power icon that can be pressed.

e. Press and hold the power button

After finding this button just press down on it and please not to release it until the screen turns off.

f. Release the power button

When the screen goes black, please release the power button. It indicates that Mac has turned off.

g. Turn back on Mac

If your Mac has shut down, just press the power button in order to turn back on Mac.

How to Troubleshooting Post Restart Issues

This method is used to fix common issues. You can do it by following these five steps below.

a. Start the computer in Safe Mode

When your computer freezes again after shut down, please restart it and press Shift. When you see the Apple logo, just release the Shift key. So, the computer will start in Safe Mode.

b. Disable open on startup

Actually, Safe Mode avoids programs from opening automatically on startup. In order to avoid it, you can open the Apple menu, click Users & Groups. Then, choose your user account in the left pane and click the Login Items tab. After that, choose the program causing the issue and click the – button that is below the programs list.

c. Uninstall a problematic program

It is very suggested for you to uninstall a problematic program if you have a specific program that causes your Mac freezes.

d. Repair your disk

You can do it by restarting the computer and hold down Command + R. Then, click Disk Utility on the startup screen and click Continue. After that, choose your startup disk and click Repair Disk.

e. Reset your SMC

An issue with the System Management Controller can avoid the power button from working properly or cause general slowdowns.

The information above is about three methods of how to force shut down mac. You are allowed to choose one of the methods that you want to use. Have a nice try!

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Do you have experienced that your Mac freezes or stops working? In this case, you need to force shut down mac. By doing so, your Mac is possible to work normally again and ready to use. Then, do you know how to force shut down mac with touch bar? Actually, to do it is so simple if you know the ways. To make it happen, you can follow the explanation below.

2 Methods of How to Force Shut Down Mac

Well, related to the methods to force shut down mac, you have to know that there are two methods. What are they? Here are the available for you.

1. Forcing Any Mac to Shut Down

The first method of how to force shut down mac that you can use is forcing any mac to shut down. In this method, there are five easy ways that you can do about how to force shut down mac desktop. Here are they.

a. Understand force quitting can cause problems

The first way is to understand that force quitting can cause problems like losing unsaved work.

b. Find Mac’s power button

Almost all Macs contain a physical control or button with the ‘Power’ icon that can be pressed to turn off the device.

c. Press and hold the power button

After you have found this button, just press down on it and please remember not to release it for five seconds.

d. Release the Power button

You should release this button after five seconds of course. In this way, the Mac should be off.

e. Wait a minute

Before turning back on Mac, please wait a minute.

2. Forcing a Frozen Mac to Shut Down

The second method of how to force shut down mac. There are seven ways of how to shut down macbook pro with keyboard. In order to know it, just follow these ways below.

a. Determine the severity of Mac’s condition

What does it mean? It means that if the Mac is very frozen, please skip the next two steps.

b. Try force quitting an application

You can do it if Mac froze after opening as a specific application. Then, trying force quitting can be done by pressing Command + Option + Esc and click the desired program that you want to force quit. Last, just click Force Quit at the bottom of the window.

c. Try to save any open work

You are able to do this way by pressing Command + S while in the program’s window.

d. Find Mac’s power button

Macs have a physical button with the Power icon that can be pressed.

e. Press and hold the power button

After finding this button just press down on it and please not to release it until the screen turns off.

f. Release the power button

When the screen goes black, please release the power button. It indicates that Mac has turned off.

g. Turn back on Mac

If your Mac has shut down, just press the power button in order to turn back on Mac.

How to Troubleshooting Post Restart Issues

This method is used to fix common issues. You can do it by following these five steps below.

a. Start the computer in Safe Mode

When your computer freezes again after shut down, please restart it and press Shift. When you see the Apple logo, just release the Shift key. So, the computer will start in Safe Mode.

b. Disable open on startup

Actually, Safe Mode avoids programs from opening automatically on startup. In order to avoid it, you can open the Apple menu, click Users & Groups. Then, choose your user account in the left pane and click the Login Items tab. After that, choose the program causing the issue and click the – button that is below the programs list.

c. Uninstall a problematic program

It is very suggested for you to uninstall a problematic program if you have a specific program that causes your Mac freezes.

d. Repair your disk

You can do it by restarting the computer and hold down Command + R. Then, click Disk Utility on the startup screen and click Continue. After that, choose your startup disk and click Repair Disk.

e. Reset your SMC

An issue with the System Management Controller can avoid the power button from working properly or cause general slowdowns.

The information above is about three methods of how to force shut down mac. You are allowed to choose one of the methods that you want to use. Have a nice try!

Force restarting a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro is generally considered a last resort, but if the worst happens and your machine freezes up, it’s the quickest way of getting things running again.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac
Before taking this extreme option though, it’s worth making sure that you’ve exhausted all potential software solutions.

  • If it’s just an application that’s frozen rather than the operating system, hold down the Option (⌥) key then right-click the offending app’s icon in the Dock and select Force Quit.
  • If the OS is frozen but the mouse cursor still responds, click the Apple () symbol in the upper left corner of the screen and select Restart. Otherwise, try holding down the Control (Ctrl) key and pressing the power button. If the system shutdown dialog appears, select Restart from the available options.

On MacBooks with physical function (F1–F12) keys, the power button is the key in the upper right corner of the keyboard (if it’s an older Mac with an optical drive, this is also the Eject button).

Touch ID button on a 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌
On a 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌, the power button is the ‌Touch ID‌ button in the top-right corner of the keyboard, and on a ‌MacBook Pro‌ with a Touch Bar, it’s the ‌Touch ID‌ surface on the rightmost side of the Touch Bar.

