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How to Close Apps on Mac: 8 Quick Ways

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Last updated: September 6, 2023

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Feeling overwhelmed by the number of apps cluttering your Mac’s screen? Unlike other operating systems, the little red x button doesn’t actually close an app on Mac. As a result, your system resources stay occupied and your Mac looks cluttered with unnecessary apps.

Knowing how to close apps on your Mac can improve system performance, prevent crashes or freezes, and speed up your Mac. In this guide, I’ll show you how to close apps on Mac using different methods, ranging from simple and familiar to more advanced techniques.

Before We Begin

Closing apps on Mac is necessary as too many open apps can make Mac inefficient. However, if your Mac keeps acting up after closing apps, you can use MacKeeper’s Memory Cleaner to free up RAM and to increase your Mac’s efficiency. So, download MacKeeper and optimize your Mac instantly.

Why Close Apps on Your Mac?

Closing apps on your Mac may seem like a mundane task, but it holds significant benefits for your overall computing experience. Here are a few reasons why you should make a habit of closing apps on your Mac:

  1. ⚡️ Enhance Performance: Running too many apps simultaneously can strain your Mac’s resources, leading to sluggish performance. By closing unused apps, you free up valuable system memory and processing power, resulting in a smoother and more responsive experience.
  2. 🔋 Preserve Battery Life: If you’re using a MacBook or a Mac laptop, closing unnecessary apps can conserve battery life. Background apps consume power even when you’re not actively using them, leading to your Mac’s battery draining faster. By closing them, you can extend your battery’s lifespan and get more out of your Mac.
  3. 📁 Organize Your Workspace: Having a cluttered screen with numerous open apps can be visually overwhelming and hinder your productivity. By closing apps you no longer need, you create a clean and organized workspace, making it easier to focus on the tasks at hand.
  4. 🛠️ Resolve Software Conflicts: In rare cases, certain apps may encounter conflicts or errors that affect their performance. By closing and relaunching the problematic app, you can often resolve minor glitches or conflicts, allowing the app to function smoothly again.
  5. 🔒 Maintain Security: Keeping too many apps open increases the risk of potential security vulnerabilities. By closing apps when you’re not using them, you reduce the chances of unauthorized access or potential exploits.

In a nutshell, closing apps on your Mac optimizes performance, conserves battery life, declutters your workspace, resolves software issues, and enhances overall security.

8 Methods to Close Apps on Mac

There are various methods to close apps on Mac, from the menu bar to the command line interface. Below, I’ve shared some quick and easy methods to close unnecessary apps on your Mac and avoid clutter.

1. Use Dock

Using the Dock to close apps on Mac is the easies method that can save you a lot of time. The Dock is the strip of icons located at the bottom of the screen, displaying the apps you have open.

Here’s how to use Dock to close apps on Mac:

  1. Locate the app you want to close in the Dock.
  2. Right-click the app icon.
  3. Select Quit from the context menu to close the app.
select quit from the dropdown menu

2. End Processes Using MacKeeper

MacKeeper empowers you to identify and terminate resource-hungry processes that may be slowing down your Mac. Say goodbye to sluggishness and hello to a faster, more efficient machine.

Follow these steps to end a process on Mac using MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac. 
  2. Click the Memory Cleaner option in the left sidebar under Performance.
select memory cleaner under performance
  1. Click Open.
click open in the memory cleaner
  1. Click Apps & Processes in the left panel.
  2. To terminate a task, click the X button next to its name.
click the cross next to each app
  1. Tap the Quit button on the pop-up to close a process.
click quit to end the app

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides removing unwanted processes and freeing up your Mac’s RAM, MacKeeper can run a virus scan on your Mac, remove duplicate files, and remove login items. Check out my MacKeeper review to know more about its features.

3. Quit From Menu Bar

This method is one of the most straightforward ways to close apps on a Mac. It is accessible from any application and takes just a few clicks. The following steps explain how to quit an app from your Mac’s menu bar:

  1. When you have multiple applications open, click the app you want to close to make sure it is the active app.
  2. Once you have the app in focus, click the app name you want to close in the menu bar.
  3. After you click the app name, a dropdown menu will appear. Click the Quit [app name] option in the dropdown menu.
click the quit app name option in the dropdown menu
  1. When you click Quit app name, a dialog box may appear asking you to confirm that you want to quit the app. If you are sure you want to close the app, click Quit.
  2. Once you confirm you want to quit the app, it will close, and you will return to your desktop.

