How To Close Apps on macOS: The 2 BEST Ways Explained



Apple gives you multiple ways to quit an app on macOS. Here are the two best ways and what you need to know about how to close apps on macOS.


Closing apps on macOS can be a confusing experience if you are new to the Mac. Much of that is due to the fact that there are multiple ways to close an app on macOS.

If that sounds frustrating, don’t worry. We’ll talk you through the two best ways how to close apps on macOS below.

How To Close Apps on macOS: The 2 BEST Ways Explained
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Quitting vs Closing In macOS

Just a quick note to say that in this article we use the terms “quit” and “close” an app interchangeably. Both mean shutting down the app so it’s not running anymore.

Of course, after you quit or close an app you can always open it again by clicking on the app’s icon.

Also a BIG WARNING: always be sure you save any open work in an app before you quit/close it. For example, if you are working in the Pages app, make sure you save any changes to your Pages documents before you quit/close the Pages app.

Also, remember that closing or quitting an app is NOT the same as deleting an app.

#1 Close Apps On macOS Using The Menu Bar

The first way to close apps on macOS is by using the menu bar. If you’re new to Mac, just know that the menu bar is that thing you see running across the top of your Mac’s screen. It’s the bar with the Apple logo on it, next to the name of the currently selected app, and followed by menu items (usually they include File, Edit, View, etc).

You access the menu bar by using your mouse. Move the cursor over the menu bar and click any item to open its drop-down menu.

And remember, the menu bar items will change depending on what app you are currently working in. While the menu bar is an integral part of macOS, it’s fluid and changes to meet the app you are currently working in.

You can perform TONS of tasks from the menu bar in any given app. But it’s also a great way to close an app. 

Here’s how to quit a macOS app using the menu bar:

  1. Move your mouse over the macOS menu bar.
  2. Click the name of the app in the menu bar.
  3. In the popup menu that opens when you’ve clicked the name of the app, now click Quit [app name].

This will automatically quit the app.   

#2 Close Apps On macOS Using The Keyboard

The menu bar method above is the clearest way to quit a macOS app. However, as you get better at using macOS, you’ll probably start to use more keyboard shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcuts are great because they allow you to perform actions more quickly than you can by using a mouse and clicking around on things.

A popular keyboard shortcut, for example, is Command-S. This lets you save a document without having to use your mouse to click File > Save in the menu bar.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to quit apps. Here’s how:

  1. Hold down the Command key on your Mac’s keyboard.
  2. While still holding down the Command key, now also press the tab key. This will bring up the quick menu switcher on your screen. Keep holding down the Command key, but feel free to release and press the tab key again. This will allow you to use the quick menu switcher to move to another open app (by releasing the Command key when the quick menu selection box has landed on the app’s icon you want to switch to).
  3. But to close an app using this method, instead of releasing the Command key when the quick menu switcher box is selected upon an app you want to close, keep holding the Command key down and now also press down on the Q key. This will automatically close the app.

There are other ways to close apps on macOS. But the two ways above are the easiest and quickest.

Want to customize your Mac? Check out how to change macOS icons here!

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.

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