How to Force Restart Your Mac

  • Press and hold down the Command (⌘) and Control (Ctrl) keys along with the power button (or the ‌Touch ID‌ / Eject button, depending on the Mac model) until the screen goes blank and the machine restarts.

If your MacBook repeatedly freezes and you’re unsure what’s causing the problem, consider restarting your Mac in Apple Diagnostics mode to check if it’s a hardware issue.

When applications become unresponsive on a Mac you need to Force Quit to shut them down – but how do you Ctrl-Alt-Delete on a Mac to close frozen apps? We’ll explain.

By Martyn Casserly, Contributor | 16 Jul 19

Contents

  • >Force Quit via the Dock
  • >Force Quit via the Apple menu
  • >Force Quit on a Mac using the keyboard
  • >What to do when you can’t leave an app
  • >Force Quit via Activity Monitor
  • >What to do when your computer is frozen

Has one of the apps on your Mac frozen? Are you seeing a ‘spinning beach ball’? Has your mouse stopped working? All these are symptoms that suggest an app has stopped working and you need to Force Quit before you can carry on. But how do you Force Quit on a Mac? Or, if you are used to Windows, how do you control alt delete on a Mac?

Windows users will be very familiar with the classic ‘Ctrl+Alt+Delete’ key combination, the measure of last resort when an application has become unresponsive. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete on a Mac will do nothing, that’s if you can even find those keys: on some Mac keyboards the Alt key is called Option, the Control key is there, but it’s equivalent on a Mac is really the Command key, and there isn’t usually a key marked as Delete.

So how do you Force Quit a Mac? There’s actually more than one way to Force Quit an app on a Mac. Here we’ll show you a variety of ways to find the problematic programs and shut them down, without the need to resort to the power button.

If you’re finding that apps are becoming unresponsive on a regular basis, and that it’s not always the same one, then it might be worth backing up all your data and doing a clean install of macOS. It’s a rather nuclear option, but could save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

You might also find it helpful to check out our How to fix a frozen Mac article.

Force Quit via the Dock

If an app has become unresponsive, then there’s a good chance that trying to place your mouse pointer over the menu bar at the top of the screen will result in a spinning beach ball that doesn’t allow you to select any options. You can of course give the app some time to resolve its issue, but if the problem persists then the app will need closing and launching again.

Go to the Dock at the bottom of the screen and find the icon for the app, then right click (or Ctrl+click) to bring up the contextual menu. At the bottom of this list is the Quit option. Click this and hopefully the app will close.

If not, repeat the process, but when the menu appears hold down the Alt key and the Quit option changes to Force Quit – a more powerful way to close the app. Select this and the program should close immediately.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Force Quit via the Apple menu

There is another way to access the Force Quit command: if you change to an app that is working fine, then click on the Apple icon in the top left of your screen, you can select the Force Quit option from the drop-down list.

Don’t worry, this won’t Force Quit the app you’re currently using – it will give you a list of all currently open apps, from which you can select the frozen ones to Force Quit.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Force Quit on a Mac using the keyboard

Another way to Force Quit an app is to hold down the Command + Alt (or Option) + Escape keys, this will bring up the same Force Quit Applications window as seen above.

Within the list that appears is every app currently running on your system, and the one you’re having problems with most likely has ‘Not Responding’ in brackets next to it.

Highlight the app, then click the Force Quit button in the bottom of the window. Now try relaunching the app to see if the problem has been resolved.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

What to do when you can’t leave an app

In severe cases, you’ll find that you can’t actually escape from the app itself to perform the above commands. If this is the case then you still have a command you can use. Simply hold down the Cmd + Alt (Option) + Shift + Esc buttons and macOS should close whichever app is currently the active one on your screen.

Force Quit via Activity Monitor

If you’re experiencing problems on your system, say the spinning beach ball is appearing more than normal, then one way to see what’s happening is using the built-in Activity Monitor.

You’ll find this useful tool by pressing Command + Space and starting to type Activity Monitor, or by going to the Finder and navigating to Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor. Once launched this tool displays all the apps and services that are using the CPU, Memory, and Network among other things.

Double-clicking on any app will bring up a separate window with even more information about the app and its current demands. From here you can choose to Sample the app, which gives you a report of its activities over a short period of time, but this is quite a technical procedure and the results are unintelligible for most people.

The more useful command is the Quit button, which will of course close the app.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

What to do when your computer is frozen

Sometimes an app can get into trouble and cause your entire system to freeze. While these cases are rare, they do happen and in the end the only option left to you is to hold down the power button on your Mac for several seconds.

Normally when you press the power button a message is sent to your system telling it that you want to close it down. The system then usually responds by putting the machine to sleep.

Holding the button down longer will give you a dialog box with various options such as Restart, Sleep, or Shut Down. But in a severe system crash, even this option might not appear.

So the last resort is to hold the button down until the machine cuts off the power completely. Now, while this will allow you to reboot and get back into your Mac, because of the sudden nature of the shutdown you may find that any unsaved data will be lost.

It’s not perfect, but sometimes it’s the only way to get back up and running.

Note, if you want to prevent the application that was causing the problem from opening up again when the computer restarts make sure that the box beside Reopen windows when logging back in is not ticked!

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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Author: Martyn Casserly, Contributor

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews.

Forcing an unresponsive app to quit on your Mac is a quick and effective way to stop a program from loading or one that’s running too slow. It may be an app that wants to stay open all the time or one that just isn’t responding but either way, it can be incredibly frustrating.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

There are a few ways to force close an app on a Mac and we’ll review each one of them in this article.

