How to Close a Frozen App on a MacBook?

No software is perfect, and sooner or later, you will experience a frozen app, even on the best and most powerful Macbooks or Windows PCs. A frozen app is a program that does not react to user input, does not refresh its window, and does not want to close itself. In such scenarios, you need to use the “Force-Quit” technique that literally kills the program’s processes, effectively forcing it to shut down. On Windows, you can quit a frozen app using Task Manager. On macOS, things are slightly different, and the operating system has a dedicated tool to close unresponsive applications.

There are many reasons why applications freeze: weak hardware, bugs, poor coding, conflicting processes, outdated software, etc. This article will focus not on why apps freeze but on how to quit misbehaving programs that refuse to operate.

Important. Sometimes, the best option is to wait for a frozen app to respond and get “back to life.” Force-quitting applications can lead to data loss or file damage. Still, if nothing helps, closing am app using the “Force Quit” command is your only option.

Close a Frozen Window on a Mac using the Menu Bar

If you want to close a frozen app on Mac, try clicking the close button in the upper-left corner of the window. If that yields no results, utilize the menu bar to force-quit the program. 

  1. Click the Apple logo in the upper-left corner of the screen and select Force Quit from the menu. close a frozen program on mac
  2. macOS will open a new “Force Quit Applications” window with a list of all running apps. Here you can find the program that does not respond and appears “frozen.” how to close a frozen window on mac
  3. Select the app you want to force-quit and click the “Force Quit” button. 
    Note. If Finder is the app you try to force-quit, macOS will not display the “Force Quit” button. Instead, you will see the “Relaunch” button. Click it to restart frozen Finder in macOS. Windows uses a similar technique in Tak Manager and displays the “Restart” button instead of “End Process.” how to force quit on mac when frozen
  4. Confirm closing a frozen application by clicking the “Force Quit” button again. how to close frozen app on mac

Note that some developers use special software tricks to detect when a user force-quits a program or when it crashes. In such a case, when you open an app next time, you might see a prompt to send a report to developers or share feedback to help improve quality and fix possible bugs. Feel free to reject such prompts or share the telemetry data if you want to help developers make their software better.

Close a Frozen App on Mac Using the Right-click Menu in the Dock

Here is another option for how to close a frozen window on Mac. If an app does not respond to your input and appears completely stuck, right-click its icon in the dock and select the “Force Quit” option. Note that macOS displays a regular “Quit” button for applications that operate in normal mode. The operating system can detect a frozen app and offer you to force-quit it from the right-click menu.

how to close a frozen app on mac

Many macOS users think this method is better than reaching out for the menu bar and opening additional drop-downs.

Shortcut to Force-quit an App on a Mac

macOS has a dedicated keyboard shortcut that allows you to close a frozen app on Mac. It will come in handy if you deal with a full-screen app and you cannot open the right-click menu or reach for the menu bar. When buggy software lets you down and stops working, just press Option + Command + Esc. You can press those buttons consequently or altogether. 

close frozen window mac

Once you press the shortcut, macOS will show the “Force Quit Applications” window. Select the frozen app, click the “Force Quit” button, and confirm closing the program.

You can also force-quit a frozen app on a MacBook without opening the “Force Quit Applications” window. In this case, you need to press Option + Command + Shift + Esc.

frozen program on mac

If Nothing Helps to Force-quit a Frozen Window on a MacBook

Sometimes, bad software takes down the entire system, and any attempt to force-quit the application brings no result. You need to restart your Mac by pressing and holding the power button in such a case. This will result in an abrupt system shutdown, which means you will lose unsaved data.

Cyril Kardashevsky

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