What To Do When Your MacBook Doesn't Shut Down

What To Do When Your MacBook Doesn't Shut Down
  • Jan 23rd, 2024
  • Ranjeet Singh
  • Macbook
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New gadgets and gizmos with the most advanced features are launched daily in today's technology era. While these innovations may have revolutionized every aspect of our lives forever, they come with pitfalls. MacBooks, for instance, is one of the most adequate computers ever made. But just like any other machine, they're not 100% free from error whatsoever. They can drive you crazy sometimes with all the problems they come with, with refusing to shut down being the most common. If you're dealing with a similar issue, you can put yourself at ease because we have covered you with the solution for What to do when your MacBook doesn't shut down! Turning off and shutting down a Mac is relatively easy. All you need to do is select the "Shut Down" option by clicking on the Apple logo on the menu bar at the top of your screen, wait for your currently-open applications and windows to close, and the screen must go black. However, if it shows reluctance while shutting down, it could be due to several reasons. Depending on what's causing your Mac to freeze while trying to shut it down, we've listed a few solutions and steps to help you tackle the What to do when your MacBook doesn't shut down problem.

Read Also: How to Fix MacBook Air Trackpad?

What to do when your MacBook doesn't shut down problems?

Shutdown problems occurring frequently indicate that something is wrong with your MacBook. There are various techniques and methods that you can try to tackle the What to do when your MacBook doesn't shut down problems. Few are relatively easy to perform, whereas others cause inconveniences (e.g., reinstalling MacOS). 

Let's look at various strategies you can follow in dealing with your MacBook shutting issues.

1. Close all the applications before shutting down

The first thing to try would be closing all your applications, blocking the shutdown process, and causing What to do when your MacBook doesn't shut down issues. You can do this by right-clicking (or two-finger-clicking) on their icons in the dock and choosing "Quit." If any apps are unresponsive, you can force-quit them by right-clicking on the app's icon, holding the Options key on your keyboard, and clicking "Force Quit." After this, try shutting down again.

2. Unplug all external devices

Peripherals can also cause issues when trying to shut down your Mac. It would be best to try disconnecting any attached devices and removing all external drives by right-clicking on them and choosing "Eject [DISK]" or by clicking and dragging the volume to the Trash can. That could be the issue if you can't get a drive to eject. If you see a new window with a choice to "Force Eject…", you can try that. Otherwise, you can force boot via the Terminal with the following command (replace "DISK" with whatever your drive is called): diskutil unmountDisk force /Volumes/DISK.

3. Presence of a crashed or frozen app

Very often, a frozen app causes intervention in shutting down of MacBook. If the app is not closed normally, you must force quit it. You can follow the following steps to stop the frozen app forcefully.

  • Open the Apple menu present in the upper left corner of the screen. A force Quit window appears. Select the app that you want to force quit and click Force Quit.
  • When you command-click (in simple terms, right-click) at the app's icon and, along with it, press the Alt key. The quit option then changes to the Force quit. Click on it, and the app stops.
  • Press the following three keys simultaneously: command, option, and From the Force quit window, select the app. Lastly, click Force Stop.
  • You can also quit the app from Activity Monitor.
  • Command-clicking on the app's icon in the dock also quits the app. Choose Force to stop after command-click

Read Also: How to Fix MacBook Battery Not Charging Issue

4. Try giving Terminal a spin

Terminal assists you in plenty of tasks and troubles. Let's have a look at fundamental Terminal commands that can benefit you while solving shutdown problems:-

  • To shut down the MacBook immediately, you may use the command - osascript -e 'tell application "System Events" to shut down.'
  • You can go for a sudo shutdown for several minutes within a specific period to shut down the device. This is a risky option as it destroys all open processes and applications in your MacBook.
  • Another command that you can use - is sudo shutdown -h now. You can also go for the order - sudo halt. While using this option, you must be careful as it gives you NO chance to preserve your data. All the open applications are killed when you use this command.

●    Use Terminal to repair disk. The Terminal can be used to improve the disk. It helps in font maintenance and clearing the cache data, which could help fix the shutdown problem.

  1. Go to the "Finder" icon.
  2. In the upper menu bar, click "Go," then select "Utilities."
  3. After scrolling down, open the "Terminal" application.

Type the given commands in the window, one after the other in execution.

  1. rm -rf ~/Library/Caches/*
  2. rm -rf ~/Library/Saved\ Application\ State/*
  3. dorm -rf /Library/Caches/*
  4. dorm -rf /System/Library/Caches/*
  5. atsutil databases -remove user
  6. sudoatsutil databases -remove
  7. sudoatsutil server -shutdown
  8. sudoatsutil server -ping
  9. dorm -rf /var/folders/*

After performing the last line, you can restart your Mac.

