How to Force Shut Down a Mac


This wikiHow teaches you how to force your Mac to shut down. Doing so can be a quick way to turn off your Mac without having to use the mouse, but you'll usually only need to force your Mac to shut down if your Mac freezes or stops working correctly. If you continue to have problems with your Mac after forcing it to shut down, you can try troubleshooting it to fix common issues.

Part 1
Forcing any Mac to Shut Down

Forcing any Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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If you have open programs when you force-quit your Mac, the programs will be forced to close as well, which can cause you to lose unsaved work. In some cases, force-quitting may even corrupt open programs or installers. To be as safe as possible, try to close any open programs before you force your Mac to shut down.

Forcing any Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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Most Macs have a physical button with the "Power" icon that you can press to turn off your Mac:[1] MacBook without Touch Bar — The "Power" key is in the top-right side of the keyboard. MacBook with Touch Bar — The "Power" button is the Touch ID section on the far-right side of the Touch Bar. iMac — You'll find the "Power" button behind the lower-left side of the iMac's screen.

Forcing any Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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Once you've found the "Power" button, press down on it and don't release it for five seconds.

Forcing any Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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At this point, your Mac should be off. If you see a prompt asking you to confirm that you want to turn off your Mac, you didn't hold down the key for long enough.

Forcing any Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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This will allow your Mac to fully power down before you attempt to turn it back on.

Part 2
Forcing a Frozen Mac to Shut Down

Forcing a Frozen Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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If your Mac is so frozen that you can't interact with any on-screen items or even move the cursor, skip the next two steps. If you can still interact with some of the on-screen items, you may want to try force-quitting the program that's causing your Mac to freeze.

Forcing a Frozen Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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If your Mac froze after you opened a specific application, you can try force-quitting the application by doing the following: Press ⌘ Command+⌥ Option+Esc to bring up the Force Quit window. Click the program you want to force-quit. Click Force Quit at the bottom of the window. Click Force Quit if prompted.

Forcing a Frozen Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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If you've determined that you're unable to force-quit the problematic program, try saving any in-progress work in any responsive programs. You can usually do this by pressing ⌘ Command+S while in the program's window. Since forcing your Mac to shut down will also cause all open programs to close, you may lose unsaved work. Many programs, such as those in the Microsoft Office suite, will save a backup of your work that you can restore upon restarting your Mac.

Forcing a Frozen Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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Most Macs have a physical button with the "Power" icon that you can press to turn off your Mac: MacBook without Touch Bar — The "Power" key is in the top-right side of the keyboard. MacBook with Touch Bar — The "Power" button is the Touch ID section on the far-right side of the Touch Bar. iMac — You'll find the "Power" button behind the lower-left side of the iMac's screen.

Forcing a Frozen Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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Once you've found the "Power" button, press down on it and don't release it until the screen turns off.

Forcing a Frozen Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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This signifies that your Mac has turned off. It may take your Mac up to a minute to finish turning off completely, so make sure that your Mac has stopped making noise before you proceed.

Forcing a Frozen Mac to Shut Down on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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Once your Mac has shut down entirely, you can press the "Power" button once to turn back on your Mac. When it finishes restarting, your Mac should be unfrozen. If your Mac is still frozen after restarting, try .

Part 3
Troubleshooting Post-Restart Issues

Troubleshooting Post-Restart Issues on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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If your computer freezes again after a forced shut down, restart it and press ⇧ Shift as soon as it begins to turn back on, then release the ⇧ Shift key when you see the Apple logo. Your computer will start in Safe Mode and attempt to repair issues with your disk.[2] Many applications will not work in Safe Mode. Use it for the next couple steps, then restart to return your computer to normal.

Troubleshooting Post-Restart Issues on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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Safe Mode prevents programs from opening automatically on startup. To prevent a program opening after a normal startup, follow these steps: Open the Apple menu . Click Users & Groups. Select your user account in the left pane. Click the Login Items tab. Select the program causing the issue. Click the - button below the list of programs.

Troubleshooting Post-Restart Issues on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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If you have a specific program that you know is causing your Mac to freeze, uninstalling it (and reinstalling it, if you like) will solve the problem: Open Finder. Click the Applications folder (or click the Go menu and click Applications in the resulting drop-down menu). Find the program that keeps freezing. Drag the program into the Trash.

Troubleshooting Post-Restart Issues on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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If your computer still has issues that don't seem tied to a specific program, follow these steps to repair your disk:[3] Restart your computer and hold down ⌘ Command + R as it starts up. Click Disk Utility on the startup screen. Click Continue. Select your startup disk and click Repair Disk. Wait for this to complete (it may take a while), then restart your computer.

Troubleshooting Post-Restart Issues on How to Force Shut Down a Mac

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The SMC, or System Management Controller, handles many of the physical components on your Mac. An issue with the SMC can prevent your power button from working properly, or cause general slowdowns. If none of the steps above solved your problem, reset the SMC:[4] Laptop with non-removable battery — Shut down your computer and plug it into a power source. Using the left side of the built-in keyboard, hold down ⇧ Shift + Control + ⌥ Option while pressing the "Power" button, then release all keys, and finally press the "Power" button again. Laptop with removable battery — Shut down your computer. Unplug the power adapter and remove the battery, then hold down the "Power" button for five seconds. Release the "Power" button, reinsert the battery, and plug in your computer to a power source. Press the "Power" button. Desktop — Shut down the iMac and unplug the power cord. Wait fifteen seconds, then plug it back in. Wait five seconds, then press the "Power" button.