Although it is not a common occurrance, sometimes my cursor has a continuing spinning beach ball, which I believe to indicate that an app has frozen (correct me if i'm wrong). When this happens I usually perform an action called Force Quit as shown in the screenshot below:

enter image description here

This then displays the Force Quit application window, allowing an app to be selected.

What other ways exist that allow for an application to be Force Quit, especially in the case that the mouse or trackpad may also becomes frozen in the event as well ?

3 Answers 3


There are many ways to force quit an OS X application:

  • Press and hold Command-Option-Shift-Escape for a few seconds. This will force quit the active application.
  • Press Command-Option-Escape to bring up the Force Quit window, where you can select the application you want to force quit.
  • Option + Right click on the Dock icon of the application and select Force Quit.
  • Click on the Force Quit menu option in the Apple menu to open the Force Quit dialog.
  • Hold shift and click on the Force Quit menu option in the Apple menu to force quit the active application
  • Use the Activity Monitor to force quit applications
  • Use the terminal to kill the process: killall safari will kill all Safari processes.

Source: OSXDaily

  • An important variant on the last bullet is using SSH from a second computer to kill a process. Very handy when your Mac is still operating but nothing's showing on the screen, e.g. when Dock crashes on wake up.
    – duozmo
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 20:59
  • 1
    killall is case sensitive. It should be killall Safari or killall -v Safari to see which processes get killed.
    – CyberSkull
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 20:31

I see three other solutions :

  1. Right click on the icon on the dock with option key pressed. (Works only with UI Application)
  2. Activity monitor and right click
  3. killall/kill command in the terminal

The first two require the mouse/trackpad, but the third can be done with the keyboard only (spotlight to open the terminal).

  1. Type Option-Command-Esc (this is the same method you mentioned about but with keyboard shortcut)
  2. Option-Right Click application icon in Dock and choose "Force Quit"
  3. Launch Terminal and:

    • type killall -9 application-name (e.g. killall -9 TextEdit)


  • type ps axc; you will get a long process list in the form:


6656 ?? S 0:22.89 TextEdit


In process list find an application you want to kill. And type:

kill -9 PID

Where PID (process ID) is the number on the left. E.g. to kill above TextEdit process you would type:

kill -9 6656

Remember that you are dealing with processes and every application can run one or more process, so sometimes more than one process should be killed to completely remove running application from the system.

Also be careful, because there is no additional warning message - be sure you are killing the right application.

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