Quit All Open Applications Instantly from Mac 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 on the Mac. Going further, you can toss that little crafted app into the Dock of a Mac and you’ll instantly be able to quit everything at anytime just by launching your little Quit All app, leaving you with a nice clean slate.
This tutorial will show you how to create a Quit All Applications app in Mac OS, and how to use it for exactly the described purpose.
How to Quit All Open Applications on Mac with a “Quit All” App
Making a little quit-all app is what we’ll cover here, it only takes a moment to setup. We’ll split this into two steps, creating the little quit-all app, and then using it to quit all apps. We’ll also cover some additional steps for customizing the icon, placing it in Dock, and some other tips which are optional but nice to know.
Step 1: Create the Quit All Applications Mac App with Automator
First, you must create the little Quit All app, this is done with Automator on the Mac:
- 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.
Step 2: How to Quit All Open Mac Apps with the Fresh Automator App
Now that you have created the Automator app for quitting all apps, using it is a piece of cake. Just double-click the app to open it, causing all applications (including itself) to instantly quit.
That’s it, just opening the app will quit all other Mac apps.
Optional: Customizing the Quit All App Icon, Placing in Dock, etc
The default Automator generated icon isn’t too descriptive if you’re going to have it resting in the MacOS 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 Mac OS X Dock, though it’s 256×256 resolution makes it impractical for large docks on retina displays.
If you want to use that icon for your quit-all app, just save it to your desktop or copy it to your clipboard, then select your ‘Quit Everything’ app in the Finder, click that icon, and paste it over it. Simple, now it looks more stylish and it’s a bit more obvious what it’s purpose is.
Once finished, drop the “Quit Everything” app into the /Applications/ folder, and then drag it into the Dock for quick access, like so:
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.