Force Restart Mac – How To Guide

force restart mac

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In an ideal world, our Macs would work perfectly and never need our intervention to forcefully reboot it when an app or program freezes, or the entire device freezes. 

Force restarting your Mac should always be a last resort as if you do it often it can affect the general operations of your device and also cause issues to the battery.


Other Solutions

Before we show you how to force restart your device let’s take a look at some other solutions you could try to avoid going to extremes.

Mac OS X has a built-in feature called Force Quit that allows you to quit applications without having to log out or shut down your computer. This can come in handy when you want to close an application that won’t respond to other methods.



To Force Quit A Frozen Application

To Force Quit a frozen application or program on your Mac follow the steps below:

    1. Hold down the Option (⌥) key
    2. Right-click the icon of the frozen app in the Dock at the bottom of your device’s screen
    3. A menu will pop up and you will select Force Quit
    4. This will Force Quit the app.
    5. After a few moments, you should be able to reopen the app, if necessary, and it should be working perfectly once again

Force quitting an application is a great way to get rid of a stubborn program that refuses to exit, but sometimes, even after you’ve tried to force quit an application, it continues to run in the background.

In this case, you will have to restart your Mac to kill it completely.



If The Operating System (OS) Is Frozen

If the operating system (OS) is frozen but the mouse cursor is still responding you can restart the device without needing to force restart your Mac.

This is better for the device. To do this follow the instructions below:

    1. Click the Apple symbol in the top left corner of the device’s screen
    2. A drop-down menu will appear, you will scroll down and select Restart
    3. If this does not work, hold down the Control (Ctrl) key on the device’s keyboard and press the power button at the same time.
    4. A system shutdown dialog should appear, select Restart from the available options

How To Force Restart Your Mac

If you do not achieve the desired results with any of the above possible solutions then you will need to force restart your Mac.



Press And Hold Down Keys

Press and hold down both the Command (⌘) and Control (Ctrl) keys on your device’s keyboard while also holding down the power button, which could be the Eject or Touch ID key depending on your Mac models.



The Screen Should Go Blank

The screen should go blank after holding all three keys down for a number of seconds.



Continue To Hold Down The Keys

Continue to hold down the keys until your device restarts, this will show that your Mac has successfully restarted.




If you are holding down the keys for any longer than 30 seconds and the screen does not change you should try to repeat the above steps again to ensure all buttons are being held down correctly.

If you find that you are constantly having to resort to force restarting your device there may be an internal issue with your device.

If you are unsure what the issue is we advise that you consider reaching out to Apple Support or bringing your device to an Apple Store to receive help. 

If you are familiar with Apple devices you can alternatively restart your device in Apple Diagnostic’s mode, this will enable you to find out if the issue you are having is due to a hardware issue.

Kevin is the Editor of PC Guide. He has a broad interest and enthusiasm for consumer electronics, PCs and all things consumer tech - and more than 15 years experience in tech journalism.