I'm a long time windows/Ubutnu user who have recently migrated to Mac OS X and running 10.7.4. One thing which i'm unable to get used to is that while the red button closes a window, the program will remain open until you quit the application using the Menu Bar. One option to bypass it is use the key combination Command+Q but by doing that all the instances of that program opens up the next time I open that application. Is there a way out?

  • Strange enough what all of you have suggested has worked. I HAD that option unchecked(which i think happened automatically when the 10.7.3 was auto-upgraded to 10.7.4 few weeks back. But still for some reason, it was not working. I went to General, clicked the "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps", reboot MBP, went into general and unselect it again. And now it is working what all of you've mentioned..Life is all well again...Thanks everyone! May 23, 2012 at 12:05
  • Welcome to the site. If everything is well, please accept someone's answer. Also, better to make this a comment on your original question than as another answer.
    – Bill Nace
    May 23, 2012 at 12:56

6 Answers 6


You can't close the application by clicking on the red button, as you said it is meant to close the window...

Using cmd-q is not a bypass but the shortcut to close the application. And the windows are not instances of the application, they are in the same instance...

What bothers you is the "resume" functionality that restores the state of an application -- e.g. all open windows -- when you restart it.

Look here or here to see how you can tune or disable this "resume" feature.


What you need is RedQuits. It allows to do exactly what you explained in your post.

I just arrived on Mac OS world two days ago, and I have been pretty confused about this functionality of Mac OS. Fortunately, there is a software to get around of this "issue".

It works nicely on 10.10.4.


It's worth mentioning that the Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines have for a long time defined the behaviour that document-based apps should stay open when the last or only document window is closed; but that apps that aren't document-based (and which are therefore likely to have only one main window) should quit when that window is closed.

MacOS isn't like Windows, where each document window is a separate instance of the application.

MacOS will also manage the memory of background apps with no windows very efficiently, so there's usually no need to 'police' this yourself.


Indeed, there are some applications which will close completly when hitting the red button, while others will just close a window. I'm afraid you can't do nothing about it, as it's a developers choice.

What you can do is disable the Auto-Open, so the Command+Q shortcut will do exactly what you want.

To do so, just go to System Preferences > General and uncheck "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps".

  • It seems that you are having some sort of issue with the Preferences, as unchecking that should do exactly what you want.
    – Thecafremo
    May 23, 2012 at 11:41

To do so, just go to System Preferences > General and uncheck "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps".

This solved my problem!


Do u want to say 'cmd+Q'instead of ctrl-q.

& are u sure about your stmt "When I press all the instances of that program opens up the next time I open that application".

As far as i know, if you quit application it will not open your last opened docs. It will just remain in "Open recent" option from File menu


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