This article shows how to Force Quit the front-most Mac application immediately with a single keyboard shortcut. This little-known keyboard shortcut is the easiest, fastest and best way to force a Mac application to quit. Yes – it works on Lion.
This shortcut works for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The shortcut also works for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion – I’ve tested it! This key combination does not work for Mac OSX 10.4 and earlier, which probably explains why it’s not well known.
What is Force Quit?
The normal ways to quit a Mac application are to choose Quit from the menu named for the application (e.g. Word, Chrome, VLC, Mail) or to press the keyboard shortcut to Quit, which is Command-Q. Force Quit is a Mac feature to force a Mac program to exit when it won’t respond to these normal ways to quit.
Why is Force Quit Useful?
Force quitting a hung application is useful to restart the app in order to be able to use it again. For example, if Mac Mail locks up while retrieving mail, you can terminate it, and start it again.
Force quit is even more useful when a frozen app stops access to the Finder and other applications, so that you can’t use your Mac. In the situation, that Mac seems frozen. Force quitting the hung app can be necessary to be able to use your Mac again.
An unresponsive app can prevent access to the Apple manu, so that knowing the keyboard shortcut to force quit an app is sometimes the only way to be regain control of your Mac.
Warnings for Force Quit
If you force quit an application, you will probably lose any changes you’ve made in that app that you haven’t saved. (With Microsoft Office, you might get an autosave.) Try quitting with the Command-Q key combination first.
What is the Key Combination to Force Quit a Mac App?
This keyboard shortcut will kill the front-most Mac app, which is usually the app you want to stop. If you want to stop an application which is not at the front, see Force Any Mac App to Quit using Only Keyboard Shortcuts.
The keyboard shortcut to force quit the front-most Mac app is to press and hold Command-Option-Shift-Escape until the app exits. There is around a three second delay until the Mac kills the app, to prevent this feature being applied accidentally.
How to Use the Force Quit Keyboard Shortcut, Step by Step
If you’re unused to complex key combinations, here’s how to do it in steps:
- Hold down the Command key.
- Add holding the Option key with another finger on the same hand.
- Add holding the Shift key with another finger on the same hand.
- With these keys held down with one hand, use your other hand hold the Escape (Esc) key until the foreground app exits. This should take about three seconds.
- Release all the keys.
Information sourced from http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3411.
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