Using Mac OS X Dock

One of the simplest and easiest ways to force-quit an app that’s non-responsive is to just use the ‘Option’ key:

Use the ‘control’ button and the mouse or trackpad to click on the app.

While holding down the Option key, you’ll notice that ‘Quit’ will change to ‘Force-Quit’. The app will automatically shut down once you click on the ‘Force-Quit’ option.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Use Activity Monitor to Shut Down an App

For anyone who isn’t familiar with how Activity Monitor works, it’s very comparable to the ‘Task Manager’ in Windows or ‘System Monitor’ for Linux users. Essentially, you can easily control all processes and apps from the Activity Monitor. To use Activity Monitor to force an app to shut down:

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Open ‘Finder’ from your Dock

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Click ‘Applications’ then ‘Utilities’

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Click on ‘Activity Monitor’

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Click the ‘Energy Tab’ and double-click the app

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Click ‘Quit’

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Use the Force-Quit Window

Another option to make an app close down is to use the Force-Quit Applications Window.

On your Mac, just press ‘Command’ plus ‘Option’ plus ‘Escape’, which will initiate the force-quit window. Next, select the name of the unresponsive app and click on the ‘Force-Quit’ button in order to immediately close the app.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Use a Shortcut on the Keyboard

For anyone who prefers to use a simple, basic shortcut on the keyboard in order to force-quit a program, it’s a very straightforward process.

First, choose which application is unresponsive and then bring it to the forefront. Do this by simply right-clicking on the target app icon shown in the Dock and then choosing ‘Show/Show All/Show All Windows’ according to which app isn’t responding.

Once the specific app is showing in the foreground, subsequently hold down the keys ‘Command’ plus ‘Option’ plus ‘Shift’ plus ‘Escape’ for just a few seconds in order to force the app to close.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Using any one of these five methods should solve your problem by instantly closing the unresponsive app on your system so you can get back to work right away.

I keep having the same problems with one app, what should I do?

If you have one app that keeps freezing and you’re forced to quit it often, there could be a number of reasons. First, check that the app is up-to-date with the newest version. If it is, then check that your Mac OS X device is also running the newest version. If you’re running a newer version of an app but an older version of macOS the two may not work well together.

If everything is up-to-date as it should be either check that the app comes from a trusted developer (it likely does on a Mac) then try reinstalling it. If you’re still experiencing issues you may want to reach out for further support from the App’s developers or Apple.

What is the keyboard shortcut to force quit an app?

Mac’s version of CTRL-Alt-Delete is “command+option+esc” which will access a pop-up menu of apps running. If the app you’re having trouble with is already on your screen, this shortcut will take you directly to the app.

Does the “Force Quit” affect the application?

The answer depends on the app and what you’re doing with it. If the app is in the middle of an update it may cause some problems where you just need to uninstall then reinstall it.

If you’re working on the app and haven’t saved your progress it is likely that you will lose all of your progress.

My entire screen is frozen, what can I do?

If the app you’re struggling with is inaccessible because your entire computer is frozen you can do a force restart on your Mac. To do this you can either hold down the power button and wait for it to turn off. Then, wait for 30-seconds to turn it back on. It should resolve the issue.

Or, you can use the command+control buttons while holding the power button. Wait for a moment after it’s completely powered down then hold the power button to bring your system back to life.

Ok, I get it. There is no equivalent to the PC’s Ctrl+Alt+Del shortcut on a Mac® to force quit an application. So how do I quit that annoying program that’s not responding?

Luckily, Apple® has you covered and gives you multiple options. The shortcut actually exists, and moreover, there are a few other extremely convenient ways to fight buggy apps. Today I’m going to list three easy ways to force-quit an application on a Mac, without harming the system.

Is it Safe to Force Quit?

Forcing a frozen application to quit is the same as killing the symptoms when we get sick versus curing the virus. We need to see the bigger picture and understand what causes the problem and how to cure it while understanding how to avoid it from happening again.

The number one reason we have a problem with frozen applications in a Mac is insufficient RAM—or, in other words, a lack of computer memory to operate the system compared to the number of applications you usually open (including those numerous open tabs in a browser). So anytime your system utilizes all of its existing resourses to run the task, it becomes unresponsive. Think of RAM like a physical workbench. The more space (memory) you have to work, the more projects you can have out to work on. Less space? Less ability to work on multiple things at once.

Forcing Mac to quit the application does resolve the problem but may have downsides. When you close an application in the traditional manner, it will clean everything it runs in the background and alert you to save the work. When you force close on Mac, you may end up losing files and data, or mess things up on the drive. Although the effect will only be related to that one particular application that got stuck, sometimes it can hurt.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Using a smart app like Parallels Toolbox can help you to free up unused memory on the fly and prevent the applications from getting frozen over and over again. The package includes over 30+ useful apps for everyday needs that any Mac user will benefit from, including downloading videos and music from sites like YouTube, taking screenshot or record videos, optimize your Mac performance, free up extra space and so much more.

You can download Toolbox and try it out for free here (no registration needed).

1. Force Quit Using the Apple Menu

The most conventional and effective way to close frozen programs is to go to the macOS® menu bar, located along the top of the screen in the Finder menu.

To force quit an application, simply do the following:

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

  1. Click on the black apple icon in the upper-left corner.
  2. From the drop-down menu, select “Force Quit…”. You will be directed to the new window named “Force Quit Application” where all the magic happens.
  3. Now all you have to do is select the application you want to close and choose “Force Quit.”

