What to Do When Your Mac Won’t Shut Down

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1.Shutting down your Mac is as simple as clicking on the Apple logo on the menu bar at the top of your screen, then choosing “Shut Down…” followed by “Shut Down” in the box that appears. If you’re feeling particularly impatient, you can hold the Option button on your keyboard while clicking the menu option to prevent that confirmation box appearing at all.

2.Once you’ve started the shutdown process, you need to wait. Even if you leave the box checked to “Reopen windows when logging back in” you’ll still have to wait for your currently-open applications and windows to close before your Mac shuts down.

Assuming your Mac won’t shut down, it’s time to try a few more things.

3.Sometimes software can prevent your Mac from shutting down properly. Occasionally your Mac will notify you that “Application blocked shut down” and sometimes you won’t see any errors at all. First, try closing all of your applications by right-clicking (or two-finger clicking) on their icons in the dock, and choosing “Quit.”

4.If this doesn’t work, it’s possible that a background process has crashed and is causing the issue. Open up Activity Monitor (hit Command + Spacebar then search for it) and click on the CPU tab. You can order the “% CPU” column by descending order to see if any apps are using a high amount of CPU power. If they are, click on them to highlight them, then click on the “X” at the top left to kill the process.

Other apps that may have crashed will be highlighted in red, followed by a label that says “(Not responding).” You’ll need to click on these then click on the “X” to kill them too. Assuming you’ve gotten rid of any errant processes, it’s time to try shutting down again.

5.Peripherals may also cause issues when trying to shut down your Mac. For best results disconnect any attached peripherals and try again. If you’re using an iMac, you can try unplugging everything except your mouse or Magic Trackpad (though keyboards shouldn’t cause an issue).

Safely remove any external drives by right-clicking on them and choosing “Eject [DISK]” or by clicking and dragging the volume to the Trash can. If you can’t get a drive to eject, then you may have found your issue. You may see a new window pop up with a choice to “Force Eject…” which you can try.

6.Otherwise, you can force eject via the Terminal with the following command (replace “DISK” with whatever your drive is called):

diskutil unmountDisk force /Volumes/DISK

7.If your Mac still won’t shut down, the only thing left to do is to figuratively “pull the plug” and force a shutdown. This works on both desktop Macs and MacBooks. To do this, first press and hold the Control and Command keys, then hold the Mac’s power button.

If you don’t have a power button, then you’ll need to hold Control and Command plus the Eject button or the Touch ID button instead. Keep the button held down for around 10 seconds, after which your Mac’s screen should go black. Wait about 30 seconds before starting your machine up again.

8. macOS also needs to be regularly updated to keep on top of issues. You can check for software updates under System Preferences > Software Update. While you’re there, you can enable automatic updates by clicking on “Advanced…” then checking the relevant boxes.

macOS Shut Down Dialog

Force Eject a Volume in macOS with Terminal

macOS Software Update

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