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

Dec 4, 2016 - 26 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

26 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.

  7. james f says:

    I’ve just started seeing this for the first time on my new Imac running Sierra.
    It has happened to me 3 or 4 times now when opening text files visible in Filezilla which is set to use Textwrangler as the default editor, When trying to open a few web links in Chrome, and when trying to open images in Preview.
    I had never seen this in years of Mac use. Force quit didn’t help. Clicking the files/links would cause this to happen again. And the apps were working fine otherwise in my case. I could go to Chrome, Textwrangler or Preview and use them otherwise.. It seems to be Clicking on certain views of links/files that causes this.. For instance I can do a File/Open . but not a Finder/”click” Possibly that means it is more of a FINDER issue… I’ll try this last suggestion..

    • Erin says:

      I have this same problem! It is driving me crazy. If I double click a file and the application is closed, it will launch the application and open the file. But if I try to open a second file of the same type, either nothing will happen or I get the “application is not open anymore” error. Works fine otherwise. And yes, quitting the program solves it, but it is not a practical solution, as quitting the program each time I want to double click to open a file is even more time consuming than doing a File/Open.

  8. Joni says:

    It happens to me in every program, apple’s programs (itunes), all microsoft, all adobe. And each program is up and running find. I have to go to the programs open pull down, or recents tab to open anything. It’s driving me a little crazy. I tried making a new user, still happens. IT is about to wipe the mac. I also cannot right click to open anything either.

    Wasn’t always like this and I have made no OS change since I got the computer. (iMac 2013

    running Yosemite 10.10.2 to stay compatible with our canon printers, but all other software is the latest.

    help, any suggestions are welcome

    • Hamza says:

      I started having the same problem that @joni and @james have mentioned lately (a lot) and yes I agree that it might be a problem with the launcher, but that doesn’t help us with anything. I think it’s stupid to have this problem every once and awhile and I have to restart my macbook pro so I can open the apps normally. We really need a solution for this issue!

      my macbook pro specs are: damn even the “about my mac” won’t open and my screen is full with ( The application ” app’s name” is not open anymore)!!

      HELP?!

  9. squidz says:

    This issue, contrary to some that have replied is not with the applications that one is trying to open. As @Joni and @james f mentioned, it can happen with any apps and seems to be related to Finder or perhaps Apple’s own application launcher.

  10. yaya says:

    I have the same issue. ” The Finder is not open anymore”. But why I search ‘Finder’ in Activity Monitor it doesn’t show up??

    Help me please

  11. Mike says:

    Tried the second solution suggestion above and found “Activity Monitor” when I got there had the same problem–the “is not open any more” message. A solution would be welcome. I am forced to Restart as the only way around this.

  12. Viginia says:

    Worked like a Charm! Thank You!

  13. Viginia says:

    Worked ! Thank You very much for posting
    !

  14. Dean says:

    Happening all of sudden on my 3yr old iMac – so far with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Calendar, and when I read to launch Activity Monitor it even happened with that! Driving me nuts, treading on eggshells, only solution is restart. Force quit shows none of the effected applications.

  15. Jim Van Zandt says:

    I had the second version of the problem – both Chrome and Outlook were running fine, but clicking on a link in Outlook brought up the message “The application “Chrome.app” is not open anymore”, and clicking on a mailto: link in Chrome triggered the message “The application “Microsoft Outlook.app” is not open anymore”. Rebooting cleared up the problem.

    I agree it sounds like a problem in Finder or Apple’s application launcher. Which of those is responsible for look up the default web browser or mail application? Maybe something was relying on cached process numbers, (I had recently awakened the machine after sleeping overnight, so all the process numbers had changed.)

    I’m running Sierra (10.12.6) on a MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015).

  16. Joan Brannigan says:

    I tried the first two ways and neither worked. I will try rebooting.

  17. John says:

    I have had this problem with just about every app on my computer. Sometimes killing the process works, but I’ve found it is just more reliable to reboot the computer.

    I wonder if it is related to the lds process spinning uselessly and using up a lot of cpu causing my fans to go on.

    I note that this problem was first reported on OS 10.8. I never had the problem until upgrading to 10.13.

    This is another proposed solution to the problem.
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6848682?start=0&tstart=0

    Another thread suggested running disk first aid. That found nothing.

    I note that many of the application icons no longer show up in the launcher but use the generic icon. The Finder has the right icon.

    This is an instance where safari is suffering the problem:
    https://origin-discussions-us.apple.com/thread/7672383?start=0&tstart=0

    And here it is the finder: (There is a lot of instruction on using the console.app)
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6697518?start=0&tstart=0

    There are a number of other posts on various sites discussing this problem, but the only solution offered is to reboot your machine.

    I imagine it is some malware that Apple allowed the CIA or NSA to install on all of our computers so they could track whether or not we are planning something stupid.

  18. Kurt says:

    I’ve had this happen to several applications. Most recently, it was the App Store. I tried the first two methods with no success. I also tried deleting the app store folder in ~/Library/Containers. That did not work as well. It sucks that rebooting is the only option for me. I’ve had macs for a decade now and the newer operating systems are MUCH less stable than the old Leopard OS. Come on Apple! Fix your product!

  19. Valerie Gray says:

    I have the message but Force quit does not work Also I cannot find any reference to the app “grab” in the activity monitor as suggested. I cannot delete the app because it says the Mac Os “needs it”. I cannot reload it from the app store because it is not there !

    • Paul says:

      Grab is a screenshot utility for Mac, if you have Grab open then you can make the Grab app active and quit it normally, you can force quit it through the Force Quit menu. Activity Monitor also works to find Grab if it’s open.

      If all else fails, just reboot the Mac.

  20. Tom Hofer says:

    I’ve been getting this a lot, but unlike most of you, I am able to quit the application by normal means. I was hoping the above article would solve the reason for the error message, not the result. :(

    • Owen says:

      @Tom Hofer, fair point and I have experienced this “application is not open anymore” error message many times on my system.

      From what I can tell the cause of the problem appears to be an IO or memory issue, maybe too many open sockets, too many open ports or files, at some core OS maybe even the kernel level, if you start trying to open other apps (especially several apps) or many browser tabs, things start to go haywire too. Once that happens the only solution is to reboot the Mac. Then it seems to happen again after another period of time… I think it is a bug introduced in a more recent macOS update, I never encountered it before that.

      Thus I think the ‘reason’ is a bug that has yet to be patched, thus the need to restart the computer. Mac OS is starting to feel a little like Windows… LOL

  21. Andrew says:

    Encountered this too, only solvable apparently via reboot. Seems to occur semi-frequently. It doesn’t appear that killing the process fixes it in my case. Not even killing Finder seemed to make any difference. It’s downright Microsoftian.

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