If you don’t know which application is stuck, pay attention to the ones that have the note “Not Responding.” This usually appears next to frozen applications.

2. Force Quit with Mac Shortcut

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

To do the same thing but faster, use Mac shortcut keys to close frozen applications.

  1. On your keyboard, press and hold Command + Option + Esc. It will immediately bring up a “Force Quit Application” window.
  2. Select the frozen application from the dialogue box and select “Force Quit.”

This could be your go-to method if the mouse or trackpad is lagging.

3. Close Application from Activity Monitor (Ctrl+Alt+Del Alternative)

Here’s the pinnacle of this article.

Very few Apple owners know that macOS provides an almost identical alternative to the traditional PC Control+Alt+Delete shortcut—and does it better. Yes, we all know that in Windows that keyboard shortcut is often used to open the Task Manager window. (To be honest, it’s needed too often, which is why we’re on a Mac.) From Task Manager, you can track applications, services, performance, and processes, and kill some of them when they’re unresponsive.

You can easily do all of that and more on the macOS native application called Activity Monitor.

To kill an application using Activity Monitor, do the following.

1. On your keyboard, press Command + Space, or click on Spotlight in the top-right corner of the screen.

2. In the “Spotlight Search” window, start typing “Activity Monitor.”

3. Once Activity Monitor is highlighted, hit Enter.

4. In the Activity Monitor processes list, select the application you want to quit and click “Force a process to quit” in the left corner.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

What to Do If Force Quit Isn’t Working?

If all the applications stop responding and you can’t quit them using one of the methods described above, you can force your Mac to restart. To do so, press and hold the Control+Command+Power buttons.

Alternatively, you can force Mac to shut down by pressing and holding the power button, or use one of the many other shortcuts.

What’s the Solution?

Since your Mac doesn’t have enough space to run all those applications you need, the most obvious step would be to increase the RAM. If you own an iMac® or the older generation of MacBook Pro®, you can simply buy memory and upgrade your existing computer. With the new Mac generation, you don’t have that option anymore because the RAM is glued and soldered to the motherboard. You either buy a new computer or struggle.

Alternatively, you can clean your memory to free up space using Parallels® Toolbox. Parallels designed a tool set for macOS and PC users to efficiently manage their computer with just a few clicks—without any professional knowledge needed. Within the application (which is available to try for free), you can easily free up unused computer memory, clean your drive, and help your Mac run at max speed with a dozen other useful utilities.

If you’re interested in learning how easily one click can save precious disk space, check out how much space I took back with the Parallels Toolbox tool Clean Drive:

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

In one click (and about 10 seconds), I successfully removed 4 GB of clutter and reclaimed space on my hard drive.

So there you have it. Take care of your Mac with those quick tips, and remember to always save your work!

Press the power button and it’ll restart and restoring the windows. Press the power button for so long and it’ll sleep. When return it’ll restore the whole windows.

What about if I want true restart or shut down?

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

2 Answers 2

Press and hold the power button for several seconds and your Mac will power completely off. This should only be required in the most extreme circumstances. Normally, you should shut down your Mac by clicking on the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the menu bar and selecting Shut Down. from the drop down menu.

Your applications are resuming when you log back in because you’re telling OS X to restore their state when you shut down.

When you shut down or log out make sure the Reopen windows when logging back in option in the shut down window is UNCHECKED. Like this:

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

This will prevent OS X from saving the state of open applications and restoring them when you log back in.

You should also check your log in settings to make certain you aren’t starting programs as login options. Open System Preferences and click on the ‘Users & Groups’ icon. Find your name in the user list and click on it and then click the Login Items tab. Remove any applications you don’t want to start on login from this list by selecting the application and clicking the – button at the bottom of the table. Like this:

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How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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  1. How To Force A Program Shut Down On A Mac
  2. Command For Program Shutting Down On A Mac

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

The shutdown command is a Command Prompt command that can be used to shut down, restart, log off, or hibernate your own computer. The shutdown command can also be used to remotely shut down or restart a computer you have access to over a network. Hold down Control + Command while pressing the Power button. This is an alternative key combination to force restart a Mac. By the way, if you are on an iMac, the Power button is found on the back of your Mac. Shut down your Mac and reboot while pressing D key. Within the menu that appears, launch the Apple Diagnostics tool. Select the program needing to be closed under the column COMMAND, noting that its name may be shortened. Find the PID – the number to the left of the program’s name and note it down. Type “q” to exit and return to the command line, then type “kill ###”, using the PID in place of the ###.

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Have you ever had a need to shut down your Mac, but, for one reason or another, you couldn’t actually do it? You might be wondering how that could be—consider a situation where you’ve left your work machine on, so you can use Remote Login (in the Sharing System Preferences panel) to login to it later from home. While driving home, your recall that maintenance was going to shut down power to the building this evening—and there’s your Mac, sitting there with 15 open applications, innocently awaiting its impending power failure. You could, of course, turn around and drive back to the office. But assuming you’ve got another machine at home, and have enabled remote login to your work machine, you can just continue on home and shut down your work Mac from there.

If you’ve planned ahead, you’ve enabled remote GUI control by using the Sharing System Preferences panel—see this Mobile Mac column for more detail on how to set that up. Assuming you’ve done all this, then you can just connect to the remote Mac’s GUI, and pick Shut Down from the Apple menu.

But what if you’re not so good at planning, and you’ve only left the machine with Remote Login enabled? Then you’ll want to use the Unix command fittingly named shutdown . This command will shut down the remote Mac, and it has a number of useful options.

