How To Control Alt Delete on a Mac

There are alternative keyboard shortcuts to force quit Mac apps

What To Know

  • Use Command+Option+Escape to display the Force Quit Applications window.
  • Use Command+Shift+Option+Escape to close the app immediately.
  • Alternatively, right-click the application’s icon in the Dock, hold the Control key and select Force Quit.

This article provides several ways to force quit an unresponsive application on a Mac, including keyboard shortcuts, the dock icon, the Apple icon, and the Activity Monitor.

Use a Keyboard Shortcut To Force Quit an App

While you can use the Control+Alt+Delete keyboard shortcut to close an unresponsive application on Windows, the key combination is different for that action on a Mac. As you may have already noticed, Macs don't have an Alt key.

Shortcut Method One

The Command+Option+Escape keyboard shortcut is convenient if you have more than one unresponsive app that you need to close.

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Command+Option+Escape to display the Force Quit Applications window.

  2. When the window pops open, select the application, and click Force Quit

    Select the app in the Force Quit Applications window
  3. Confirm the action by clicking Force Quit.

    Click Force Quit to close the selected app

Shortcut Method Two

Alternatively, you can close the app immediately. Make sure the app is active and use the keyboard shortcut Command+Shift+Option+Escape.

This will bypass the Force Quit Applications window and close the active app.

Use the Dock Icon To Force Quit an App

Your open and active apps display in your Dock, which also gives you a quick and easy way to quit an app that’s not responding.

  1. Right-click or hold your Control key and click the icon in the Dock. The context menu will appear with an option to Quit at the bottom. 

    Right-click the app icon in the Dock
  2. Hold your Option key and you’ll see that Quit is replaced with Force Quit, so select it to close the application.

    Press Option and click Force Quit

Use the Apple Icon in the Menu Bar

You can also use your menu bar to force quit an application on your Mac, one of two ways.

Menu Bar Method One

  1. Click the Apple icon on the top left of your menu bar and select Force Quit.

    Click the Apple icon and select Force Quit
  2. When the Force Quit Applications window appears, select the application, and click Force Quit.

    Select the app in the Force Quit Applications window
  3. Confirm the action by clicking Force Quit.

    Click Force Quit

    Like the first keyboard shortcut mentioned above, this is handy when you need to quit more than one app.

Menu Bar Method Two

Alternatively, you can assign the force quit action directly to the selected app and bypass the Force Quit Applications window.

  1. Make sure the application is active and click the Apple icon in your menu bar. 

  2. Hold your Shift key and you’ll see Force Quit replaced with Force Quit Application. Click it to quit the app.

    Click the Apple icon and Force Quit Application

Use the Activity Monitor To Force Quit

One more way to force quit an unresponsive application is with the Activity Monitor. You can access the Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder. 

  1. Click Go > Utilities from the Finder menu bar and double-click Activity Monitor to open it.

    Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder.
  2. Select the app that you want to force closed. You can do this from any of the tabs at the top of the Activity Monitor window.

    Select the app from any tab
  3. Click Stop (X) in the toolbar.

    Press the Stop button in the toolbar.
  4. Confirm that you want to close the application by clicking Force Quit.

    Force Quit in menu will kill the app.
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