How to Quit All Apps at the Same Time on Your Mac

No matter how fast Apple’s M1 chip is, that doesn’t stop problems from occurring while using our Macs. Many folks have yet to upgrade to those newer Macs for one reason or another. Plus there are rumors that the M1X Macs could be around the corner with a completely redesigned 14-inch MacBook Pro and iMac.

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From time to time, you’ll likely find yourself needing to quit your apps at the same time, and keyboard shortcuts are great. But they only go so far. There are actually more options at your disposal, but they just require a little bit of setting up.

How to Quit All Apps at the Same Time on Your Mac

There are a wide variety of reasons as to why someone would want or need to close all apps at the same time. Maybe you’ve finished up work for the day and want to get rid of those apps at once. Or maybe you just don’t want to go through and close each app that you don’t want open, one-by-one. Regardless of the reason, there comes a time where you may need to quit all apps at the same time.

The Keyboard Shortcuts to Quit All Apps

Keyboard shortcuts are just that – tools to help save you some time. That’s why folks live and die by apps like TextExpander or AutoHotkey (for Windows). But there are quite a few built-in keyboard shortcuts that allow you to perform different tasks with ease.

One such task is the ability to quit all apps at the same time, without fiddling around with closing each app individually. Here are some keyboard shortcuts that you can use to quit apps on your Mac:

  • When using an app, click the app name in the Menu Bar, then select Quit App.
  • In order to force quit a stubborn app, click the Apple logo in the Menu Bar. Then select Force Quit, find the app you need to close, and click the Force Quit button.
  • Keyboard combination:
    • Quit all apps at the same time
      • CMD + Option (Alt) + ESC
      • CMD + A
      • Enter
    • Quit all apps one-by-one
      • CMD + Tab
      • CMD + Q

Both macOS and Windows are quite verbose when it comes to offering keyboard shortcuts. But there’s another way that you can quit all apps at the same time without pressing anything on the keyboard.

Quit All Apps With Automator Magic

Ever since Apple introduced Shortcuts with iOS, we’ve provided a lot of coverage about saving time with automation. There are plenty of folks who wish that macOS had the same Shortcuts app, but the truth is that there’s an app that’s more powerful and more useful. Automator is an app that doesn’t always get the love it deserves, but there’s an automation that can be created to quit all apps at the same time.

  1. Open the Automator application on your Mac.
  2. Click the button to create a new “Application”.
  3. In the search box, type Quit.
  4. Drag and drop the Quit All Applications option from the left to the right side.
  5. In the search box, type, and select Run AppleScript.
  6. Drag Run AppleScript to the right, underneath the Quit All Applications module.
  7. In the AppleScript module, highlight “You script goes here”.
  8. Enter tell application “Finder” close every window.
  9. Click File in the Menu Bar.
  10. Select Save.
  11. Name the file, and change the location to Applications.
  12. Move the “killall” application to your Dock or the Desktop for easy access.
  13. Click on the icon to run.

It may take a few moments depending on how many apps that you have open, but when the newly-created Automator application is “opened’, all of your apps will be closed. If you’re concerned about losing work accidentally, don’t fret. In the “Quit All Applications” module, just make sure that “Ask to save changes” is checked before proceeding.

Conclusion

Automator is like the hidden gem of macOS, and for the time being, it’s still alive and kicking. It wouldn’t come as a surprise for Apple to get rid of the app completely after the transition from Intel to ARM is complete. However, that’s still a few years away, so for the time being, take advantage of Automator and keyboard shortcuts while you still can.

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