Here’s how it works. First, you must connect to the remote Mac, typically via ssh , which is enabled using the Remote Login option of the Sharing System Preferences panel. This also implies that the remote Mac must be reachable through any firewalls that might exist between the two machines. On the machine being used to shut down the remote Mac, you’d type something like ssh -l username 12.34.56.78 , replacing username and 12.34.56.78 with the proper user name and IP address for the remote machine.

Once you’re connected, you need to execute the shutdown command as the root (superuser) user. But before we shut down the machine, let’s look at some of the various forms of shutdown .

  • shutdown -h +10 “Shutting down soon!” : The -h option tells the system to shut down; +10 means in 10 minutes; Shutting down soon! is the message any users who have Terminal open will see.
  • shutdown -h 0612082000 “Shutting down at 8:00pm tonight” : Instead of specifying the relative time until shutdown, you can specify the precise time, using the yymmddhhmm format, and using a 24-hour clock for the time.
  • shutdown -r +15 “Rebooting in 15 minutes” : The -r option reboots, rather than shuts down, the system.
  • shutdown now : Shuts down the system immediately.

man shutdown sudo sudo shutdown now

Very important: Keep in mind that, although this will give you a “clean” shut down (the system will make sure that everything happens in an orderly manner), anything running in the GUI will simply quit—even if you have open documents with unsaved changes. Let me repeat that: unsaved changes in documents open in the GUI will be lost! .

There are other scenarios where this trick is useful, too. One that comes to mind is using it to safely shut down if your display goes kaput. Just remotely login from another Mac and use this command to shut the machine down in a safe manner.

Former Macworld Senior Editor Rob Griffiths founded Mac OS X Hints. He’s now master of ceremonies at Many Tricks Software.

Macintosh computers are considered to be perfect computing machines. Unlike Windows based platforms, these computers are less prone to freezing and unusual stuttering, and also the environment is generally safer for most of the users. Also, malwares don’t typically infect a Mac OS platform like it does on Windows platform. People love the Mac platform for all these reasons combined, but what if the Mac runs into trouble after all?

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Learn how to Force Restart a Frozen MacBook Pro / iMac / Mac

Like any other human-made machines, Apple Macintosh computers aren’t inevitable to errors and crashes. There are easy solutions to these troubles as well, and a force shut down is one of them. If your Mac stopped responding, force shut down the machine and reboot to find out what’s wrong. Or maybe even boot into safe mode. But before any of that, one needs to learn how to actually forcefully shut a Macintosh down, and force reboot it.

Use the Power Button to Force Reboot your Mac

The power button is the ultimate tool in a Macintosh that could be used to force shut down and force reboot a Mac. All the Macintosh computers available in the market comes with a physical power button, and it could be pressed down at any circumstances. Force reboot means powering down a Macbook against the operating system’s will, and this would require the power button.

How to Force Reboot a Macbook Air or Macbook Pro

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

The power button in these two models are located on the top right corner of the keyboard, marked with the regular power button symbol. Find the button, press and hold it down for a long time. Usually 5 seconds would do the job. Once the Mac powers down the screen will go blank, and so should all the lights on it. After a few seconds, press the power button on your Mac again to turn it back on.

How to Force Restart Older Macbooks with Superdrive

Although the structure is slightly different, that does not make any significant change in the power circuitry of the Macbook. A user needs to press the power button for 5 seconds to turn the computer off, and hit the button again to complete the force rebooting process.

How to Force Rebook iMac, Mac Mini and Mac Pro

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

These are desktop iterations of Apple’s Macintosh computer series, and unlike the Macbooks the power button is typically located on the rear panel. To force reboot a Mac listed here, the user needs to reach the back and find the physical power button. Typically in an iMac, the power button is located at the bottom left corner, rear panel of the monitor. The power buttons in Mac Mini and Mac Pro are quite visible.

Make sure the Mac has power connection. Keep the power button held down for 5 minutes and your Mac should go through the force reboot sequence.

Conclusion: A Macintosh computer might freeze for a set of reasons, serious or non-serious. Whatever it is, the computer should get back to its normal state after a forced reboot. If it does not, maybe it’s time you visit an Apple service center.

Wondering why your MacBook won’t shut down? Looking for a way to turn off your Mac when it’s not responding? We look at various ways you can force your Mac to shut down.

By Lucy Hattersley, Contributor | 12 Jun 19

Contents

  • >How to turn off a Mac
  • >Give your Mac a little more time
  • >Close all apps before shutting down
  • >What to do if your Mac is frozen
  • >How to fix a Mac that won’t shut down

Help! My Mac won’t shut down. How do I turn off a Mac, and what happens if my Mac won’t shut down properly?

It should be easy to turn off and shut down your Mac.

At least that’s the theory. In truth switching off a Mac can sometimes be a real pain. In this feature we look at how to switch off a Mac, and what to do if your Mac doesn’t shut down properly.

How to turn off a Mac

It’s normally easy to turn off a Mac. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left of your screen. Select Shut Down.
  2. You will see an alert warning that your Mac will shut down, with a clock counting down from 1 minute.
  3. You can skip the countdown if you hold down the Command key while choosing Shut Down.
  4. You may see warnings that suggest you should save things you have been working on in your various apps.
  5. Once all the apps are closed, your Mac should shut down.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

However, as we said, sometimes this doesn’t work so smoothly. We’ll look at some of the reasons for this below.

Give your Mac a little more time

If your Mac isn’t shutting down the first thing to do is give it a bit of time. Sometimes shutting down can be a long process as macOS sorts through its open files and attempts to close all the programs. This is especially true if you have a lot of programs and documents open.

