How to force quit on Mac: End task on macOS

Joel Loynds
force quit on mac

Locked into a crashed Mac program and desperate to break free? Don’t worry – the Mac’s ‘Force Quit’ feature is your handy escape to kill off any unwanted apps. 

One of the most common issues of macOS is that sometimes, programs crash, and you feel stuck with no exit in sight. We all know how frustrating the spinning wheel of doom can be. But there is a silver lining – macOS, with its UNIX framework that’s a close cousin to Linux, has a built-in kill switch.

Forget Windows‘ Task Manager,  Force Quit on macOS is the real deal. It doesn’t just let the program hang around, it shuts down the program completely and quickly.

Caught in a full-screen program and need an instant escape? If the top taskbar with the iconic Apple logo is out of reach, a keyboard combo has your back. Hitting Command, Option, and Escape will bring up the Force Quit window over anything else you’ve got going on your screen.

From here, it’s a piece of cake. Click on the Apple logo on the top bar, then choose ‘Force Quit’ from the drop-down. Select the offending program, hit Force Quit, and watch macOS shut it down instantly.

Sure, programs might linger for a few seconds, but they’ll soon vanish just as swiftly as they crashed.

Force Quit via Terminal on macOS

To quit a program in Terminal, if all else has failed, follow these steps:

  • Space+CMD to bring up quick search and type in Terminal
  • Once loaded, type in ps -ax to bring up all the running processes
  • Find the correct PID number on the side and then type in kill [PID NUMBER]

This will then kill the process and you should be free of its curse.

If you’re in a pickle and really cannot get something to quit, you can just power down the machine by hitting the power button. For those on a laptop that has Touch ID, you just need to hold this down like a power button for 10 seconds.

Be sure to check out our other tech guides.

About The Author

E-Commerce Editor. You can get in touch with him over email: He's written extensively about video games and tech for over a decade for various sites. Previously seen on Scan, WePC, PCGuide, Eurogamer, Digital Foundry and A deep love for old tech, bad games and even jankier MTG decks.