I've always wondered why the Finder application on Mac computers are always on and why there's no way to quit out of them. Does anyone have an idea or supposition about why it is? Are there any consequences if the Finder is not always on?


Having Finder closed shouldn't cause any problems.

You can add a Quit Finder ⌘Q command to the Finder menu...

Copy and paste the following command into Terminal, then press enter.

defaults write com.apple.Finder QuitMenuItem 1; killall -HUP Finder

Note: When Finder is closed and an external disk is plugged in it will still be available to applications through the File > Open, File > Save, etc. commands.

Quit Finder Menu

To remove the Quit Finder ⌘Q command from the Finder menu...

Copy and paste the following command into Terminal, then press enter.

defaults delete com.apple.Finder QuitMenuItem; killall -HUP Finder

Finder Menu

One of the nice benefits of having Finder closed, is it hides the clutter of files and folders I have on my Desktop. Sometimes I just don't want to be distracted by what's on my Desktop, so I quit Finder.


Open the Script Editor application and select New Document. Enter the following line

tell application "Finder" to quit

then run the script. The Finder application will quit.

You can also quit the Finder application by entering the following command in a Terminal application window.

osascript -e 'tell application "Finder" to quit'

Nothing special happens if the Finder application is not running.

Sometimes it is useful to quit the Finder application and reopen as the root user. Below is the Terminal application commands for opening as root user. I assume here that you have first quit any previous opened Finder applications.

If using Yosemite (OS X 10.10):

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder 2>&1 | logger &

If using Yosemite (OS X 10.10) or El Capitan (OS X 10.11):

sudo login -f root
/System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder 2>&1 | logger &
  • sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder & doesn't prompt me for password, as it should, and returns the PID of sudo without actually opening Finder's UI. Finder doesn't show in Activity Monitor however it does show in Terminal using ps aux | grep [F]inder and shows it owned by root. That said, what good is opening Finder via sudo if Finder's UI doesn't show. If I then click the Finder Dock Tile the UI shows but the PID is owned by me while the hidden occurrence is still there, till I sudo kill PID when PID is what was returned from the original command. Aug 19 '16 at 3:49
  • @user3439894: I update my answer to include instructions for both Yosemite and El Capitan. Aug 19 '16 at 5:22

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