All of this shouldn’t really take longer than a minute, but time goes slowly when you’re staring at a screen waiting for something to happen.

Select Apple > Shut Down and leave the Mac alone for five minutes. Go make a cup of tea while macOS does its thing.

Close all apps before shutting down

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

The Mac operating system needs to close all apps before it can shut down. Problems in the Shut Down process are sometimes caused by apps that fail to close. This is often because the app has an unsaved document in it. But it could also be because the application has crashed or frozen.

To find out if there is a problem with one of your apps we suggest you do the following:

  1. Check the Dock for bouncing app alerts. This will indicate that something in that app needs your attention.
  2. If you need to save a file, choose Save from the Alert Window for each document. Note that if you choose Cancel it will stop the Shut Down process.
  3. If there is another reason why an app won’t shut down you might have success if you Force Quit it – this could result in lost data (when this happens to us we often screen shot what’s on the screen so that we have something to help us recreate what we were working on). You can read about how to Force Quit an app here. (One way is to right click on the icon in the Dock and choose Force Quit).

Once all your apps are closed you should be able to shut down your Mac without any issues. However, if you are still having problems with it, read on.

What to do if your Mac is frozen

Sometimes your Mac won’t shutdown because it has frozen. If you think that might have happened, try to move the cursor around and if it doesn’t move your Mac may have frozen.

Obviously this is going to make choosing Apple > Shut Down from the menu problematic.

There are a couple of ways you can shut down your Mac if this is the case:

  • Press and hold the Power button for a few seconds, you should then see the dialog box asking if you want to sleep, restart or shut down.
  • To shut down instantly, and not see the dialog box press Control at the same time as the power button (or Eject + Power button if you have an Eject key). This will force your Mac to restart.

If your Mac still doesn’t shut down you may have to force it to switch off.

  1. Press and hold the Power button on your Mac until the screen goes black and the power light goes off. You may hear a wiring sound and a click.
  2. Leave the Mac for around 30 seconds before pressing the Power button again to switch it back on.

It’s best not to get into the habit of shutting your Mac down this way because macOS will work better if it gets to shut down properly (allowing it to clean up and store code properly). If your Mac is routinely refusing to shut down, and you’re not leaving apps and documents unsaved, then you should look at what is causing the problem rather than relying on pressing and holding the power button.

How to fix a Mac that won’t shut down

There’s no simple answer to fix a Mac that has problems shutting down. It could be caused by a variety of different problems. Here are some troubleshoooting steps that we advise you to try. Go through each one at a time and see if it solves the problem:

  1. Try to determine if one particular app is causing the problem. If one app always freezes when you shut down, and cancels the shut down process then update it (or re-install it).
  2. Find out if there is a peripheral causing problems. Unplug your mouse and keyboard and anything else that’s plugged into your Mac.
  3. Perform a software update (open App Store and click Updates > Update All).
  4. Update any software that you installed outside of the App Store. Typically open the App and choose Help > Update or App > Update Software.
  5. Check that you have FileVault turned off (System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault > Turn Off FileVault).
  6. Open Disk Utility. Choose the main hard drive and click Verify Disk. If there are any problems click Repair Disk. Read about using Disk Utility here.
  7. Choose the main volume in Disk Utility (underneath your main drive) and choose Verify Disk Permissions > Repair Disk Permissions.
  8. Reset the SMC. Follow this reset SMC tutorial.
  9. Back up your Mac and reinstall macOS.

Let us know in the comments if you have encountered any shut down problems and the steps you took to resolve it.

Once you have shut down your Mac it’s a good idea to run some checks to find out what was causing the problem. It could be a faulty peripheral, buggy software, or something could be wrong with your Mac’s hardware or software. There’s lots of advice here: How to fix a Mac, see also: How to fix a Mac that won’t turn on.

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence. Learn more.

Hi, I recently made the switch from Avast to AVG on my Mac and have been having trouble with the program. My preferred use of Antivirus (while not recommended, I know) is to keep it disabled and only use it to scan when I want to at my convenience. I had no problems with Avast, I disabled it and only reenabled/updated the virus registry when needed, but AVG is different. Yes, I can disable AVG protections, but even when I quit the application, AVG is still running in the background doing whatever, updating me every day that it updated the virus registry. I want this to STOP.

I have tried force quitting the process but initially saw forcequit wouldn’t do anything. So I opened up terminal and use sudo to Kill the exact PID of the AVG process, but that doesn’t work either. In fact, it seems that as soon as AVG is forced to quit it instantly turns back on under a different PID. There is absolutely no way I can kill it permanantly that I’ve been able to find. Hopefully there is someone here that can help, if not I’m going back to Avast.

  • April 1, 2018
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Sorry for the delay, Gerald.

We appreciate your efforts, but unfortunately, we do not have option to disable it completely. However, we have taken this as a feedback and escalated to our developer’s team as a feature request.

While shutting off a Mac by pressing the power button is not recommended, it may sometimes be needed.

It is always preferred to shut a Mac down or restart it by using the options in the Apple menu. This allows services to be stopped, settings and documents to be saved, and hardware to be cleanly unmounted and put in a state where it’s ready to be shut off. However, there are times when a hard reset may be necessary, which besides obvious kernel panics, includes system freezes and hangs. These are generally characterized by the following behaviors:

Kernel panics: When these happen, the screen darkens and instructs you to press and hold the power button.

System freezes: When this happens, the system will not respond to any input. The mouse cursor will be frozen and the keyboard’s caps lock key light will not change when pressed. On laptop systems the screen may not shut off when the lid is closed.

