How to Kill a Process on Your Mac

  Matt Cone       January 7, 2021      Tutorials Mac Apps


In a previous tutorial, we discussed how to force quit Mac apps. That procedure works in most situations, but sometimes the hidden components of an application, referred to processes, can stop responding and slow your Mac down. Fortunately, you can use the Activity Monitor application that comes with every Mac to stop, or kill, processes on your Mac.

Activity Monitor icon

Here’s how to kill a process on your Mac:

  1. Open the Activity Monitor application (it’s in Applications → Utilities).

  2. Find the unresponsive process in the list and click it, as shown below.

    Activity Monitor application on Mac

  3. Click the Stop button (the one with the X icon).

The process will be killed.

Use the Terminal to Kill a Process on Your Mac

You can also use the Terminal application to manually kill a process on your Mac. First, use the ps -ax command to display a list of the current processes running on your Mac. Then, use the kill <process_number> command (replacing <process_number> with the actual number of the process) to kill the process.

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© 2021. A Matt Cone project. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Made with 🌶️ in New Mexico.