I'm trying to find the process that takes care of what applications are open. For example, an app I closed stills shows as open in Dock and Force Quit, so I want to kill/restart that process (which takes care of what processes are open). Logging out would solve it too, but I can't right now. Restarting Dock does not work.

For example, I'm 100% sure I have killed Safari, using kill -9, but it still shows up in the Dock and in Force Quit. The process is definitely killed, but the Dock and Force Quit haven't got that, because the process that lists which applications are open have frozen. I want to know the name of that process.

  • The process keeping track of all processes is the OS kernel. Killing it would cause an immediate reboot.
    – nohillside
    Apr 19, 2017 at 10:16
  • @patrix Ok. Then I guess a reboot is the only solution to this problem. Apr 19, 2017 at 10:17
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    More specifically, the process keeping track of all processes is launchd, which has pid=1 since it is the first process launched by the kernel after mounting the filesystem. As @patrix says, killing this is not generally a good idea...
    – calum_b
    Apr 19, 2017 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


The process which keeps track of all processes is launchd (PID 1) which is the first process launched when the OS starts. There is no standard way of killing it (technically speaking sending the TERM or KILL signal will not kill it), if you could it would immediately lead to a reboot.

If Finder still shows an application running despite it being killed, you can also try killall Finder in Terminal to restart Finder without reboot.

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    I do not think launchd has anything to do with the behavior "stills shows as open in Dock" mentioned by the questioner. It would be a process closer to the GUI layer and that works with Dock, such as WindowServer. (while it ends up logout if we kill WindowServer.)
    – kaorukobo
    Jan 25, 2023 at 1:30
  • @kaorukobo valid point, I‘ve added some details on how to restart Finder in such cases.
    – nohillside
    Jan 25, 2023 at 5:22
  • "Finder still shows an application", ... Finder do not show apps. Just a file manager app. Isn't it Dock?
    – kaorukobo
    Jan 26, 2023 at 5:55
  • @kaorukobo might be both if it still shows in Force Quit as well.
    – nohillside
    Jan 26, 2023 at 6:27

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