Most every Mac user occasionally encounters an app that locks up. Such program freezes often slow a Mac’s system performance, too. Rather than restarting the Mac, here are two options to try.

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Image: Apple

Mac applications occasionally lock up. Despite the many OS enhancements introduced in macOS Monterey, programs don’t always play nicely with others, nor do even the most reliable applications always work perfectly.

When an application freezes, one of the first signs is often the program’s window simply locks up. Frozen programs typically don’t react to any input, and their windows usually don’t update. Click on a stuck program’s prompts and menus all you want; nothing happens. Worse, whatever processes caused the app to lock up often wreak havoc in the background and can dramatically slow a Mac’s performance.

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Thankfully, a pair of options included in macOS–including macOS Monterey–almost always provide relief. The first is Force Quit. The second? Activity Monitor.

How to use Force Quit in macOS Monterey

Many users are aware of but maybe unfamiliar with the Force Quit option. Maybe they’ve seen the menu entry but aren’t sure of its purpose. Others may have discovered the feature accidentally.

Apple developers include Force Quit within the Menu Bar for a reason. The option is a quick and typically effective method of terminating wayward programs.

To access Force Quit, click on the Apple icon located at the top left corner of the macOS Monterey Menu Bar. You can also open Force Quit by pressing the Command-Option-Escape keys simultaneously, if you prefer using keyboard shortcuts. The Force Quit window will then open, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

The Force Quit option included within macOS Monterey provides a quick and simple method for immediately terminating active applications.

Using the Force Quit option, simply highlight the frozen application and click the Force Quit button. Note, whenever macOS senses an active program is locked up or malfunctioning, Force Quit usually lists the application using red lettering and appends a “(not responding)” message within the app window.

Once the Force Quit button is clicked, a second confirmation window appears asking whether you want to force the program to quit. Clicking the Force Quit button prompts macOS to abruptly terminate the highlighted program, meaning any unsaved information or changes within the program being quit will be lost. But there’s typically no alternative for a frozen application.

How to use Activity Monitor in macOS Monterey

A second option for terminating wayward programs is Activity Monitor, the macOS Monterey utility that does more than just monitor active apps. The utility, accessed within the Application folder’s Utilities subdirectory or by opening Launchpad, also permits sorting active apps by disk, memory, network or usage, as shown in Figure B and stopping specific processes.

Figure B

The macOS Monterey Activity Monitor permits viewing active applications, sorting active programs by several different elements and terminating individual processes.

To terminate a process (or component of a locked-up program) using Activity Monitor, highlight the corresponding entry, then click the Stop icon within the top Activity Monitor toolbar menu.