How To Shut Down a Mac With the Keyboard

Even though many people believe that Apple Macs are more solid than Windows PC, they sometimes suffer similar issues. They may have problems shutting down using the usual methods for various reasons. Luckily, there are at least three different ways to turn off a Mac. If your Mac refuses to shut down via the interface options, here’s how to shut it down using your keyboard. We’ll also go over what to try if it won’t shut down.

How To Shut Down a Mac With the Keyboard

Shut Down Mac With Keyboard

There are keyboard shortcuts you can use to switch off your computer. The following shortcut will quit all apps and ask whether you need to save any work before shutting down:

  • “Control” +”Option” + “Command” + Power button

Next up, we have a few tips you can try if your Mac computer won’t turn off.

What to Do When Mac Doesn’t Shut Down

Be Patient

If your Mac doesn’t appear to be shutting down, the first thing to try is to allow a bit more time. Sometimes the shutdown process can be lengthy, as macOS tries to close all the programs. Therefore, if you have many apps open, macOS can take a while to go through them. This process shouldn’t take longer than a minute to complete, though it may feel like longer.

If one of the apps has frozen or is failing to close for some other reason, to get to the root cause, try the following:

  1. Check if there are any app alerts on the Dock; these will indicate that something requires your attention.
  2. If a file needs saving, click on “Save” from the alert window for each doc. If you choose “Cancel,” it will also cancel the shutdown request.
  3. If an app still doesn’t shut down, you can “Force Quit.” However, this may result in lost data, so it might be worth taking a screenshot of the doc to help recreate data loss. You can force quit an app by right-clicking it on the Dock and choosing “Force Quit.”

Once the apps are closed, your Mac should shut down as expected. On the other hand, if it doesn’t, keep reading.

How to Shut Down a Frozen Mac

If you think your Mac won’t shut down because it is frozen, try moving the cursor around to confirm. If the cursor does not respond, then try:

  • Long pressing the Power button for a few seconds, then hopefully, the dialog box asking whether you want to sleep, restart, or shut down should appear.
  • If not, on newer Macs try shortcut: “Control” +”Option” + “Command” + Power button. And on very old Macs it’s “Command” + “Control” + “Eject.” This will quit the open apps before shutting the Mac down.

If your Mac still hasn’t shut down, you can use force:

  1. Long press the Power button on your Mac until the screen is black and the power light goes off.
  2. Wait for around 30 seconds before pressing the Power button on again.

Only use this method if you need to, as Macs work better when they are shut down correctly. If your Mac regularly refuses to shut down and there are no apps or unsaved documents open, then the root cause should be investigated further instead of relying on a force quit.

Try Unplugging Any Peripherals

Connected peripherals may also be why your Mac is having problems shutting down. For the best outcome, disconnect any peripherals and try again. If you’re working on an iMac, try unplugging everything apart from your Magic Trackpad or mouse and your keyboard.

Disconnect any external drives by right-clicking it and choosing “Eject [DISK]” or by dragging it to the “Trash” can. If the drive won’t eject, then that might be your issue. A new popup window may appear with the choice to “Force Eject..” so give that a try and see what happens.

Otherwise, force eject it using the following Terminal command. Replace “DISK” with the name of your drive.

diskutil unmountDisk force /Volumes/DISK

And here is the command for a list of attached drives:

diskutil list

How to Prevent Future Shut Down Problems

Here are three tips to consider implementing to prevent problems shutting down your Mac.

Ensure Possible Problem Apps Are Updated

If an app was the reason you couldn’t shut down, ensure all your apps are up to date by checking for software updates. You could also consider swapping the app for an alternative if one’s available.

Ensure macOS Is Updated

macOS needs to be up to date to handle issues including these. Go to “System Preferences“ and “Software Update“ to check whether you are running the latest macOS version. You can enable automatic updates by selecting “Advanced…” and checking the relevant boxes.

Boot Into Safe Mode

A “safe mode” restart may prevent shutdown problems from happening again. Whenever you start your Mac in safe mode, the start-up disk is scanned for issues, then macOS will try to fix any problems found. The safe mode also deletes kernel, font, system caches, etc. Here’s how to boot your Mac in Safe mode:

  1. Turn your Mac off. Use a force shut down if necessary.
  2. Press the power button, then immediately long-press any “Shift” key.
  3. Then release the “Shift” key once the login window displays, and sign in as normal.

When you restart your Mac, it will boot into regular mode.

Mac Keyboard Shutdown Success

Although macOS is explicitly designed to run like a dream, it may sometimes have problems shutting down. It could be that your Mac is shutting down but just taking longer than usual due to a conflicting app or peripheral or unsaved work. Usually, macOS can work through the problem and shut down as requested. However, if it’s frozen, you can intervene by using a shortcut on your keyboard to shut it down. Consider ensuring your macOS and apps are up to date to help prevent future shutdown issues.

Were you able to shut your Mac down successfully using the keyboard shortcut? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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