System hangs: When these happen, the system will likely show a moving cursor (albeit the spinning color wheel) and the keyboard will respond, but the system will not accept any inputs or key commands and will stay like this for minutes on end.

In the case of system hangs, many times the problem will eventually clear itself if you are patient. These will more often happen if the system has run out of RAM; then the system may slow to a crawl while it manages active system processes and applications through virtual memory.

The best way to clear this situation is to click one application in the Dock and wait for it to come into focus (which may take minutes). Then press Command-Q to quit it and wait for the system to accept that command and close the application (which may take another few minutes). Repeat this with other applications until the slowness clears itself, and then go buy more RAM, limit the number of applications you open, or limit the number and size of the documents you open with those applications.

If a hang will not clear even after waiting and quitting applications, or if the system has frozen or is in a kernel panic, then performing a hard reset may be your only option.

There are two ways to perform a hard reset. The first is to press and hold the power button for the system for about 5-10 seconds. The second method is to unplug the power sources for the computer (which can include batteries for laptop systems with removable ones). In rare cases the system may not shut down when you press and hold the power button, which indicates that the system management controller (SMC) has likely hung or crashed along with the OS. In this case you will need to unplug the power from the system to shut it down.

When the system is hard-reset, the system management controller will capture and save a shutdown state code that will indicate the source of the power loss. This will be be read by the kernel the next time the system is powered up, and will be recorded in the system logs in a manner similar to the following (in this case the shutdown code was “5”):

Jan 13 19:38:00 localhost DirectoryService[35]: Improper shutdown detected
Jan 13 19:38:00 localhost kernel: systemShutdown false
Jan 13 19:38:00 localhost kernel: Previous Shutdown cause: 5

This differs from the logs of a normal shutdown, which look like the following:

Jan 13 19:38:00 Tophers-Desktop shutdown[1490]: reboot by tkessler:
Jan 13 19:38:00 Tophers-Desktop shutdown[1490]: SHUTDOWN_TIME: 1294976280 976464
Jan 13 19:38:00 Tophers-Desktop com.apple.loginwindow[70]: Shutdown NOW!
Jan 13 19:38:00 Tophers-Desktop com.apple.loginwindow[70]: System shutdown time has arrived^G^G
Jan 13 19:39:09 Tophers-Desktop InternetSharing[37]: DNS server (named) exited, shutting down
Jan 13 19:39:09 Tophers-Desktop InternetSharing[37]: Internet Sharing shutting down

After a hard reset, the system will not perform any automatic diagnostics such as checking the file system for inconsistencies, so you might consider taking the initiative to perform these checks yourself the next time you turn on the system. One easy way to do this is to immediately boot into Safe Mode by holding the Shift key during the next start-up, which will run a drive verification and repair in addition to other maintenance tasks. When the system finally boots, log in and run Disk Utility’s drive verification to check the hard drive for errors an additional time, and if there are no problems, then restart normally.

While you should always be cautious about performing hard resets, you should be especially cautious about performing one when the hard drive is working. Drives are built with safeguards that help prevent physical damage during a power loss, but there is always an increased possibility for damage when a power loss occurs, especially when the drive is writing. Additionally, while file system journaling should prevent data corruption during a sudden power loss, the possibility still exists.

Some situations where the drive will be actively working include when the system is experiencing a slowdown because of low memory and is writing to and reading from virtual memory. In addition, when applications are launching or when the system is starting up or shutting down, the hard drive will be active.

To help avoid cutting the power when the drive is working, press your ear to the system and listen for any drive chattering noises. If it is working, then consider giving the system more time to recover from the hang. However, if you need to shut down the system, then try to wait for a time when the drive is silent and not making any chattering sounds.

Lastly, one reason why the system may hang is if the hard drive is going bad. Healthy drive chatter is usually a random grinding sound. If the drive is making any regular patterns of clicking, clunking, or ticking noises, then it could be going bad and be the root cause for the system slowdowns and hangs. In this case, cutting the power will be needed and can be done without first monitoring the drive for a break-in activity.

Questions? Comments? Have a fix? Post them below or e-mail us!
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Turning off your Mac shouldn’t be a problem at all. I mean all you need to do is shut it down, right? However, things aren’t really as ideal as that; it can actually be quite painful to actually shut down a Mac. Here, we will take a look at some of the ways to get your Mac to shut down properly.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

How to Shut Down a Mac

Turning off a Mac is a pretty simple process, all you need to do is to follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Apple logo that should be easily visible on the top left of the screen and select the Shut Down option.
  2. A warning should appear confirming that the Mac will shut down as well as a clock counting down from one minute.
  3. It is possible to skip this countdown simply by holding down the Command button whilst selecting to Shut Down.
  4. It is also possible that you see warnings saying that you should first save anything you have been working on from different apps.
  5. After all apps have been closed, the Mac should shut down.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

That is what should happen normally, but since these are computers there is always something or the other than can go wrong and can hamper this simple process of shutting down.

Giving your Mac Some More Time to Shut Down

The first thing to remember when in such a problem is to be patient. Give your Mac some time to be able to shut down properly since it is entirely possible that there are extra processes behind it being able to shut down. Shutting down can often be a long and complicated process where the Mac OS has to go through numerous open files and close all open programs. If you try to shut down with lots of programs and other stuff open you should expect shutting down to take some time.

A good benchmark to set for waiting is a minute or two. Keep in mind time will actually pass much more slowly when you are sitting there waiting for the Mac to shut down so it’s better to get up and go do something else for a change while the Mac shuts itself down. Select Apple -> Shut Down and leave the Mac be while you go watch some TV or make a phone call.

