How to Restart or Force Shutdown any Frozen Mac?


There is no doubt that Apple’s Macs are among the best computers in the entire computer world but despite of that you might still suffer from a frozen Mac. By frozen Mac I mean that apps become unresponsive, the cursor start spinning and the fan starts whirring badly. If you have suffered from this condition then this article is for you. In this article, you are gonna learn how to restart or force shutdown any frozen Mac.

As I mentioned above, in this article of MAZHD, I will show you how to restart or force shutdown any frozen Mac. Force shutdown is the opposite of standard shutdown and it powers of your Mac without letting it to save files or close down apps before the shut down. This process is also called hard reset, force restart or force shut down.

Things to do before force shut down a Mac

Related: ‘Control+Alt+Delete’ on a Mac to Force Quit Frozen Apps

force shut down window from Mac OS

Of course it is a bad idea to force shutdown a Mac for any reason it can cause you to lose any unsaved file, unsaved progress in an open documentor or might even result in corrupted file in your MacOS.

But force shut down a Mac can be a terrible idea when your Mac is on a software update. This time it can result a Mac with only a half of operating system installed on it.

Considering the above problems from force shutting down a Mac, we suggest you to shutdown your Mac normally by going to Apple menu > Shut Down from the menu bar. A normal shut down is a lot safer than a force shut down for a Mac. But it can take a lot of time if it your Mac has to update or close down any software or app first.

We only suggest a force shut down for your Mac when it is not going to shutdown normally. But before that follow the steps below to reduce the risk of losing your data.

Save Open Files & documents

When you force shut down your Mac, you will lose all the data, files and documents which are open and in progress. If you were working on an important project then you would definitely won’t want to lose your unsaved file by a force shut down the Mac.

Try to save you each of your file by pressing Cmd + S or you can save from menu bar by selecting File > Save.

Related: How to Install Mac OS Mojave in VMware on Windows PC?

If your Mac is frozen then you can’t save your file or document, in this situation we suggest you to take a picture of your work in progress using your cell phone. It is not very helpful but it’s better than losing your work for ever.

Eject any External Storage

When you shut down your Mac by force, your Mac can not eject external drives safely. When the drives are ejected unsafely or when you force shut down your Mac might cause irreparable damage to your files or the contains of your drives.

Go to your desktop and drag your storage drives to trash icon in the dock in order to eject them safely. Another method is to open finder and click on eject option next to your drive in the sidebar.

Close All Apps

There is always a reason when the Mac freezes. Sometimes, it’s because you have opened a lot of apps and one those opened apps has frozen and it avoids the Mac to shut down normally. In this case you should close each app manually yourself and it may help unfreeze your Mac. If doing so could help you unfreeze your Mac then you can shut down or restart your Mac normally.

You can press Cmd + Q to quit your current app. You can also click the app name in the menu bar and then select Quit (App). If you need to find out which other apps are still running then cycle between your open apps using Cmd +Tab.

When you are quitting the apps, if any app refuse to quit then press Option + Cmd + Escape to open the Force Quit window. Then select the app that refuse to quit in this window and click the Force Quit to close the app.

When you are done closing the apps then try to shut down your Mac normally using the Apple menu. But if you still can not shut down your Mac normally or you could not close every app then you have to find out how to force shutdown your Mac.

Related: How to Fix the ‘DNS Server Not Responding’ Error (Windows & Mac)

How to force shutdown or restart your Mac.

We did discuss about why you need to force shutdown or force restart your Mac. If you feel like your Mac is completely frozen and unresponsive then you need to force shutdown or force restart your Mac.

Remember that all the methods described below for how to force shutdown or force restart your Mac are the same for all kinds of Mac: Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, iMac and so on.

Method 1: Power Button

As you know all kinds of Mac has a power button. On Macbook Air and Macbook Pro it’s on the top-right corner of the keyboard or Touch Bar. The power button on the Macbook which has Touch Bar is Blank but on the regular Macbook it has a power symbol on it.

On the other hand, an iMac has a power button behind the bottom-left corner of the screen. But if you look at the back of your iMac the power button is located at the bottom-right.

So if there is now way left for you except to force shutdown or force restart your Mac then press and hold the power button. Press and hold the power button until your mac goes to sleep and shut down.

I don’t suggest you to push the power button on your Mac right after you force shutdown it. You would better let it cool down and then power on your Mac.

Method 2. Keyboard Shortcut

If you don’t like the First method then you can use the shortcuts from keyboard. There are two keyborad shortcuts which you can use to force shutdown your Mac.

  • Press Control + Option + Cmd + Power. You shoud not hold down the power button because it will force shutdown your mac. You should press it briefly with other keys.
  • Press Control + Cmd + Power. Unlike the first method you need to hold the keys until they force shut down your Mac.

We did mention two ways to shutdown your Mac by shortcuts. But these shortcuts are slightly different from each other and they work in a different manner. The first shortcut tries to close each up first then shutdown your Mac safely while the second shortcut forces your Mac to shutdown does not try to close anything.

Method 3. Drain the Battery

Though there is two more option to force shutdown your Mac but there is some situation which those methods do not work. If your Mac is frozen and you could not force shut down your Mac then you need to try this method.

The third method is to remove the power supply cable from your Mac or drain the battery of your Mac. But remember that powering off your Mac in this method can damage the battery of you Mac. The damage can be losing your unsaved data or even worse.

Though This method can force shutdown your Mac but we suggest you to go for the two above option which is much safer for your Mac. You should look for the third method only as a last option.

If you are using a new Macbook then you can unplug the power cable and wait until the battery of your mac stop powering your Mac. It might take some time until the battery stops to power your Mac. When your Mac is powered off then charge it and turn it on back.

If you are using an older Macbook then it is much easier. Just remove the battery from the bottom of your Mac and it force shutdown your Mac.

If you are using an iMac, a Mac mini or a Mac pro then you can just unplug the charge cable. Let the computer cool down and turn it on back.

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Source: Makeuseof


Adib Zahedi is the CEO and Founder of He has nearly a decade of experience in IT, including two years spent working on a Youtube Chennal. He is also an author and writes articles for Has articles include tutorials and covers everything from Windows PCs to smartphone's software.

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