Ctrl + Alt + Delete on Windows provides a variety of functions, the main one of interest being the Task Manager. Is there an equivalent keyboard shortcut & indeed Task Manager for carrying out such tasks as quitting an application that maybe "hanging" (amongst other things) for Apple Macs, or indeed anything similar ?

  • 4
    Please describe what specific functionalities you are looking for.
    – Gerry
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 12:26
  • 2
    @Simon Of interest: Bill Gates admits Control-Alt-Delete was a mistake, blames IBM theverge.com/2013/9/26/4772680/…
    – Simon
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 13:31

11 Answers 11


The keyboard shortcut you’re looking for is + + , alternatively known as command + option + escape. This will bring up the Force Quit Applications window (see screenshot below).

Force Quit Window

  • 11
    Is Activity Monitor equivalent or similar to the Windows Task Manager ?
    – Simon
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 11:37
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    @Simon If you want to see in more detail what's going on instead of just force-quitting an app, yes. The force-quit shortcut is much easier to use if you just want to quickly kill a misbehaving application.
    – Mattie
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 12:54
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    I had no idea that ⎋ was Escape -- thanks for clearing this up for me!
    – Gaurav
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 21:12
  • @MathiasBynens what about now? this doesn't seem to be the case in mac Mojave.
    – tatsu
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 8:14

There is no all in one equivalent:

  • The equivalent of the Windows Task Manager is The Activity Monitor app.

  • The equivalent of Close Session or Shut Down are found in the Apple Menu.

  • The equivalent of Change Password is the Users pane of the Configuration app.

  • The equivalent of Lock Computer is "Login Window..." under the User (your user name) menu.

  • 2
    The equivalent of Lock Computer is...?
    – Simon
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 14:02
  • @Simon - I don't know: I don't need it. But if somebody has the answer, feel free to edit my answer or add it as comment.
    – mouviciel
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 14:04
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    For "Lock Computer" see apple.stackexchange.com/questions/64/…
    – nohillside
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 14:12
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    @Simon Added Lock Computer equivalent. You can also set the screen saver to require a password and just activate the screen saver when you leave your desk (I use a hot corner to do this).
    – devios1
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 18:10
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    If you just need to lock your computer quickly, you can press either Control+Shift+Eject or in keyboards without an Eject key you can use Control+Shift+Power
    – OMA
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 10:20

To complete previous answers :

  • The shortcut control-eject brings up the shutdown/reboot confirmation dialog (I use this a lot : you just have to type control-eject then enter to shutdown. Very handy!)
  • Pressing cmd-shift-Q brings up the quit session confirmation dialog.

Alt/Option-Command-Esc to force applications to quit.

For Task Manager style stuff Activity Monitor is it by default and its not key invoked.

You could attach a key combo in preferences to Activity Monitor
Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> App Shortcuts -->

Application: Finder
Menu Title: whatever
Keyboard Shortcut: You key combo.


If you just need to lock your computer quickly, you can press:

Control ⌃+Shift ⇧+Eject

Edit: Unfortunately, one of Apple's OS updates killed the above key combination for no good reason. So the only key combination available now is this less convenient one (if you have a Mac Mini or an iMac you have to press the physical Power button on the computer in addition to the other two keys in the keyboard):

Control ⌃+Shift ⇧+Power ⌽


You can use Activity Monitor and create a global keyboard shortcut to it via BetterTouchTool.


I normally open terminal. Then use top and kill the process.

  • 5
    Two problems with this answer: 1 you're starting a new process which will suck on a bogged down machine. 2 anybody unfamiliar with terminal will need a little more info.
    – Christian
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 1:55

see http://support.apple.com/kb/TA22781?viewlocale=en_US That is the answer to Ctrl + Alt + Delete on a PC.

  • 2
    Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. The idea is to make the answer stand alone.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 22:53

Ctrl + Shift + ESC gives you the task manager. This solved my problem. Credit to: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3718443?start=15&tstart=0




Ctrl + Alt + Delete in Windows is equivalent to Command + fn + delete in Mac OS X

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