Is your Mac refusing to shut down? It can be frustrating when you’re ready to call it a day or power down your Mac for other reasons, only to find that it simply won’t shut down.
In this guide, I’ll share some quick and effective ways to resolve the issue where your Mac won’t shut down. Whether you’re experiencing a frozen screen, unresponsive apps, or any other shutdown-related problems, these troubleshooting techniques will help you find a solution. So let’s dive in.
Before We Begin
Your Mac might not shut down for several reasons, and MacKeeper can help fix most of them. From malware to incompatible apps, MacKeeper provides the perfect solution. With its real-time antivirus, Smart Uninstaller, Safe Cleanup, and more, MacKeeper offers comprehensive assistance.
Why Your Mac Won’t Shut Down
If you’re experiencing issues with your Mac not shutting down properly, there can be several potential reasons. Here are some common causes and troubleshooting steps to help you resolve the problem:
- 🖥️ Software issues: Check if any applications or processes prevent your Mac from shutting down. Close all open applications and try shutting them down again. If that doesn’t work, force quit any unresponsive programs by pressing Command ⌘ + Option ⌥ + Escape and selecting the problematic app.
- 🔄 Background processes: Some background processes or tasks may prevent your Mac from shutting down. Open the Activity Monitor (Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor), check for any resource-intensive processes, and force quit them before attempting to shut down your Mac.
- ⏳ Updates in progress: If your Mac installs updates, it may delay the shutdown process. Wait for the updates to complete, and try shutting down again.
- 🔌 Hardware peripherals: Disconnect any external devices (e.g., printers, external hard drives, USB devices) and try shutting them down. Faulty or incompatible peripherals can sometimes interfere with the shutdown process.
- 🚨 File or system corruption: Occasionally, file or system corruption can prevent a Mac from shutting down properly. Run Disk Utility to check and repair any disk errors. Open Finder, go to the Applications folder, then the Utilities folder, and launch Disk Utility. Select your startup disk and click First Aid to perform verification and repair.
- 🧩 Kernel extensions or third-party software: Some kernel extensions or third-party software may cause conflicts that prevent your Mac from shutting down. Try booting your Mac in Safe Mode by holding the Shift key while starting up. If the shutdown works in Safe Mode, it indicates a problem with third-party software or drivers. Remove recently installed extensions or applications and test shutting down again.
If the above steps don’t resolve the issue, it’s recommended to contact Apple Support or visit an authorized service center for further assistance.
What to Do If Your Mac Won’t Shut Down
It can be frustrating when your Mac refuses to power off, leaving you wondering what steps to take next. Whether you’re encountering a frozen screen, unresponsive apps, or other issues preventing your Mac from shutting down, I’ve shared multiple solutions below to fix this issue.
1. Wait for a Few Minutes
Before rushing to any conclusions, give your Mac a few minutes. Your computer may be just processing a large task or updating software in the background. Patience is sometimes the best remedy.
If your Mac won’t shut down after waiting for a while, you may need to troubleshoot the problem. You can try one of the following solutions.
2. Use a Keyboard Shortcut
If waiting didn’t resolve the issue, try using a keyboard shortcut. To shut down your Mac using a keyboard shortcut, you can follow these steps:
- Make sure you have no unsaved work or open applications, as shutting down your Mac will close all programs and documents.
- Press the following key combo: Control ^ + Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + Power button (or Control + Option + Command + Eject key on Macs with an eject key instead of a power button).
- A dialog box will appear, asking if you want to shut down your computer. Click the Shut Down button or press the Enter key to confirm.
- Your Mac will begin the shutdown process, and once it completes, the screen will turn off, and the computer will no longer be running.
3. Force Quit All Apps
Force-quitting apps can help shut down your Mac in certain situations where unresponsive or problematic applications prevent a smooth shutdown. When you force quit an app, you forcibly terminate its processes, allowing your Mac to close the application and free up system resources.
Here’s how to force-quit apps on Mac:
- Press the following keyboard shortcut: Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + Esc.
- The Force Quit Applications window will appear, displaying a list of currently running applications.
- Find the app you want to force quit from the list. Select the application by clicking it once. Click the Force Quit button in the bottom-right corner of the window.
- A confirmation dialog will appear, asking if you want to force quit the selected application. Click Force Quit to proceed.
- The application will be forcefully terminated, closing all its associated processes.
- If you want to force quit multiple applications simultaneously, hold down the Command ⌘ key while clicking the desired applications and tap the Force Quit button.
Please note that force-quitting applications should be used as a last resort, as it may result in losing unsaved work. I recommend saving your work before force-quitting apps.