5. Check for any potential malware

Very often, the MacBook doesn't shut due to various malware threats. Use an anti-malware program for detection and removal of any malware.

6. Check file vault

Sometimes, file vaults can cause problems. It should be turned off in case your MacBook doesn't shut down. To check the file vault, follow the following steps:- 1. Go to the Apple menu and select System Preferences. 2. Choose the Security and Privacy pane. Then select the file vault tab. 3. Check whether the File vault is on or off. If it is on, then turn it off.

7. Force restart your Mac

Finally, the last alternative you can try if all others fail would be Force shutting down your Mac. To do this, press the Control and Command keys first, then have the Mac's power button. If you don't have a power button, you'll need to hold Control and Command plus the Eject or Touch ID buttons instead. Hold the button for 10 seconds, and your Mac's screen should go black. Wait about 30 seconds before starting your machine up again. A restart must fix most of the issues preventing your Mac from shutting down properly. However, if you've been facing this, what to do when your MacBook doesn't shut down the problem with your MacBook more frequently might not hurt to take it to a technician for some professional help. It wouldn't be wrong to run some checks to find out what was causing the problem.

Read Also: Common MacBook Laptop Problems and Solution

How to prevent future shutdown problems

If it's a software issue, you can rectify it using specific steps. Without running the problem-causing software, try restarting your MacBook. If an app hinders the shutdown procedure, try "Check for software updates." You can also use an alternative app and ditch the existing app if it favors you. 

You need to update the MacOS regularly to prevent any issues. Checking the software updates is an easy-breezy task consisting of two steps: Go to System Preferences and select Software Update.

●    Boot using Safe mode

To prevent the same problem in the future, you should restart your MacBook in Shut Down. click Continue in Safe Mode.">safe mode. This reduces the chances of shutting down issues to a great extent. Safely, scanning of the startup disk is done for different topics. The Mac operating system tries to fix any detectable problems. Various kernels, fonts, system caches, and others are also deleted in safe mode. To boot your MacBook into safe mode, follow the given steps:-

  1. Turn off your Mac. (either commonly or Force shut down if required)
  2. Press the power button; after that instant, press and hold either of the shift keys.
  3. When the login window appears, release the shift key. Afterward, log in as you usually do.

Read Also: How to Take Screenshots on Apple MacBook Air & Pro

●    Reset your SMC

SMC refers to the System Management Controller responsible for low-level MacBook functions. It is a chip placed in the MacBook's logic keyboard. It is accountable for keyboard backlighting, battery charging, and power management. Often, the SMC causes power issues in your MacBook. If you face chronic shutdown problems, try resetting the SMC and seeing whether it works. For Macbooks with removable batteries:-

  1. Turn your Macbook off.
  2. Remove the battery.
  3. For five seconds, press and hold on the power button.
  4. Reconnect the battery as well as the power.
  5. Turn on your MacBook.

For MacBook without removable battery:-

  1. Unplug the power
  2. hut down your MacBook.
  3. Hold these keys together- Shift(left), Control, Option.
  4. Press and hold the power button down.
  5. For 10 seconds, keep all the four keys pressed down. After that, let go simultaneously.
  6. Turn on the Mac after plugging in the power cable.

●    Reset PRAM/NVRAM

The Mac uses parameter RAM and non-volatile RAM to store various settings, including resolution, time zone information, and startup disk preference. Although generally, PRAM/NVRAM doesn't affect the shutting down of your Mac, it's with giving a shot for future prevention. Resetting of both PRAM and NVRAM is similar and consists of the following steps:-

  1. Firstly, power off your MacBook.
  2. Press and instantly release the power button(In some MacBooks, the power button is the Touch ID button).
  3. Immediately press and hold the keys: Option, Command, P, and R.
  4. Release the keys after approximately 20 seconds. Your MacBook will start up as usual.

Read Also: MacBook Screen Replacement Cost in India | 13 | 15 | 16 Inch


It becomes quite frustrating and exhausting when the MacBook repeatedly causes problems in shutting down. This article offers various solutions for "what to do when your MacBook doesn't shut down." I hope you find this article helpful in dealing with MacBook shutting-down issues.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Laptop Repair | Computer Repair | Printer Repair

There are different ways to force shut down your MacBook, which includes:- By holding the power button By using a keyboard shortcut By draining the battery

For users, who work on MacBook daily, it is recommended to use the "Sleep" option. For users, who don't use the Macbook daily, shutting down is a better option.

To restart a frozen MacBook, follow the given steps:- Press and hold the command and control keys Along with these, have the power button. Wait until the screen appears black and your MacBook starts.

Macbooks often take a longer time to shut down due to various reasons, which may include:- Hanging software, low disk space, cache issues.
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