3 Ways to Restart or Force Shut Down Any Frozen Mac

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3 Ways to Restart or Force Shut Down Any Frozen Mac

Despite the fact that Apple builds some of the most reliable computers around, you might still suffer from a frozen Mac at times. When this happens, apps become unresponsive, the cursor turns into a spinning beach ball, and your computer starts to overheat.

We’ll show you how to fix your frozen Mac with a force shutdown. Unlike a standard shutdown or restart, a force shutdown powers off your Mac without letting it save files or close down apps first. You also might hear this referred to as a hard reset, a force restart, or a force reboot.

Before You Force Shut Down Your Mac

You should only use a force shutdown on your Mac as an absolute last resort. It can cause you to lose unsaved progress in open documents and might even result in corrupted files in your operating system.

It’s a particularly bad idea to force shut down your Mac during a software update, which might leave your Mac with only half an operating system installed.

If possible, try to shut down your Mac normally by opening the Apple () menu and clicking Shut Down from the menu bar. This is much safer, but you might find your Mac takes a long time to shut down if it needs to finish updates or close down apps first.

If your Mac won’t shut down naturally, take the following precautions to decrease the risk of data loss before force-shutting it down.

To ensure that your computer never freezes, use CleanMyMac X. Search and delete trash files, scan for viruses, free up RAM, and optimize your Mac in the most efficient manner possible.

Download CleanMyMac X

Save Open Files

When you’re working on a large project, your Mac is more prone to freeze. In this instance, you don’t want to lose any unsaved work by causing your Mac to go down prematurely.

Try saving each open file by hitting Cmd + S or choosing File > Save from the menu bar. Before resuming, you should build a fresh Time Machine backup if feasible.

If your Mac becomes unresponsive and you are unable to save anything, snap a picture of your work in progress on your phone so that you may recreate it later. This is obviously not ideal, but it is preferable than losing your work permanently.

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Eject External Storage Devices

Forcing your Mac to shut down prevents it from securely ejecting external disks. Whether you utilize these devices for Time Machine backups or external storage, ejecting them incorrectly might result in irreversible data loss.

To securely eject your external storage devices, go to your Desktop and drag the external drive to the Dock’s Trash icon. Alternatively, open Finder and click the Eject button in the sidebar next to your drive.

Quit Every App

If your Mac won’t shut down regularly, it’s most likely due to a frozen program that refuses to terminate. You may assist things by shutting each program individually. There’s a possibility that doing so may unfreeze your Mac, removing the need to force it to shut down or restart.

To exit your current app, press Cmd + Q, or click the app name in the menu bar and choose Quit [App]. To find out whether other programs are still running, use Cmd + Tab to cycle amongst your open apps.

If any Mac programs refuse to stop regularly, you may forcibly quit them. To launch the Force Quit window, press Option + Cmd + Escape. In this box, choose the unresponsive program, then click Force Quit to terminate it.

After closing all apps, try shutting down your Mac regularly using the Apple () menu. If you still can’t do that—or if you can’t dismiss every app—follow the instructions below to forcibly shut down or restart your Mac.

How to Force Shut Down or Restart Your Mac

If your Mac is stuck and unresponsive, the only method to solve it is to forcibly shutdown or restart it. The techniques for forcing shutting down or restarting your Mac are the same whether you have a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, or any other kind of Mac that has an Apple silicon or an Intel chip.

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Here are the three different ways to do it.

1. Hold the Power Button

Every Mac includes a power button. On a laptop, such as a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, it is normally located near the top-right of the keyboard or Touch Bar. It might have a power or eject icon on it, or it could be a blank Touch ID sensor.

The power button on an iMac is located behind the bottom-left corner of the screen. It’s on the bottom-right of your iMac if you’re looking at the back of it. It’s a little button on the back of a Mac mini.

Press and hold the power button until the screen turns black to forcibly shut down your Mac. This might take up to 10 seconds; just keep holding the button. Wait a few seconds after your Mac shuts down to allow it cool down before briefly pressing the power button again to restart it.

If the screen was already black when you began, continue to hold the power button down until the Apple logo shows.

2. Use a Keyboard Shortcut

You can shut down your Mac using two keyboard shortcuts: the first tries to securely close programs first, while the second causes your Mac to go down without closing anything. As a result, it’s advisable to start with the first shortcut.

Control + Option + Cmd + Power to securely shut down your Mac. Holding down the power button will forcibly shut down your Mac; instead, give it a quick tap with the other buttons.

If your Mac can’t securely end every program, the shortcut won’t function, and you’ll have to force it to shut down instead. To do so, press Control + Cmd + Power (without Option). This time, you must hold the keys down for a few seconds before your Mac shuts off.

3. Drain the Battery

Even if your Mac is frozen, you should be able to force it to shut down using one of the two ways described above. However, there are certain unusual cases when they do not function.

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If this is the case, the next best option is to turn off the power or drain the battery. It’s crucial to remember that turning off your Mac in this manner might be dangerous. You risk losing unsaved data or, worse, creating corrupt files on your hard drive, which will cause even more troubles with your Mac.

You should only remove your Mac’s power supply as a last option.

Unplug the power cord from your MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro and wait for the battery to die. Depending on the condition of your battery, you may have to wait overnight for this to occur. However, your Mac will finally shut down. When that happens, charge it again and turn it on.

If you have an older MacBook, you may remove the battery from the bottom of the notebook instead. This is a faster method of forcing your MacBook to shut down.

Simply disconnect the power cord from the rear of an iMac, a Mac mini, a Mac Studio, or any other desktop Mac. Wait a few seconds for your Mac to cool down before reconnecting the power cord and turning it back on.

Find Out What to Do if Your Mac Won’t Turn On Again

After forcing your frozen Mac to shut down or restart, it should usually boot up correctly again. Any applications that were not operating properly should now be operational, and you may return to your critical tasks.

However, if an underlying issue caused your Mac to freeze in the first place, it may refuse to start up again. Potential issues include anything from out-of-date software to defective hard drives. Fortunately, you can repair many of them yourself.

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