How to Quit & Force Quit Apps from Dock Icons in Mac OS X

Feb 27, 2011 - 4 Comments

How to quit and force quit running apps from the Mac Dock with an icon trick

Did you know that you can quickly quit out of an application from the Dock of Mac OS X? And did you know that you can also force quit out of an app in Mac OS X by using the Dock icon too?

Perhaps not well known, but the Dock of Mac OS can function as a task management tool of sorts by using a key modifier and icon trick, letting you quit and forcibly exit out of applications that are actively running.

How to Quit an Open Application from the Dock Icon on Mac

To simply quit out of an app from the Dock icon of any Mac application running in Mac OS:

  • Right-Click (or two-finger tap with trackpad) on any running Mac app and choose “Quit”

Quit an app from the Mac Dock icon in OS X

What if the app won’t quit because it’s frozen or unresponsive? Then you can turn the Quit option into Force Quit using a modifier key.

Forcibly Quitting an App Using the Mac Dock Icon

To change the “Quit” option to “Force Quit” within the same Dock icon menu:

  • Right-click on the Dock icon of the app to Forcibly Quit, then hold down the OPTION key

Force quit out of apps from the Mac Dock icon

The option key modifier turns the menu option into alternate choices, in this case “Force Quit” instead of “Quit”.

This can be helpful if you need to quickly Force Quit a Mac app but the other force quit options aren’t available for whatever reason. Many users will find this Dock trick to be faster too, which is ok because it’s very easy, and the Dock is basically always open and available, making it a very reasonable place to quit and forcibly exit out of apps in OS X. This is not a well known trick, but it’s quite handy.


You can also force quit apps with the task management utility Activity Monitor or by hitting Command+Option+Escape to bring up a Force Quit hovering menu with an app selector to choose what apps to terminate.

This feature is around in basically all versions of Mac OS X, so it doesn’t matter what system software your Mac is running, you’ll be able to use it.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Vic says:


    thank you!!! one of those suggestions solved the problem!!

  2. Pete says:

    I always use this, second nature.
    alos use the monitoring program to kill it

  3. v_v says:

    or just use killall appname

  4. Ted says:

    Easier than a keystroke, I’ll try this next time Flash+Safari is wreaking havoc

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