Close All Running Apps Before Turning it Off

As already mentioned, the Mac OS has to close all apps before it can shut down and if you keep apps open and decide to Shut Down the whole process will obviously take much longer. In case an app has an unsaved document or if it is crashed or frozen, the time taken to Shut Down can increase even further.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

To check if there is a problem with one of your apps just try the following:

  • Check the Dock for bouncing app alerts, these will show if there is any app which requires your attention.
  • In case you need to save a pending file, simply choose Save from the Alert Window for each and every file. In case you select Cancel, the Shut Down process will be halted.
  • If nothing else works here you may need to just Force Quit the app which can result in lost data but it will get the job done.

Once all apps have been closed the Mac should shut down.

In Case of a Frozen Mac

If your Mac still doesn’t shut down because it is frozen, there are steps you can take here too. To tell if the Mac is frozen just move your cursor around, if it doesn’t move then the Mac is frozen. Obviously, since now it isn’t possible to shut down your Mac in a conventional manner there are a few other techniques to use.

  1. Press and hold the Power button for 1.5 seconds, a dialogue box will appear asking if you want to Sleep, Restart or Shut Down.
  2. To Shut Down just immediately hit Ctrl + Power Button (or Eject + Power Button) which will cause the Mac to Restart.
  3. In case the Mac still doesn’t shut down it is time to try to force it to switch it off: Press and hold the Power Button till the screen blacks out and the power light stops glowing. There should also be a wiring sound followed by a click.
  4. Let the Mac be in this state for around 30 seconds and then press the Power Button again to switch it on.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Keep in mind that this isn’t a great way to get your Mac to shut down since the OS works much better if shut down properly, since that lets it store code and clean up as it was meant to. However, if the Mac doesn’t shut down as its supposed to on a regular basis it’s better to look into what is causing this problem and getting it fixed instead of making this a habit.

Your Mac Won’t Shut Down Again? Here are Some other Fixes:

There can be many reasons behind a Mac not shutting down properly as it is supposed to. We have compiled some troubleshooters that can be used to counter this issue:

  • Find out if one app in particular is causing problems. A good way to do this is to see if there is any app that always freezes when shutting down your Mac. To solve the issue try to update it or re-install it.
  • Carry out a software update from the App Store. Go to Updates -> Update All.
  • Update any software that has been installed from sources other than the App Store. Usually, this can be easily done by opening the App and going to Help -> Update or alternatively going to App -> Update Software.
  • Also, check that the FileVault is turned off. This can be done by going to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> FileVault -> Turn Off FileVault.
  • Launch Disk Utility and select the main hard drive and select Verify Disk. In case there are any issues just click on Repair Disk.
  • Select the main volume in Disk Utility and select Verify Disk Permissions -> Repair Disk Permissions.
  • Try resetting the SMC and if that doesn’t work back up your Mac and reinstall the Mac OS.

Let us know in case you have any additional tips or tricks to solve the issue of a Mac not Shutting Down!

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

You may receive an error message when attempting to shut down your Mac OS X machine because Mac Mail is still running in the background. Even though you quit Mac Mail, it is still running as a process. Perform the following steps.

“Mail” interrupted shut down.

To continue shutting down, quit “Mail”.

  1. Go to  -> Force Quit…

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

  1. Select Mail and click Force Quit.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

  1. Other applications should close themselves and your Mac OS X machine should shut down.

Review Why Mac OS X Mail did not Quit

The next time you power on your Mac, check is there is anything revealing in the system logs.

  1. Open Console in Applications -> Utilities
  1. Go to /var/log folder in left pain. Search for that days system.log file.0.gz and then filter for mail events pictured below.
  1. In this example, Mac Mail seems to have stalled quitting due to the following events.
  1. Perform Mac Mail maintenance and rebuild your mailboxes.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

It’s not uncommon for an application to stop responding on Windows 10. When it happens, you can force the app to shut down, effectively unfreezing said application. Here’s how to force quit an app on Windows 10.

Try a Keyboard Shortcut

It’s frustrating when an app you’re using suddenly freezes. We’ve all done it—exasperatingly clicking the “X” button at least 20 times to close the frozen program. There’s a better way.

With the frozen application in focus, press Alt+F4 on your keyboard to close it. If the Windows desktop is in focus instead, you’ll see a “Shut Down Windows” prompt instead.

This won’t always work—some frozen applications just won’t respond.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

Force Quit Using Task Manager

As the name implies, Task Manager is a tool that shows which apps are currently running (as well as other information like resource usage and process stats) and allows you to manage them appropriately.

To open Task Manager, you can press Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard or right-click the Windows task bar and select “Task Manager” from the menu.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

With Task Manager open, select the task you want to force quit, and then select “End Task.”

If you don’t see the name of the app in the list here, click “More Details” and find it in the list on the Processes tab.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

The frozen program will now close.

Force Quit an App Using Command Prompt

You can find and force quit tasks from the Command Prompt. Open Command Prompt by typing “cmd” in the Windows search bar, and then selecting the “Command Prompt” app from the search results.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

In Command Prompt, type tasklist and press “Enter.” Once executed, Command Prompt will display a list of currently running programs, services, and tasks.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

The list can admittedly be a bit overwhelming, so just remember to append .exe to the end of the program name. Once you’re ready to force quit the program, execute this command:

So, if I wanted to force quit Notepad, I’d run this command:

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

A success message will be returned, letting you know you’ve successfully force quit the problematic application.

Of course, you can always reboot or shut down your PC to close an app that’s really stuck.