How to Force Restart Mac (MacBook Pro/Air) – 5 Ways

Cassie Xie
Last updated: Jun 8, 2023
Summary: This post offers different ways to let you force restart a Mac computer like MacBook Pro/Air.

If your Mac computer is not frozen and the cursor can move, you can click Apple > Restart to easily restart your Mac. However, if your Mac or MacBook is freezing and not responsive, you can try the 5 ways below to force restart Mac (incl. Mac, MacBook Pro/Air).

force restart Mac

How to Force Restart Mac (MacBook Pro/Air)

Check the 5 ways below to force restart your MacBook Pro/Air computer.

Way 1. Use Command + Control + Power

You can press and hold the Command + Control + Power buttons at the same time. Hold the keyboard shortcuts for about 5 to 10 seconds until your Mac computer screen goes black. Then your Mac will automatically restart. Once it reboots, you can enter your login information to start using it again.

Way 2. Only Use the Power Button

  1. If your Mac computer is frozen, you can press and hold the Power button on your Mac. Usually, the Power button on a MacBook is located in the upper-right corner of the keyboard, depending on the model.
  2. Hold the Power button for about 10 seconds to force shut down your Mac.
  3. After about 10 seconds, you can press and hold the Power button again to turn on your Mac. You can log in to resume using it.

Way 3. Force Restart Mac with Apple Menu

  1. Click the Apple menu icon at the top-left corner of your Mac screen.
  2. Select Restart from the drop-down list. As soon as you click Restart, you should immediately press and hold the Option key on your keyboard.
  3. Continue holding the Option key until you see a dialog asking you if you want to restart your Mac.
  4. Click the Restart button in the dialog to force the restart.

Way 4. Force Reboot Mac with Terminal

  1. Click the Spotlight icon and search for the Terminal app to launch it. Alternatively, you can also go to Finder > Applications > Utilities to open Terminal.
  2. Type the command sudo shutdown – r now and press Enter to begin the restart process.
Force restarting a Mac using any of these methods should be done sparingly and only when your Mac is unresponsive or frozen. Remember that force restarting may lead to the loss of any unsaved work or open applications, so you should save your work regularly.

Way 5. Use the Force Quit Applications Window

  1. Another workaround way to help you fix a frozen Mac is to press the Option + Command + Esc keyboard shortcut to open the “Force Quit Applications” window.
  2. Here you can select the application that is unresponsive or causing issues. Click the “Force Quit” button to force quit the app.
  3. Follow the same operation to force close any other unresponsive applications on your Mac. After all problematic apps are closed, your Mac should be able to work normally again. If your Mac still freezes, you should try the other ways above to force restart Mac.

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Bottom Line

This post offers 5 ways to allow you to force restart Mac if your Mac or MacBook Pro/Air stops responding. An easy-to-use cleaner program for Mac is also introduced to help you fix a slow Mac.

Cassie has been writing about technology for her entire career life - over 5 years. She enjoys diving into how Apple products work and then breaking it down in a way anyone can understand.