4. Press and Hold the Power Button
Another quick solution is to press and hold the Power button to force your Mac to shut down. However, this should be a last resort as it can lead to data loss if any apps are running or files are open.
Follow these steps to shut down your Mac by pressing the Power button:
- Locate the power button on your Mac. The placement of the power button varies depending on the model:
- 🖥️ Desktop Macs (iMac, Mac Pro): The power button is usually on the computer’s back.
- 💻 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air: The power button is typically on the top-right corner of the keyboard.
- 👩🏽💻 MacBook: The power button is integrated into the keyboard in the top-right corner above the Delete key.
- Save important work and close all applications.
- Position your finger on the power button and press and hold it for about 5-10 seconds. You should feel a slight resistance when pressing the button.
- Keep holding the power button until your Mac completely turns off. You may see the screen go blank, and Mac’s fans and other indicators will stop running.
- After your Mac has shut down, release the power button.
Only use this method to shut down your Mac if other methods have failed or your Mac has become unresponsive. I recommend using the regular shutdown procedure or force quit applications before resorting to a forced shutdown with the power button.
5. Reset the SMC
The System Management Controller (SMC) governs many low-level functions on your Mac. Resetting the SMC can resolve power-related issues, so if your Mac won’t shut down, you can try resetting the SMC.
The process to reset the SMC varies depending on your Mac model. Below, I’ve shared the steps to reset the SMC on your Mac:
a. With a Removable Battery
- Shut down your Mac.
- Remove your MacBook’s battery.
- Press and hold the Power button for 5 seconds while the battery is removed.
- Release the Power button and reinstall the battery.
- Turn on your Mac by pressing the Power button.
b. With Non-Removable Battery
- Tap the Apple icon and select Shut Down from the drop-down menu.
- Press and hold the Shift ⇧ + Control ^ + Option ⌥ keys with the power button for 10 seconds.
- Release all the keys and press the power button to turn on your MacBook.
6. Reset the PRAM/NVRAM
Parameter RAM (PRAM) or non-volatile RAM (NVRAM) stores certain settings your Mac uses during startup. Resetting these can fix various issues, including problems with shutting down.
Follow these steps to reset the NVRAM or PRAM on your Mac:
- Turn off your Mac.
- Press the power button to turn on your Mac.
- Press and hold the Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + P + R keys simultaneously on your Mac’s keyboard before the gray screen appears.
- Hold the keys until your Mac restarts, and you hear the startup chime twice or see the Apple logo appear and disappear twice.
- Release the keys and let your Mac start up normally.
If you have an M1 or M2 Mac, you don’t need a keyboard combo to reset the NVRAM. It happens automatically during the restart.
7. Try the Safe Boot
Safe Boot starts your Mac in a basic state with only the necessary software. It helps check if any startup items are causing the shutdown issue. The steps to enter Safe Mode differ depending on your Mac model.
You can follow the steps below to boot your Mac into Safe Mode, depending on your model:
Apple Silicon Mac
- Click the Apple icon and choose Shut Down from the drop-down menu.
- Wait for your Mac to shut down completely, and press the Power button to turn it on.
- Keep holding the Power button until you see the Loading startup options screen.
- Select a volume from the options.
- Press and hold the Shift ⇧ key and click Continue in Safe Mode.
- Your Mac will restart automatically, and you will see Safe Boot in the menu bar when the login screen appears.
- Restart or turn on your Mac and press and hold the Shift ⇧ key immediately.
- Keep holding the Shift ⇧ key until you see the login screen.
- Release the Shift ⇧ key and log in to your Mac.
- You’ll see Safe Boot in the menu bar on your first or second login window.
8. Repair Disk With Disk Utility
Repairing the disk with Disk Utility can potentially fix certain issues that could be causing a “Mac won’t shut down” problem. Disk Utility is a built-in macOS tool that allows you to verify and repair disk errors, file system inconsistencies, and permissions problems.
Here’s how to repair your Mac’s startup disk with Disk Utility:
- Before you repair your startup disk, back up your data on Mac.
- To repair the startup disk on your Mac, boot it into Recovery Mode. Follow the steps below, depending on the model, to boot your Mac into Recovery Mode:
Apple Silicon Mac
- Shut down your Mac.
- Press the Power button to restart your Mac.
- Keep holding down the Power button until the startup options page appears. Select Options.
- If prompted, provide your administrator password to log in to your user account.
- Shut down your Mac.
- Press the Power button to start up your Mac.
- Immediately press and hold the Command ⌘ + R keys.
- Keep holding both keys until the macOS Recovery screen appears.
