Are you seeing the infamous spinning beachball of death? Has an application become unresponsive and needs to be closed? There could be too many processes running at once, or you have not one but two or three problematic apps that are putting too much pressure on your hardware. Luckily there is a very simple way to force-quit all apps, and in fact we can even show you how to quit apps in six different ways.
The Difference Between Quit and Force Quit
Force Quit is usually used to close an app that has stopped responding completely and prevents quitting the app normally. To quit (close) the app, you simply need to press Command + Q to choose Quit from the app's menu in the menu bar. A normal closure of the app will display a prompt (if needed) to save any changes you have made and will quit only after answering this prompt. That option disappears when you force the app to quit, similar to choosing “End Task” in the Control Panel after pressing Control + Alt + Delete on a PC.
Six Ways to Quit an App in Any Version of macOS
- Use a keyboard shortcut: hit Command + Option + Escape to bring up the “Force Quit Applications” window, and select the faulty app.
- An advanced version of the key combination without bringing up the aforementioned window: hit Command + Option + Shift + Escape. You might need to hold down those keys for a second or two.
- Use the Option + Right Click trick on the targeted app's dock icon to bring up the “Force Quit” option, and select it to kill the app.
- From the Apple menu: hold down the Shift key while clicking on the Apple menu, and you'll see “Force Quit [application name] in the drop down menu. This isn’t the most effective method, however, as unresponsive apps may have inaccessible menus.
- Use Activity Monitor: if you keep an eye on your Mac's resource hog, Activity Monitor is the best tool to spot unresponsive apps and quit them. Launch Activity Monitor if you haven't already done so and, in the CPU tab, select the process that is using most of the processor's resources and click the “Quit Process” button.
- Use Terminal: this may be the preferred method for advanced Mac users, but it's easy to get used to once you have got the taste for working with Terminal. If you have tried all the above without success, you can always turn to Terminal and type the following command:
Some Mac optimization apps such as CleanMyMac include a handy system monitoring features. Since it keeps an eye on your system, CleanMyMac notifies the user if it spots an unresponsive app and offers to quit it via the notifications window.
How to Quit All Open Apps at Once
macOS includes a very handy feature called Automator, which is used in this trick to close all running applications. And it can also be tweaked by adding exceptions.
- Launch Automator by typing its name into Spotlight, and hit return when you see it in the search suggestions.
- Hit Command + N to initiate a new action.
- Choose to create a new “Application”.
- In the search box, type “quit”, then drag and drop the “Quit all applications” into the right side of the app window.
- Hit “Save”, and name it something like “Quit All Open Apps”.
With this you have created a new app with a single purpose: to quit all apps. The best part of all is that you can fine tune it by adding exceptions. In our example, the exception was Spotify. Isn't that fun?
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