Are you wondering if there is any difference between the PC and Mac kill process? Keep reading and learn more about it here.

According to analysts, global personal computer (PC) shipments totaled 341 million in 2021. While most of those shipped units were Windows PCs, Apple’s Mac had the most remarkable growth. So much so that 2021 Mac sales saw a 28.3% increase from the previous year.

While many of those new Mac owners are new computer users, others are Windows PC veterans. So, if you’re part of the latter, it pays to know more about how their operating system processes differ.

One of the most critical OS differences you need to know is the PC vs. Mac kill process. It’s vital to understand how and why they’re dissimilar, as it can affect your new Mac’s performance.

This guide discusses the facts you need to know and the steps on how to kill a process in Mac, so be sure to read on.

How the Mac Kill Process Differs from Windows

As a previous Windows user, you know that almost all its apps feature an X at the top-right corner of their windows. Clicking that X, in turn, usually closes that window and kills the process behind it. That’s because the Windows OS regards each open window as a separate app instance.

By contrast, macOS treats each window as one instance of a single active application. In that way, it works much like applications that support multiple active windows at once, such as MS Word.

So, clicking the X or the red circle button on the top-left corner of a Mac window only closes that specific window. The app itself won’t quit altogether, and instead, remain active in the background. The same is true for Finder; even if you close its windows, the Finder app itself sticks around as an open program.

That’s why there are specific and separate commands to execute the Mac kill process. While Windows has them, too, you often don’t need to use them unless a program becomes unresponsive.

When and Why Do You Need to Kill Processes in Your Mac?

It’s best to execute the Mac kill process whenever you close an app you no longer need. Again, that’s because hitting the X or the red circle button only usually closes the window. That means the program and many of its processes may remain active.

In that case, the active app can continue to use precious RAM and energy. Even if it only consumes a small amount of memory, it’s still a complete waste, as you’re not using the app anyway. Besides, you can use those resources to run the programs you need. 

Another situation (and reason) why you’d need to kill Mac processes is if an app freezes or refuses to quit. If that happens, you’re likely to see the spinning beachball. That ball indicates that a Mac is dealing with a processor-intensive activity.

Depending on how many other active processes you have, the beachball may stick around for a long time. It may even cause other apps to freeze and the entire system to become unresponsive. All that can then trigger your Mac to crash and restart.

If that last part happens, you may lose some or all the work you failed to save before the crash.

It’s also wise to kill processes to detect and fix abnormalities in your Mac. For example, you can quit or force quit active apps to see the processes still running in the background. That can help you determine the presence of threats, such as malware.

Speaking of which, Mac malware identifications have risen by an estimated 1,092% from 2019 to 2020. So, knowing the proper way of killing processes can help keep your Mac safer and more secure.

How to Kill Processes in Mac

There are two primary ways to kill Mac processes: Quit and Force Quit.

The Quit option is the standard method of killing a process. It enables you to close an app completely, provided it’s behaving normally.

On the other hand, Force Quit allows you to shut an app down if it stops responding or has frozen. It’s the closest counterpart of Control-Alt-Delete on Windows PCs. You need to use it if the Quit feature doesn’t work due to the program’s unresponsiveness.

You can execute the Quit command by pressing the Command (⌘) and Q keys together. However, be sure the program you want to close is at the forefront before hitting those keys. You can confirm this by looking at the top-left corner of your screen; the app’s name should be beside the Apple logo.

To Force Quit an app, press the Option (⌥), Command (⌘), and Esc (Escape) buttons together. That will bring up a small window containing a list of all active programs. From there, you can select the application you wish to close and click the Force Quit button.

You can also use the Quit and Force Quit options within the menu bar, the field at the top of your screen. You can find Quit in the program’s menu in the menu bar (the app’s name beside the Apple logo). As for Force Quit, it’s in the Apple drop-down menu in the upper-left corner of the screen.

Another way to Quit or Force Quit any app on your Mac is through Activity Monitor. You can even use your Mac’s terminal to execute both commands. The folks at have a handy step-by-step guide on both methods that you can follow.

Kill Processes to Free Up Precious Mac Resources

There you have it, your ultimate guide on the difference between the Windows PC and the Mac kill process. Now, you know that their execution relies on varying commands, but they serve the same purpose. They both stop and close apps completely, especially misbehaving programs.

So, the next time you run into a non-responsive Mac app, Quit or Force Quit it. That way, you can free up precious resources and make your Mac work smoothly again.

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