How To Shut Down Your Mac By Force

The benefit of having a Macbook is that you rarely have to worry about it being plagued with random issues. However, at the end of the day, it’s still a machine and there are times when for whatever reason, it will freeze. It happens and when it becomes unresponsive it can be a very frustrating affair.

So, we thought it best to drop a quick guide on what you can do the next time this happens, by forcing a shutdown or in other words, performing a hard reset. However, we should point out that you should only do this, if other alternatives aren’t working and this is the only option left. This is due to the fact that,  with this method, you can end up losing unsaved data and even end up corrupting some files in your OS. Moreover, if your Mac shuts down while in the process of updating it’s software, that could be disastrous as you could end up with only half the OS installed.

Try The Normal Shut Down Process

Before you try forcing it, try to shut your Mac off the right way. It’s the safer option. However, if it really won't shut down normally, you can minimise the risk of losing unsaved work by following these steps:

  • FileSaving

If your Mac freezes while working on something important, you can prevent losing the data by saving each open file. This can be accomplished by pressing the Command and S buttons or by saving the File through the Mac’s menu bar. If that is not possible, then in the worst case scenario, taking a screenshot of your work can help. It’s not preferable but it is better than nothing.

  • Safely Eject Any External Drives

If there are any other devices that are connected to your Mac using a lention usb c hub for example, then failing to eject them safely before performing a forced reboot could damage any devices that were connected or at least, corrupt any files stored. Make sure you eject everything safely first, before pulling the forced plug.

Close Any Open Application

In most cases, when your system freezes, it is a result of a frozen or unresponsive app that refuses to close. Normally, by right clicking on the app and closing it by force, you should be able to bring your Mac to proper working state, preventing the need for a complete shutdown. Afterwards, you can restart your Mac and see if the problem is solved. If it is still unresponsive and frozen, then you can follow the list of methods below to shut it down by force.

Pulling Off A Forced Shutdown

If you are still here, then it’s clear cut that you’ve tried everything and that the device is still unresponsive. The following methods listed below are applicable for all Apple Mac devices and there are a few various ways to do it.

  1. Perform A Hard Reset Using The Power Button

This is the most commonly known and easiest method to do shut your Mac down by force. The power button is usually located at the top right corner of your keyboard and if you have a Touch Bar, it will be your Mac’s Touch ID sensor. For those who own iMac’s, your power button is at the back of the screen. Hold the button down until the screen dims off or in some cases, for about 10 seconds. Afterwards, give you Mac some time to cool off, then re-press the button to restart it.

  1. Use The Shortcut Keys.

There are usually two shortcuts that you can use accomplish a forced shut down. The first shortcut lets you close your open applications safely, while the other shuts off your computer by force instantly. We suggest closing the apps safely first. You can do this by pressing these keys together for a short time; ’Power, Command, Control and Option’. Don't hold down them down or the Mac will just shutdown unsafely. If you can’t close every active application safely, then use the second method. This time you can hold them down together; Command, Control and Power.

  1. Battery Draining

In the rare instance that these two methods don’t work, then this is the next thing. This involves unplugging your lention adapter from your Mac then letting the battery run itself out. You will probably have to wait a while for the battery to fully drain to zero, depending on how much charge you had when the Mac froze up. But rest assured, it’s only a matter of time before it powers off. Once that happens, charge your computer and boot it up. If you Mac’s battery can be removed, then just remove it. If you have an iMac, simply unplug it from the socket, then reconnect the cable back in.

Once again, we should emphasise that any unsaved data will be lost if you opt to shut it down by force. So, only do this if there isn’t any other choice.


In most cases, a forced shutdown should fix your problem but if it doesn’t, then there is probably an underlying problem due to corrupted software or even faulty hardware, in which case take it to your nearest repair store for an examination.

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