General Question

whitetigress's avatar

Mac users do you have any idea how to kill a crashed app instead of waiting for the rainbow wheel of death to end?

Asked by whitetigress (3129points) October 23rd, 2011

Would be awesome to know thanks

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18 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I wouldn’t necessarily advise this, and I’m not sure if it’s is a good idea but this is what I do: I just turn the damn thing off when I’ve had enough. I hate the rainbow wheel of death. I will push the off switch of death just to show it who’s really in charge. And, @Yanaba sometimes the rainbow of wheel of death won’t let you do a force quit. It is a harsh taskmistress; it takes no prisoners sometimes. :-)

whitetigress's avatar

@Yanaba Wow thanks a bunch and @lillycoyote Yeah no more shut down button for me. It is just Command + Option + Esc then it lets you select the running apps. Brilliant, just like Windows except Mac is way more to my liking.

lillycoyote's avatar

@whitetigress I can’t use all the keyboard commands on my Mac because of the particular wireless keyboard I use. But I will look into the Command + Option + Esc and see if I can figure out how to do it on this keyboard. I just always do a force quit with the mouse from the drop down menu. I was also going to mention that I do find that if I clean up regularly with a program like MacKeeper the rainbow wheel of death happens less often. Thanks @Yanaba.

Yanaba's avatar

hey no worries guys. It’s better than yelling the f word at the screen :) I have definitely been tempted to shut the thing off sometimes, but just so you know that can give you data corruption problems—ie you can lose files or, worse, you might find your operating system will no longer start properly because a file has been corrupted. Been there, done that :p

@lillycoyote, I know what you mean with it not letting you do it, but I think it’s a question of what program the focus is on. If you hit the Mac Exposé button (F3 on mine) and change the focus off the problem program, you can usually then bring up the force quit dialog. Whether it listens to the quit command right away is a separate question ;)

Sunny2's avatar

Yikes! I’m a Mac user. What is the rainbow wheel of death? How do I avoid it? The name scares me to death.

jrpowell's avatar

If you right click the icon in the dock and press “Option” it will allow you to force quit like this.

And if this is happening a lot I would really suggest getting as much RAM as you can shove in it. It is very cheap now and easy to install. I have 8Gigs and see the beachball about once a month. My iMac with 2Gigs beachballs a lot.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Sunny2 If you have a Mac and don’t know what the rainbow wheel of death is, then consider yourself lucky.

lillycoyote's avatar

@johnpowell The beachball sounds so much nicer and more fun than the rainbow wheel of death.

whitetigress's avatar

@Sunny2 If you want to experience it. Open all your programs at once and do some file open and exports etc, just get the apps really busy all at once, you’ll see the ring for sure. Or you can youtube Mac Ring of Death haha.

lillycoyote's avatar

@johnpowell That’s horrible. I don’t even like seeing it when it’s not affecting me personally.

Buttonstc's avatar


Yeah, I just call it the “spinning beachball” or just “beachballing”.

For a time the majority of regular beachballs you’d encounter had those rainbow colors so it makes sense.

It’s prettier and less boring than the BSOD so you tend not to mind it as much :)

jrpowell's avatar

But generally it means that the computer is doing a lot of swap activity. That is where it has ran out of RAM and it starts using the hard drive as RAM. The hard drive is much slower so it beachballs. 90% of the time if you get a beachball the application is fine it is just that it is trying to catch up and eventually will.

Right now I am using 4.78Gigs and all that it open is Firefox, iTunes, TextMate, Transmit, VLC, Activity Monitor, Surplus Meter, and Plants vs. Zombies.

lillycoyote's avatar

@johnpowell I’ve never really had a name for it before tonight. I just see it and when it goes on long enough for me to know that it’s one of the ones that’s basically going to go on forever, I make this kind of low, growly, whiny noise in my throat and grimace, and think, oh fucking crap, I just really don’t need this shit right now… but I’ve never come up with a word or phrase to describe that particular experience, for me, as of yet. :-)

jrpowell's avatar

All I am saying is that getting more RAM will make them go away if you have a somewhat modern Mac (Intel). You can get 8Gigs for 80 bucks and the beachball will most likely go away.

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whitetigress's avatar

@johnpowell Yea you’re correct. For the most part running 8gbs has been heaven on my MacBookPro. But I had opened x11 (non existent for Lion?) and I can’t imagine what it was trying to open for however long I left it open. I’ve read that running pro apps 8gbs should be the minimum for non interruption of the death wheel rainbow.

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