4. Using a Keyboard Shortcut

Using Mac keyboard shortcuts is a quick way to close apps on Mac. This method is perfect for those who prefer keyboard shortcuts over the mouse or trackpad. However, it will instantly close the app without any further confirmation or prompts. So, save important work before doing so.

Here’s the keyboard shortcut you can use to close apps on Mac:

  1. Click the app you want to close to bring it to focus.
  2. Press the Command + Q keys together.
macbook pro command q

This will quit the app.

5. Use Terminal Command

The terminal is a command line interface on Mac that allows users to enter and execute commands. This method is suitable for advanced users comfortable using the command line.

Here are the steps to close apps on mac using the Terminal:

  1. Open Terminal by searching for it in Spotlight or navigating to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
launch terminal from utilities
  1. Type the following command in the Terminal window and press Enter to execute the command:
ps -ax | grep [app name]

Replace [app name] with the app you want to close.

type the grep command in terminal
  1. It will display a list of processes associated with the app.
  2. Find the process ID (PID) associated with the app you want to close.
process id in terminal
  1. Type the following in the Terminal window and press Enter:
kill [PID]

Replace [PID] with the process ID you found in step 4.

type the kill command with the process id
  1. It will force quit the app.

6. Close From Window

This method can be useful when working with multiple documents or files within the same app and wanting to close one without affecting the others. It is easy to use and requires just one click.

Follow these steps to close apps on Mac using their own window:

  1. Click the app you want to close to bring it to focus.
  2. Identify the window you want to close and click the X button in the window’s upper-left corner.
click the x button in the windows upper left corner of window
  1. The window will close, but the app will remain open as long as other windows or processes are associated.

7. Force Quit the App

Force Quit is a method that you can use to close an unresponsive or frozen app. It is a quick way to force quit the app without going through the standard closing process.

Here are the steps to force quit an app on Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu located in the top-left corner of the screen.
  2. Select Force Quit from the dropdown menu.
click the apple icon and select force quit
  1. A window will appear with a list of open applications. Select the application you want to force quit.
  2. Click the Force Quit button in the window’s lower-right corner.
force quit any processes that are causing problems
  1. A confirmation dialog box will appear, asking you to confirm that you want to force quit the application. Click the Force Quit button again to confirm.
confirm by clicking force quit

8. Use Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor is a system utility that comes with the macOS operating system. It is used to monitor your Mac’s processes and system resources, including the currently running apps. You can use it to force quit apps that are not responding or using too much CPU or memory.

Here’s how to use Activity Monitor to close apps on Mac:

  1. Open the Activity Monitor app from the Utilities folder, which can be found in the Applications folder.
launch activity monitor from utilities
  1. In the Activity Monitor window, you can see a list of all the apps and processes currently running on your Mac. Look for the app you want to close, and click to select it.
  2. Once you have selected the app you want to close, click the X button in the window’s upper-left corner.
click x in the top bar to close a program
  1. It will create a dialog box asking if you want to quit the app. Click the Force Quit button to confirm.
choose force quit in dialouge box to quit the dock app
  1. You can confirm it has been closed by checking the Activity Monitor window again to see if it is still listed as a running process.

Final Words

Closing apps on Mac is a simple and necessary task to maintain the performance and memory of your device. To ensure a smooth experience on your Mac, here are some more tips to keep in mind for the future:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I close all apps at once on Mac? 

    Yes, you can close all apps at once on Mac by using the Force Quit option. To do this, click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen, select Force Quit, then select all the apps you want to close and click Force Quit.

  2. What happens if I force quit an app on Mac?

    When you force quit an app on Mac, it immediately closes the app and stops its processes. Any unsaved work will be lost, so saving your work is always a good idea before you force quit an app.

  3. Is it necessary to close apps on Mac? 

    No, it’s not necessary to close apps on Mac. macOS is designed to manage your system resources efficiently, and closing apps may not necessarily improve your Mac’s performance. However, if an app is causing issues or is unresponsive, it’s a good idea to close it.

Hashir Ibrahim


I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.



Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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