If you’ve ever received the spinning beach ball of doom when using an application on your Mac that hasn’t stopped spinning, then ending that program is the sensible thing to do. The spinning beach ball is Apple’s equivalent of Microsoft’s “Not Responding” message.

There are quite a few different ways that you can force applications to quit in OS X but today we’ll look at some of the more straight-forward ones that seem to work the most often.

It’s worth bearing in mind that if you force an application to quit then you do risk losing any unsaved work, so if the beach ball has only been spinning for a few minutes then it may be worth waiting a little bit longer before trying any of these last-resort steps.

Force Quit Applications Dialogue

Pressing Command+Option+Escape on your Mac’s keyboard will bring up a Force Quit Applications dialogue. This displays a list of your currently running applications. If any of the applications aren’t responding then the app’s name is displayed with (not responding) after it.

Just highlight that application and click onto the Force Quit button and in a few seconds the app will have closed on your machine.

Force Quit From The Dock

Another alternative is to close the application from the dock. To do this, press Control+Option on your keyboard and right-click onto the app’s icon in the dock. A menu will appear with several different options – click onto Force Quit.

Force Quit From Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor is more like Windows’ Task Manager than the Command+Option+Escape dialogue. It contains a list of running processes, how much memory different apps are using, the disk usage of an application and a host of other features.

There are a few ways to launch Activity Monitor, but the quickest way is to hit Ctrl+Space to open up Spotlight and type Activity Monitor (then just press enter or click onto the Activity Monitor result in the list to open the application). To close an application from the Activity Monitor window simply highlight it and press the Stop sign in the toolbar (the black icon with the white X). This will give you an option to either Quit or Force Quit. Choosing the latter will make the application close.

Image Credit: Vincent Brown