Quit All Open Applications Instantly from the OS X Dock with a Simple Mac App
If you’ve ever needed to quickly quit out of all open applications in Mac OS X, you’ve probably just resorted to flipping through every open application in the Dock, then hitting Command+Q, then repeating until everything is closed. But there’s a better way, and with an extraordinarily simple Automator app you can create a function that will instantly quit all apps, leaving you with nothing open. Toss that little crafted app into the Dock and you’ll instantly be able to quit everything, leaving you with a nice clean slate.
That little quit-all app is what we’ll cover here, it only takes a moment to setup:
- Open “Automator”, found in /Applications/Utilities/
- Choose to create a new “Application”
- From the search box, type “Quit” and drag and drop the “Quit All Applications” option to the right side
- Save the workflow as an application, name it something like “Quit Everything”
Yes the Automator workflow is that simple, and it should look like this when finished:
Once saved, you’ll now have a little application that does nothing but quit all other open apps. It’s instant, it doesn’t pass through Automator or anything else, and functions as a self-contained app that is extremely quick, here’s what it should look like by default.
The default Automator generated icon isn’t too descriptive if you’re going to have it resting in the OS X Dock, so if you feel like giving it a custom icon you’re free to use the icon below, it was crafted in about two seconds with Preview as a transparent PNG. It should look decent in the OS X Dock, though it’s 256×256 resolution makes it impractical for large docks on retina displays.
Once finished, drop the “Quit Everything” app into the /Applications/ folder, and then drag it into the Dock for quick access.
Launching the “Quit Everything” app does exactly what you’d expect, and it does not prompt to save changes if you have auto-save and window restore enabled, both of which are on by default in Mac OS X. Those two features should be left on as a data safeguard anyway, and they contribute to why this particular trick works so quickly, since it relies on window restoration to relaunch apps where they were left off.
If you’d rather not have an app or Dock icon, you could save the Automator action as a workflow or service instead, and then have it be accessible through a unique keyboard shortcut by adding one under the “Keyboard” system preferences. If you go that route, be sure to pick a keystroke combination that doesn’t conflict with existing system keystrokes.