- If prompted, provide your administrator password to log in to your user account.
After booting your Mac into Recovery Mode, start repairing your disk by following these steps:
- Click Disk Utility on the macOS Recovery screen and tap Continue.
- Click the View icon in the top left corner and select Show All Devices from the drop-down menu.
- You’ll see all connected disks, containers, and volumes on your Mac in the left-hand sidebar. The order is Disk > Container > Volume, with each level nested inside the previous one.
- Select the volume, container, or disk you want to repair from the sidebar.
- Click the First Aid button at the top of Disk Utility.
- Click Run on the pop-up window. You may be asked to enter your administrator password.
- Wait for First Aid to complete, and then click Done. Repeat these steps for the next volume, container, or disk.
- After repairing all of the disks on your Mac, go to Apple > Restart from the menu bar and restart your Mac.
9. Run Apple Diagnostics
Running Apple Diagnostics, also known as Apple Hardware Test (AHT) or Apple Diagnostics, is a built-in tool on Mac computers that allows you to diagnose and detect hardware issues. While it is primarily used to identify hardware problems, it may indirectly help with certain software-related issues causing a “Mac won’t shut down” problem.
To run Apple Diagnostics on Mac, follow these steps:
On Apple Silicon Mac
- Disconnect all peripheral devices except the keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, display, and power cable.
- Turn off your Mac.
- Power on your Mac and continue holding the power button until the startup options screen with the Options icon appears.
- Press the Command ⌘ + D keys.
On Intel-Based Mac
- Unplug all external devices except the keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, display, and power cable.
- Shut down your Mac from the Apple menu.
- Press the power button and immediately press and hold the D key on your keyboard until a list of languages appears.
- Select a language, and Apple Diagnostics will start automatically.
- Once the checking process is initiated, completing it usually takes 2-5 minutes.
- You’ll see a report listing any issues detected when the test completes. If you see an error message or reference code, note it and contact Apple Support for further assistance.
- To re-run the test, click Run the Test Again or press Command ⌘ + R.
- If you don’t want to repeat the test, click Restart or Shut Down.
10. Use a Terminal Command to Force Shut Down
Using a terminal command to force shut down your Mac can be helpful in situations where the regular shutdown process is unresponsive or not working. Here’s how you can use a terminal command to force shut down your Mac:
- Launch the Terminal application. You can find it in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder. Alternatively, you can use Spotlight (press Command ⌘ + Spacebar) and search for Terminal.
- In the Terminal window, type the following command and press Enter:
sudo shutdown -h now
- You will be prompted to enter your administrator password. Type your password (you won’t see the characters as you type) and press Enter.
- The command will initiate the shutdown process immediately without confirmation.
- Wait for a few moments, and your Mac should force shut down.
Using the command line shuts down your Mac immediately. There are no confirmations, warning dialogs, pauses to save documents, or prompts to close apps and save work. So, save everything you need before shutting down your Mac.
11. Identify and Troubleshoot Problematic Apps
If your Mac won’t shut down still, a problematic app may be the culprit. Sometimes, certain applications can interfere with the shutdown process, causing delays, errors, or preventing the Mac from shutting down altogether.
Identifying and troubleshooting problematic apps on your Mac can help fix this issue. Once identified, you can either update these apps, reinstall them, or remove them if necessary.
You can use MacKeeper to update apps on your Mac. Here’s how:
- Download MacKeeper on your Mac.
- Launch MacKeeper and click the Update Tracker tab in the left sidebar.
- Click Scan for Updates.
- MacKeeper will scan your Mac for outdated apps and display a list. To select an app, check the little box next to it or click Check All to select all apps.
- Click Update All.
- Wait for the updates to complete. This can take a while, depending on the number and size of updates.
- You’ll get an Update Completed notification. Click Rescan if you want to update more apps.
If you don’t have MacKeeper, you can follow these steps to check app updates in the App Store:
- Click the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen and select App Store.
- Click the Updates tab in the App Store window.
- You will see a list of apps with available updates.
With MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller, you can get rid of problematic apps in just a few clicks. Follow these steps to uninstall apps on your Mac:
- Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
- After installation, launch MacKeeper and click the Smart Uninstaller in the left-hand menu.
- Click Start Scan.
- Select the applications you want to delete from the list and click Remove Selected.
- Tap the Remove button on the pop-up to confirm the deletion.
- MacKeeper will uninstall the apps and remove associated files and folders. You will get a Removal Completed notification. If you want to scan your Mac again, click Rescan.
