Fixing “The application ‘Application.app’ is not open anymore” Mac Error

Dec 4, 2016 - 7 Comments

Fix Application not open anymore Mac error

One of the more brilliantly worded Mac errors you may encounter is the curious “The application ‘Application.app’ is not open anymore.” message. This error is often seen when trying to interact with Preview, Finder, Steam, or many other apps either through one of the apps related files or through the app itself. Once you see the “Application not open anymore” error, the named app is basically inaccessible and unavailable and stuck open. Before you get overly concerned about what this means, we’ll show you a few ways to fix the “Application is not open anymore” error message in Mac OS.


The “Application is not open anymore” error is typically associated with the application in question becoming unresponsive and unusable, but it still remains shown as open in the Dock and often windows and associated items appear on screen still as if it is open. Nonetheless, Mac OS and Mac OS X think the app isn’t open despite the fact that it looks open, so in order to regain access to the application in question you’ll need to kill the associated app or process.

Fixing “Application is not open anymore” by Quitting the Associated Process

Application name is not open anymore Mac error message

The simplest first troubleshooting trick is to simply force quit the Mac app that is mentioned in the dialog box. For example, if the app is “Preview” then you’d hit Command+Option+Escape and target the Preview app to force quit.

Sometimes you’ll discover the application mentioned in the dialog box is not included in the Force Quit Applications menu, which means you’ll need to rely on another method to force the app to exit. The next best approach is to use Activity Monitor, found in /Applications/Utilities/ and then narrow down the application name or associated process and kill the process directly.

Quit the process to fix application not open anymore Mac error

Forcing the app or related process to quit is typically sufficient, and you should now be able to relaunch the application in question without seeing the “Application is not open anymore” error message. The app should open without a hitch, allowing you to go back to what you were doing with that application in question.

Rarely, rebooting the Mac is required to fix this issue, and typically that is only necessary if the application throwing the “application is not open anymore” message has many associated or child processes that are also stuck that you haven’t been able to successfully track down in Activity Monitor to force quit.

Why this happens isn’t entirely clear, but it appears that the application that claims to no longer be open, yet appears to be open, is simply stuck in some sort of crash or unresponsive loop.

Have you seen this weird “Application is not open anymore”error before on your Mac? Did forcing the app to relaunch work to resolve it for you? Let us know in the comments.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Troubleshooting

7 Comments

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  1. Willis H du Pont says:

    Wow, that’s a winner. Never seen it and hope not to see it. And I thought Apple always ran.

  2. Jean-Philippe says:

    I often get this message on both my Mac Pro (10.11.6) and my macbook pro (10.12.1) while using Preview or textedit (or sometime other apple app.)

    In my case, I get this message while I try to open a document (PDF, TXT, pages, etc.) using mail, spotlight, or by dragging on the dock. The application mentioned in the error is usually working well. It works without error if I try to open the document using the finder.

    I also noticed that using the “quit” command from the dock is not working. I must use the quit menu from the application itself.

  3. i. says:

    I’ve experienced it twice so far and it always means all running programs look inactive (no button can be clicked) although they’re working and updating, including Activity Monitor… but excluding Force Quit (but none of the active programs are listed) so it’s not possible to quit anything. Only a hard-reboot helped so far for me.

  4. EvdM says:

    On my MacBook Pro 10.12.2 I have this really very often, like once each day. The only thing I can do is to force quit the application. Very often it is not possible to relaunch the application. While trying to relaunch, the only thing that happens is a bouncing icon in the Dock tray. If I discover an application that is in that state, more will follow and the only thing left for me to do is to restart the computer.

  5. Frank says:

    Found an answer here

    Solution:

    In Finder, open ~/Library/Containers (to open the hidden Containers folder, in Finder use Shift-Command-G and type ~/Library/Containers in the pop-up window)

    Delete the entire com.apple.Preview folder

    Restart Preview

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4560494?start=0&tstart=0

    – after having it happen in Preview on occasion; just recently textedit started doing the same thing, so I began google searching for answers. Hope this helps someone.

    I have an imac running Yosemite and 14 gigs of ram.

  6. Robert says:

    Didn’t work for dropbox. The app is not showing open in the dock, and won’t start.

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