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Mac hints and tips 2

Tips index

Force programs to quit

Thankfully it doesn't happen very often, but occasionally you will come across a problem with an application and it will freeze. Apple Mac OS X force quitIt stops responding to the keyboard and the mouse and it refuses to do anything. If this happens you should wait. The reason is that sometimes a program hasn't crashed, it's just busy doing something and if you wait a while it will start working again.

If you have waited a minute or two and the program still isn't responding, you can force it to quit. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen and select Force Quit. A list of running applications is displayed and you may see that the one that has frozen is displayed in red and Not Responding is displayed after it.

That's because the operating system checks each item in the list, but regardless of whether the OS detects that it has stopped responding you can select any item and click Force Quit to end it.

When there is a serious problem the mouse may stop responding or the menu might not work, which means that you can't force the program to quit. When this happens try the keyboard shortcut - Command+Option+Esc. This displays the Force Quit window.

Apple's special keys

Apple is weird and an example of its weirdness is to assign strange names and symbols to certain keys on the keyboard - special keys. Newcomers to the Mac world are completely lost and when they are told to press Apple Mac Escape key they simply haven't a clue because there isn't a Apple Mac Escape key key on the keyboard. The closest looking thing to this on a Mac laptop is the power button, but they find that pressing that doesn't have the desired effect!

Apple's use of weird names and symbols isn't just a problem for newbies and occasional users have trouble remembering which key is Option and which is Command, since neither key has Option or Command written on them. In fact, the Option key has Alt written on it, but you'll never hear anyone refer to it as the Alt key. It can drive you nuts!

You'll find a list of these special keys below, but if you cannot get to this page to see what they are, you can show a simiar list on your Mac. In Finder, click Help, Mac help and search for "symbols for special keys."

Apple Mac special keys symbols

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