12. Boot Your Mac Into Recovery Mode
Booting your Mac into Recovery Mode can potentially fix the “Mac won’t shut down” issue by allowing you to perform various troubleshooting and repair actions. Recovery Mode provides tools to diagnose problems on your Mac and reinstall macOS if needed.
Here’s how to boot your Mac into Recovery Mode:
- Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen and select Shut Down.
- Press the power button to turn on your Mac. Wait for the startup chime, then immediately press and hold the Command ⌘ + R keys on your keyboard until the Apple logo appears on the screen. It indicates your Mac is booting into Recovery Mode.
- The window provides a range of utilities to troubleshoot and repair your Mac. You can select the utility you want to use from the macOS Utilities window to troubleshoot and repair your Mac.
13. Fix Hardware-Related Issues
If you’ve tried every other solution, but your Mac won’t shut down, your system may have a hardware issue. Here’s how fixing hardware-related issues can help:
- ⚡️ Power Supply Problems: Inadequate or unstable power supply can cause various issues, including problems with shutting down. Ensure your Mac is connected to a reliable power source and the power adapter or battery is functioning properly.
- 🔧 Faulty or Failing Hardware Components: Hardware components such as the logic board, memory (RAM), storage drive, or other internal components can develop faults over time. These faults can lead to instability during the shutdown process.
- 🖥️ Peripheral Device Interference: Connected peripherals or external devices can sometimes cause issues with shutting down. Disconnect all external devices, such as USB devices, external drives, printers, and other peripherals, and attempt a shutdown.
- 💾 Memory Issues: Faulty or insufficient memory (RAM) can cause various issues, including problems with shutting down. Ensure your Mac has enough RAM for your running applications and processes. Consider upgrading the RAM on your Mac if it is insufficient or experiencing issues.
14. Let Your Mac Cool Down
Overheating can affect your Mac’s performance and stability, including the shutdown process. You must prevent your Mac from overheating, or it may not shut down correctly.
Ensure your Mac is properly ventilated, and clear out dust or debris from the vents or cooling system. Use third-party apps to check your Mac’s temperature and ensure it is within safe limits.
15. Unplug Peripherals
Unplugging peripherals can potentially fix the shutdown issue by eliminating any interference or conflicts caused by external devices. Here’s how unplugging peripherals can help:
- Certain peripherals, such as USB devices, external drives, printers, or other connected devices, may not be fully compatible with your Mac, or their drivers may cause conflicts during the shutdown process.
- Sometimes, incompatible or outdated drivers for peripherals can interfere with the proper shutdown of your Mac. By disconnecting the peripherals, you can confirm if they are the source of the problem.
- Certain peripherals may draw excessive power from your Mac or cause power fluctuations, affecting the shutdown process. By disconnecting these peripherals, you can eliminate potential power-related issues and ensure a clean shutdown.
To unplug peripherals, follow these steps:
- Shut down your Mac completely.
- Disconnect any peripherals or external devices connected to your Mac, such as USB devices, external drives, printers, scanners, or other devices.
- Leave the peripherals disconnected.
- Power on your Mac and attempt to shut it down.
If your Mac shuts down properly after unplugging the peripherals, it indicates that one or more disconnected devices were causing the problem.
To further troubleshoot, reconnect the peripherals individually, and observe if the shutdown issue reoccurs after connecting a specific device. This will identify the problematic peripheral, and you can focus on updating its drivers or seeking support for compatibility issues.
Power Off Your Mac In No Time
Now that you know what to do if your Mac won’t shut down, you may want to know more about Mac startup and shutdown issues. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- If your Mac won’t turn on, try solutions like resetting the SMC, resetting the NVRAM/PRAM, booting into Safe Mode, and more.
- If your Mac is stuck at the Apple logo, you can force restart your computer to fix the issue.
- You can speed up a slow Mac to avoid issues like Mac randomly shutting down or freezing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my Mac not shutting down properly?
Your Mac may not shut down properly due to several reasons. Some common causes include software issues, unresponsive apps, background processes, updates in progress, hardware peripherals, file or system corruption, and conflicts with kernel extensions or third-party software.
How can I force quit unresponsive apps to help shut down my Mac?
You can force quit unresponsive apps to help shut down your Mac using the keyboard shortcut: Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + Esc. It will open the Force Quit Applications window. From there, select the problematic app and click Force Quit to terminate it forcefully.
How do I force my Mac to shut down without the power button?
To force your Mac to shut down without using the power button, you can use a keyboard shortcut. Press Control ⌃ + Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + Power button simultaneously. This will prompt a dialog box asking if you want to shut down your computer. Click Shut Down or press Enter to confirm.