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Mac OS X: Force Quit An Unresponsive Full Screen Application Shortcut Key

Sometime my VLC application gets crashed on a Mac OS X system. The screen goes blank and VLC stays hang running on my desktop or MacBook. How can I solve this issue and quit an unresponsive VLC application on a Mac OS X without a hard reboot?

Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesNo
RequirementsOS X
Estimated completion time1m
OS X has a feature called Force Quit to quit both responsive and an unresponsive application on a Mac OS X system. The Force Quit displays list of apps on screen and can be activated using keyboard shortcuts.

Option #1: Press Command-Option-Esc keys to force quit full screen app

To open "Force Quit Applications" on a Mac OS X press Command-Option-Escape:

Fig.01: Force Quit  App

Fig.01: Force Quit App

Select an app (say VLC) and press "Force Quit" button. You may be prompted as follows:

Fig.02: Confirmation dialog box

Fig.02: Confirmation dialog box

Option #2: If you cannot switch from the unresponsive app...

If you cannot switch from the unresponsive VLC app, press Command-Option-Shift-Esc for three seconds to force it to quit. This key combination tells OS X to force quit the frontmost app.

Option #3: Bash Terminal killall command option

Open the Terminal application and type the following killall command to kill the VLC app:

 
killall -9 {app-name}
killall -9 VLC
 

If you do not know the exact name of app, use ps command as follows:

 
ps aux
ps aux | grep -i vlc
ps -xu username
ps -xu vivek | grep -i vlc
 
References
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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Prem Udeshi August 5, 2014, 10:36 am

    Hi,

    What if the mac cant do any? Do i have to hard restart?

    • Dan Lund August 18, 2015, 9:19 pm

      I’ve been caught in a couple of situations where I didn’t have my mac open to ssh into, and the full screen app became unresponsive and disallowing me to flip to other desktops even though things were purring along just fine behind the scenes. About the only way I’ve found is shift-option-command-escape. Otherwise, a hard restart, but that’s last resort.

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