Control+Alt+Delete on a Mac to Force Quit Frozen Apps


how to do control alt delete on a mac remote desktop? If you were a Windows user in the past and switched to a Mac after becoming familiar with Windows, you’ll quickly find that the standard ‘Control+Alt+Delete’ shortcut keys doesn’t do anything on a Mac.

Mac OS X does have its own version of the Task Manager, but it’s not the same as Windows’, and you access it by pressing Command+Option+Esc.

Well you know that Windows’ Task Manager contains a lot of information and features but OS X splits some of those features up into completely separate apps. While on Windows you press ‘Control+Alt+Delete’ together to open Task Manager so you can force quit some apps, the ‘Command+Option+Esc’ keys allows you to do the same thing but on a Mac. On Windows Task Manager you get some useful information about the running application and overall system resource usage, but on a Mac you’ll need to use the separate Activity Monitor application to get these information.

Force Quit Misbehaving Apps with Command+Option+Esc

If an application is frozen on your Mac device, you need to use ‘Command+Option+Esc’ the Force Quit dialog to close it. This is particularly useful when using a full-screen application, such as a game, and your Mac doesn’t seem to be responding to your keyboard or mouse actions.

To open the Force Quit dialog, press Command+Option+Esc which is the equivalent of ‘Control+Alt+Delete‘ on Mac. This method should work even if a misbehaving application has taken over your screen and your Mac isn’t responding to other keyboard or mouse actions. If that shortcut doesn’t work, you’ll likely need to forcibly shut down and restart your Mac. To force your Mac to shut down, press the Power button and hold it for several seconds. You should only do this if your Mac can’t shut down normally other wise we do not recommend so.

For more info on how to restart or force shutdown any frozen Mac, check out our guide.

(Fun fact: Command+Option+Esc on Mac is different from the well-known ‘Control+Alt+Delete’ shortcut on Windows. The ‘Command+Option+Esc’ on Mac is actually similar to Windows’ Ctrl+Shift+Escape shortcut, which opens the Task Manager directly without the extra click it takes from Windows’ Control+Alt+Delete screen.)

You can also open the Force Quit dialog by clicking the Apple menu on your menu bar and selecting “Force Quit.”

Scroll down in the list and select the misbehaving application you want to close. Click the “Force Quit” button and your Mac will forcibly close that application.

You should know that there are some other ways that you can force quit a misbehaving application on your Mac device just like Control+Alt+Delete. For example, you can press and hold the Option and Ctrl keys and click an application’s icon on your dock. (You can also press and hold the Option key and then right-click an application’s icon on your dock.) Select the “Force Quit” option that appears to forcibly quit an application.

If an application isn’t responding and you click the red “Close” button on its title bar several times, you may also see a prompt window asking if you want to force-quit the application.

How to View More Information With Activity Monitor

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The Force Quit dialog by pressing ‘Command+Option+Esc’ lets you to close misbehaving or frozen applications on a Mac just like ‘Control+Alt+Delete’ on Windows. However, it doesn’t allow you to see how much CPU or memory different applications are using, get an overview of your system’s overall resource usage, or other statistics on Mac like Windows’ Task Manager does when you press ‘Control+Alt+Delete’ .

However if you want to access those other features, you’ll need to use the Activity Monitor. To access Activity Monitor, press Command+Space to open Spotlight search, type “Activity monitor,” and press Enter. Or, you can open the Applications folder in the Finder, double-click the “Utilities” folder, and double-click “Activity Monitor.”

This window displays a list of your running applications and other processes. You can view information about their CPU, memory, energy, disk, or network usage–click a tab at the top of the window to choose which. From the “View” menu, you can select which processes you want to see–just your user account’s processes, or every running process on the system.

Overall system resource statistics also appear here. The CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk, and Network tabs all show how much resources all the processes on your computer are using in total.

You can close applications from here, too–just select an application in the list, click the “X” button at the top-left corner of the toolbar, and select “Quit” to close the application normally or “Force Quit” if it isn’t responding.

How to Manage Startup Programs

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If you’ve used the Task Manager on Windows 8 or 10, you’ll know that it also allows you to control which startup programs launch when you log into your computer. OS X also has a similar tool, but it’s not included in the Force Quit or Activity Monitor tools.

To manage startup programs on your Mac, click the Apple menu and select “System Preferences.” Click the “Users & Groups” icon in the System Preferences window.

Select the user account you want to manage–your own user account, probably–and click the “Login Items” tab. Applications that are checked in this list will launch when you sign in, so you can uncheck them if you don’t want them to launch automatically. You can drag-and-drop applications from your dock or Applications folder to this window, too–if you do, they’ll be added to this list and will automatically open when you sign in.

You may have Control+Alt+Delete burned into your brain for a catch-all when something goes wrong on your Mac device. If you ever get into trouble on your Mac, Command+Option+Escape will open the Force Quit dialog and serve a similar purpose just like Control+Alt+Delete. For everything else, you have Activity Monitor and System Preferences to help you out.

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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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