Macs aren't infallible, and at some point during your time using them you'll come across a situation in macOS where an app has become unresponsive, leaving you without access to its contents and functions, and only a continually revolving beachball for your troubles.

MacBook Pro 2021 SharePlay Feature
If the beachball stays on the screen for more than a few minutes and you can't interact with the app's interface, this usually indicates the app in question has crashed, which means it's time to force quit it and restart the app to see if you can pick up where you left off in the hope it won't crash again. Read on to learn how.

How to Force Quit An App - Method 1

If the app is acting up, hold down the Option key and right-click its icon in the Dock to reveal a Force Quit action in the popup menu.

force quit

How to Force Quit an App - Method 2

There's a second option for quitting an unresponsive app, and it may be one of the more intuitive solutions.

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the menu bar.
  2. Select the "Force Quit" option. force quit mac 1
  3. Click the app that you want to quit. Unresponsive apps will have a "Not Responding" designation next to them.
  4. After selecting the offending app, click on Force Quit to shut it down. force quit mac 2

Alternatively, you can open the Force Quit applications interface by pressing Command + Option + Escape all at once.

How to Force Quit An App - Method 3

You can also force quit misbehaving Mac apps using Activity Monitor. You can find it in the /Applications/Utilities folder.

finder
The main window lists all the apps and processes currently running on your Mac. You'll notice the order jumps around a lot. That's because you're seeing the list being updated every five seconds to show changes in individual app usage statistics.

  1. Under the Process Name list, select the app or process you want to quit. To make finding the culprit easier, click Process Name in the column header to sort them alphabetically, or use the Search field in the top-right corner of the window to find the app or process. Note that an unresponsive process is labelled with (Not Responding).
    how to force quit apps using activity monitor 1

  2. Make sure the app or process is highlighted, then click the Quit (X) button in the top-left corner of the Activity Monitor window.

  3. Select Quit (this is the same as choosing File -> Quit within an app) or Force Quit, which quits the process immediately.
    how to force quit apps using activity monitor 2

Note that if the app or process has files open, force quitting it may cause you to lose data. Also, bear in mind that if the process you force quit is used by other apps or processes, those apps or processes may experience issues.

If your work in the crashed app hasn't been saved recently either manually or automatically, then there's not much you can do to retrieve your work other than check Time Machine.

Related Stories

Universal Control Colored Feature

How to Adjust or Disable Universal Control on Mac

Tuesday March 15, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
As of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3, Apple has introduced support for Universal Control, the long-awaited feature that's designed to allow multiple Macs and iPads to be controlled with a single mouse and keyboard. Thanks to ‌Universal Control‌, you can use the same cursor and keyboard on any nearby Mac or ‌iPad‌ that's signed into your iCloud account. So, for example, if you...
sys prefs displays

How to Use Universal Control and Sidecar Simultaneously in macOS 12.3

Tuesday March 15, 2022 5:06 am PDT by
With the release of macOS 12.3, Macs provide support for two separate features called Sidecar and Universal Control that allow Macs and iPads to be used together, but in different ways. This article explains the difference between them and shows you how to use both features in concert, provided your setup allows for it. Keep reading to learn more. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for ...
multiple copies same app home screen

How to Add the Same App to Multiple Home Screens on Your iPhone

Wednesday March 9, 2022 1:15 pm PST by
In iOS 15, you can put multiple copies of the same app on your iPhone's Home Screen. On the surface, this may seem like a strange thing to allow, and perhaps even a bug, but Apple has intentionally made it possible to have additional copies of an app across several Home Screen pages so that the apps can be used in conjunction with its new Focus features. One of the functions of Focus is that ...
ipad air m1 2

iPad Air 5: How to Hard Reset or Shut Down

Wednesday March 23, 2022 7:22 pm PDT by
Like the iPad Air 4, Apple's fifth-generation iPad Air (2022) features an edge-to-edge display with no Home button included and Touch ID built into the Power button instead. The lack of a Home button means some gestures and features are different to older iPads, such as the restart, shut down, and force restart methods. On iPad Air, a shut down and a restart are the same gesture, while a...
passwords system preferences

macOS 12.3: How to Add Notes to iCloud Keychain Entries

Tuesday February 8, 2022 3:07 pm PST by
In macOS Monterey 12.3, currently in beta, Apple has added the ability for users to add notes to account entries in iCloud Keychain. This article explains how it's done. Slowly but surely with each iteration of macOS, Apple has been improving ‌iCloud‌ Keychain to put it on equal footing with rival third-party password managers such as 1Password. And in macOS 12.3, it continues that...
iphone 13 notch battery percent

How to Show Battery Percentage on iPhone

Monday February 28, 2022 3:18 pm PST by
If you have an iPhone with a notch, you'll have noticed that the battery level indicator in the top-right corner of the screen doesn't show the actual percentage of battery that's left. With older iPhones that feature no notch, Apple includes an option within settings to toggle the percentage on or off, but if your iPhone has a notch, there's no setting that will enable it....
facetime grid view

How to Reduce Background Noise in FaceTime on Mac

Thursday February 17, 2022 3:18 pm PST by
In macOS Monterey, Apple has made its FaceTime video calling platform more appealing with several new features that aim to make it a viable alternative to rival video conferencing apps. One of the new audio features is Voice Isolation mode for your microphone, which separates your voice from any distracting background noise that might be on the call. The feature uses machine learning to...
split view 4

How to Use Split Screen on iPad

Thursday January 27, 2022 5:49 pm PST by
In iPadOS, Apple includes several multitasking options that let you work with more than one app on your iPad at the same time. This allows apps that support multitasking to be used in a few different ways. This article looks at Split View, which makes two apps appear side by side in a split screen arrangement. Be sure to check out our separate Slide Over how-to guide by clicking the link. We've...

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2022 is no different. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
apple watch gold ornaments

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:31 am PST by
We're tracking all of the best Apple product discounts for Black Friday this week, and the Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, so you're guaranteed to find solid discounts right now. In this article, you'll discover the best Black Friday sales on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these...
new airpods lineup black friday

Best Black Friday AirPods Deals Still Available

Tuesday November 22, 2022 10:01 am PST by
Although we've been tracking Black Friday deals for a few weeks now, the shopping holiday is officially kicking off this week and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and AirPods Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Black Friday deals have been in full swing for the better part of a month, and now that the shopping holiday is officially here we're seeing even more solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner ...
mac imac snowflakes

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 1:07 pm PST by
Our Black Friday coverage continues today with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Black Friday is winding down for 2022, but many Apple products are still seeing major discounts. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Blue

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Get Right Now: AirPods, Apple TV, Mac, iPad, and More

Saturday November 19, 2022 8:00 am PST by
Last week was jam-packed with early Black Friday deals, and now that the shopping holiday is right around the corner, we're going back through all of the best sales you might have missed over the past week and updating as prices change and new deals arrive. As with all holiday shopping, there's no guarantee that better prices won't come around later in the season, but if you want to shop early,...
Best Buy November Deals Hero

Best Buy Reveals Black Friday Plans With Sitewide Sales Available Now

Tuesday November 22, 2022 3:49 pm PST by
Following in the footsteps of Target and Walmart, Best Buy this week detailed its plans for the Black Friday shopping holiday and its schedule looks a lot like other retailers. In terms of sales, Best Buy has the expected list of TVs, appliances, video games, computers, streaming devices, and more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a...