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3 Ways to start or shut down a frozen Mac 3

Despite the fact that Apple is building some of the most reliable computers, you may still suffer from a sometimes frozen Mac. When this happens, apps don’t respond, the pointer turns into a spinning beach ball, and your computer fans spin at high speed.

We’ll show you how to fix a frozen Mac by turning off the power. Unlike a normal shutdown or restart, a power shutdown shuts down your Mac without letting it save files or close applications first. You may also hear that this is called a hard reset, a power restart, or a power restart.

Before you force it to shut down your Mac

Shut down the window from macOS

You should only use power off on your Mac as an absolute last resort. It can cause you to lose unsaved progress in open documents and can even lead to corrupted files in your operating system.

A particularly bad idea is to force your Mac to shut down during a software update, which can result in your Mac having only half the operating system installed.

If possible, try shutting down your Mac normally by going to Apple menu> Turn off instead from the menu bar. This is much safer, but you may find it Shutting down your Mac takes a long time






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if it needs to stop updates or close applications first.

If your Mac doesn’t shut down normally, use the following steps to reduce the risk of losing data before forcing your Mac to shut down.

Save open files

Your Mac is likely to freeze when you’re working on a major project. If so, you don’t want to lose unsaved progress by forcing your Mac to shut down too soon.

Press to save all open files Cmd + S or by selecting File> Save in the menu bar.

Save the option from the Pages-File menu

If your Mac is frozen and you can’t save anything, take a photo of your work in progress on your phone so you can recreate it later. Of course, this is not ideal, but it is better than losing your job forever.

Delete external storage

Forcing your Mac to shut down does not allow it to safely remove external drives. Whether you use these drives for Time Machine backups or external storage, removing them safely can cause irreparable damage to their contents.

You can safely delete external storage by going to your own table- and pull the external drive garbage icon in the Dock. Alternatively, open discoverer and click eject button in the sidebar next to the drive.

A search window that displays the external storage in the sidebar

Quit all applications

If your Mac doesn’t shut down normally, it’s probably because one of your apps has frozen and refuses to close. You can help things by manually closing each app yourself. It’s possible that doing this will free up your Mac, so you don’t have to force it to shut down or restart it.

Press Cmd + Q to close your current application, or by clicking the application name in the menu bar and selecting Stop [App]. Use to switch between open applications Cmd + Tab to find out which other applications are still running.

Cmd + tab that shows open applications

If anything applications refuse to quit






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, The press Option + Cmd + Escape open the Force Quit window. Select the non-matching application in this window, and then click To force to quit close it.

After closing each app, try shutting down your Mac normally using the Apple menu. If you’re still unable to do so, or if you can’t close all applications, read the instructions below on how to force your Mac to shut down or restart.

How to force a Mac to shut down or restart

If your Mac is frozen and not responding completely, the only way to fix it is by using a power shutdown or power restart. The methods for shutting down or restarting your Mac are exactly the same for your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, or other Mac.

Here are three different ways to do it.

1. Press and hold the power button

Every Mac has a power button. On a laptop – like the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air – you’ll usually find it in the upper-right corner of the keyboard or touchbar. It can have a power or exit symbol or it can be an empty touch sensor.

MacBook power button

On your IMac, you’ll find the power button in the lower-left corner of the screen. If you’re looking at the back of your iMac, it’s in the lower right corner.

iMac power button

To force your Mac to shut down, press and hold the power button until the screen turns black. This can take 10 seconds or more; just hold down the button. When your Mac shuts down, wait a moment to let it cool down, then briefly press the power button again to turn it on.

2. Use the hotkey

You can use two keyboard shortcuts to shut down your Mac: the first shortcut tries to close applications safely first, and the second forces your Mac to close without closing anything. Therefore, it is best to try the first shortcut first.

To safely shut down your Mac, press Control + Option + Cmd + Power. Do not hold down the power button or force the Mac to shut down. press it briefly with the other buttons.

MacBook keyboard and closed shortcut

This shortcut may not work if your Mac can’t safely close all applications, in which case you’ll have to force your Mac to close instead. Press Control + Cmd + Power to do so. This time, you’ll need to hold down the keys for a few seconds before your Mac shuts down.

MacBook keyboard with a forced shutdown shortcut

3. Drain the battery

Even if your Mac is frozen, you can usually force it to shut down using one of the two methods above. Still, there are some rare situations where they don’t work either.

If so, the next best way is to remove the power supply or drain the battery. Again, it is important to know that Shutting down your Mac this way can damage it. You could lose unsaved data – or worse, you could create corrupted files on your hard drive.

You should only remove the power supply from your Mac as a last resort.

If you have a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, unplug the power cord and wait for the battery to die. You may have to wait overnight until this happens depending on the health of the battery. But eventually the Mac shuts down. When that happens, recharge it and turn it on.

MacBook charger

Instead, with older MacBooks, you can remove the battery from the bottom of the computer. This is a faster way to force your MacBook to shut down.

If you have an iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro, unplug the power cord from the back of your computer. Wait a moment for the Mac to cool, then reconnect the power cord and turn it back on.

Find out what to do if your Mac doesn’t restart

Most of the time, your frozen Mac should restart normally after forcing it to shut down or restart. All applications that did not work should run smoothly and you can continue with important projects.

However, your Mac may refuse to restart if it was primarily caused by an underlying issue. Potential problems range from outdated software to faulty hard drives.

See our step-by-step guide what to do if your mac won’t boot






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; You can fix most problems yourself at home. But if not, you may need to book a physical repair at an Apple store.

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