Kill a Frozen Program to Stop the Spinning Beachball in Mac OS X
Frozen apps happen to the best of us for reasons we don’t always understand, and a Mac application can just suddenly become unresponsive and we see the spinning beachball of death (sometimes called SBOD for short).
For those new to the Mac platform, getting around the spinning wait cursor might be confusing, so here’s two ways to do just that. The first method is through the GUI using a trick called Force Quit, and the second method is using the command line kill utility, which should be familiar to Mac users coming from a unix background. Both work, so it’s just a matter of choosing what you’re comfortable with the next time you discover the spinning color ball cursor taking over your Mac when a program freezes up.
For the most part, you’ll see the Spinning Beachball in Mac OS X when an app is frozen, stuck, or crashing. Since it’s going to crash anyway, you can go ahead and kill the frozen app to stop the SPOD beachball spinning around endlessly and speed things up.
Average users should probably not do this, but advanced Mac users often kill apps they know are crashing anyway. Mac OS X has gotten much better at handling app crashes, which makes this less a necessity than it once was in the early ages of OS X releases.
From the GUI Finder using the Force Quit menu:
- Hit Command-Option-Escape to bring up the Force Quit menu
- Select the troubled application, and hit the ‘Force Quit’ button
From the Command Line with the kill command:
- At the command prompt type:
killall [Application Name]
- for example: killall Transmit
You can use whichever method you want to exit the application, and there are actually many ways to force quit Mac apps if for some reason those two approaches aren’t working for you or you’d just prefer to learn a few additional methods in OS X.