Macs are like any other computer. Sometimes they won’t start and sometimes they won’t turn off. If your Mac refuses to shut down, here’s how to do it anyway — and hopefully fix the problem for good.
How to turn off your Mac
Shutting down your Mac is as easy as clicking on the Apple logo in the menu bar at the top of the screen, then choosing «Shut Down…» and then «Shut Down» from the window that appears. If you’re feeling especially impatient, you can hold down the «Option» button on your keyboard while pressing the menu button to not show that confirmation box at all.
Once you have started the shutdown process, you need to wait. Even if you leave the «Reopen windows when I log back in» box checked, you still have to wait for currently closed apps and windows to close before your Mac shuts down.
Assuming your Mac won’t turn off, it’s time to try a few more things.
Software may cause shutdown problems
Sometimes software can prevent your Mac from shutting down properly. From time to time your Mac will notify you that «app locked turned off» and sometimes you won’t see any errors at all. First, try closing all your apps by right-clicking (or two-finger-tapping) on their icons in the dock and choosing Exit.
You can force close all applications that are unresponsive or won’t close. Right click (or two fingers) on the app’s icon, hold the Options key on your keyboard, then click Force Quit and the app should close. Then you can try turning off again.
If that doesn’t work, a background process may have crashed and is causing the problem. Open Activity Monitor (press Ctrl+Space then search for it) and click on the CPU tab. You can order the % CPU column in descending order to see if any applications are using a lot of CPU resources. If they are, click on them to highlight them, then click the «X» in the top left corner to kill the process.
Other apps that may have crashed will be highlighted in red followed by a «(Not Responding)» label. You will need to click on them, then click «X» to kill them. Assuming you’ve gotten rid of any errant processes, it’s time to try shutting down again.
Disable any peripherals
Peripherals can also cause problems when you try to shut down your Mac. For best results, disconnect any connected peripherals and try again. If you’re using an iMac, you can try disabling everything but your mouse or Magic Trackpad (although the keyboard shouldn’t be a problem).
Safely eject all external drives by right-clicking on them and selecting Eject [ДИСК]” or by clicking and dragging the volume to the trash. If you can’t eject the disc, you may have found your problem. You may see a pop-up window with a choice of «Force Eject…» which you can try.
Otherwise, you can force-extract the following command through the Terminal (replace «DISK» with whatever your drive is called):
diskutil unmountDisk force / Тома / DISK
To get a list of connected drives, first run this command:
When All Else Fails: Force Restart Your Mac
If your Mac still won’t turn off, the only thing to do is figuratively «pull the plug» and force 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 power button.
If you don’t have a power button, you’ll need to hold down Control and Command, as well as the Eject button or Touch ID button. Hold the button down for about 10 seconds, after which your Mac screen should turn black. Wait about 30 seconds before restarting the machine.
Note: this should only be used as a last resort. A shutdown process has been launched to protect essential system files, which should always be properly closed before the computer is turned off. Your Mac will probably work just fine after a forced restart, but there’s always a risk in doing so. If something went wrong and your Mac no longer starts, check out how to fix a Mac that won’t boot.
Restarting will fix most issues preventing your Mac from shutting down properly. If this problem becomes more frequent, you need to find the source of the problem by following the steps below.
Prevent future closing issues
If the problem is caused by software, there are some steps you can take to fix it. If an application was stopping the shutdown procedure, try checking for software updates that might fix the issue. You can opt out of the application in favor of an alternative, if such an option exists. Try restarting your Mac without pre-launch problematic software.
macOS also needs to be updated regularly to stay on top of issues. You can check for software updates in System Preferences > Software Update. While you’re there, you can turn on auto-update by clicking «Advanced…», then ticking the appropriate boxes.
Boot in safe mode
Restarting your Mac in Safe Mode can also help prevent the problem from reoccurring in the future. When you start your Mac in Safe Mode, the startup disk is scanned for problems and macOS will attempt to fix any issues it finds. Safe mode also removes the font, kernel, and system cache, among a few other things.
To boot your Mac in safe mode:
Shut down your Mac (may require a forced shutdown).
Press the power button, then immediately press and hold the Shift (any) key.
Release the Shift key when you see the login window and log in as usual.
When you restart your computer, it will boot up normally again. Safe Mode isn’t the only alternative startup mode for your Mac, check out the full list of macOS boot modes and what they’re used for.
Reset your SMC and PRAM/NVRAM
The System Management Controller (SMC) is responsible for low-level functions on your Mac, including power management, battery charging, and keyboard backlighting. Sometimes power issues can be caused by the SMC, so it makes sense to try resetting the SMC if you have chronic shutdown issues.
The process is simple, but different depending on whether you have a MacBook with an internal battery, a MacBook with a removable battery, or a desktop computer like an iMac. Find out how to reset SMC on your particular Mac.
Non-volatile RAM (NVRAM) or parameter RAM (PRAM) is used by your Mac to store settings such as boot disk preferences, screen resolution, and time zone information. It’s unlikely that NVRAM/PRAM will affect how your Mac works, but if you’re still having issues at this point, it might be worth a try.
The process of resetting this memory is the same for everyone:
Make sure your Mac is turned off.
Press and release the power button (or the Touch ID button on some MacBooks), then immediately press and hold Option + Command + P + R on your keyboard.
After about 20 seconds, you can release those keys and your Mac should boot up normally.
After resetting NVRAM/PRAM, you may need to adjust settings such as screen resolution, boot disk, and time zone. Now try restarting or shutting down your Mac normally to see if you still have issues.
Still have problems? Try the nuclear option
When all else fails, you can always format the drive and reinstall macOS. You must first back up your Mac with Time Machine in order to keep your files. Avoid using third-party disk cloning programs for backup (we’re after a clean install, after all).
You can then follow the instructions to uninstall macOS and reinstall the operating system from scratch. Remember that you will need to restore your Time Machine backup and reinstall any required software once you have done so. This is not a quick process, so put it off an hour or two before you start.
A fresh install should clear up the issue for good. It may also solve other problems caused by leftover kernel extensions and partially removed software. You may notice that your Mac is running faster and you will also have a lot of free space.