How to Shut Down Your MacBook

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You can shut down your MacBook by clicking the Apple logo, then selecting “Shut Down…” Alternatively, you can use a keyboard shortcut or press and hold the power button on the keyboard. 

I’m Jon, an experienced MacBook user, engineer, and owner of a 2019 MacBook Pro (which I shut down at least once weekly). 

I put together this guide to show you three methods of quickly shutting down your MacBook, so keep reading to learn how. 

3 Ways to Shutdown Your MacBook

Here are the top three ways to turn off your MacBook. Before you shut down your MacBook, always close and/or save open programs or applications to prevent data loss.

Method 1: Standard Shutdown

The standard method is the most common way to shut down your computer, which most MacBook owners use. Again, always make sure to close and/or save programs or applications before shutting down your MacBook.

To perform a standard shutdown:

  • Click on the Apple menu in the top-left of your screen.
  • Then click on Shut Down from this drop-down menu.

That’s all there is to a standard shutdown. It might take your computer a few seconds or a few minutes to prepare for the shutdown and actually turn it off, but the steps above will get your Mac shut down most of the time.

If you have applications open, your MacBook may prompt you to close and save the applications before proceeding with the shutdown. 

Method 2: Key Command Method

Using a simple key command, you can also initiate your MacBook to shut down. This is my favorite method of shutting down as it is really fast and easy to do once you know the command.

The key command to shut down your MacBook is Command + Option + Control + Eject/Power.

Simply hold down the command, option, and control buttons, then press the eject/power key, which is usually on the top right of the keyboard on most Apple keyboards. 

When you press these keys together, the shutdown dialog box will appear, and you can click on shutdown to turn off the Mac completely. 

If you hit your computer’s power once, this dialogue box will also appear, and you can also shut it down that way.

Method 3: Force Shutdown

The final way to shut down your computer is through a force shutdown.

You could use this method if your computer freezes or locks up and no other keys or commands work to gain control back over the machine. 

You should only do a forced shutdown if your Mac becomes unresponsive or frozen. Don’t do it whenever you want to shut down your MacBook, as it can lead to data loss and other issues.

To force a shutdown on your MacBook:

Press and hold the power button on your computer until it shuts down or hold down the Control, Option, Command, and Eject keys all at once until your computer shuts down.

When to Shut Down Your MacBook

There are several reasons to shut down your MacBook.

Some are simply personal preferences, while others are important for your MacBook’s longevity and health.

Saves Power and Battery

If you are using your MacBook but don’t have reliable options for charging it back to full power, shutting it down when not in use can save your battery.

By shutting down the computer completely, your display and other power-hungry functions won’t come on while your Mac is not in use.

Keeping your MacBook shut down when not in use also saves power if you’re concerned about environmental impact.

You Will Not Use Your Mac for Awhile

Another reason to shut down your MacBook is if you will not be using it for a while.

Maybe you are headed on vacation and not bringing your computer along, or perhaps you will just be away from your desk for a few days. 

Either way, shutting down your MacBook in these instances can save power, make sure nothing operates while you are not present, and can prevent family or friends from logging in.

To Prevent Automatic Processes

Whether you know it or not, a handful of automatic processes occur on your MacBook, whether it is fully on or even in Sleep mode.

Computer maintenance tasks such as loading new emails, downloading updates, and storing data in the cloud can all happen automatically. 

This is pretty handy, but if you don’t want these processes to occur automatically, you can shut down your Mac instead of putting it to sleep.

Final Thoughts

If you need to shut down your MacBook, you can hit the Apple logo and select shutdown, use a keyboard shortcut, or hold down the power button to force shutdown.

Before shutting down your MacBook, always save applications and documents first. Also, do not force a shutdown unless it’s absolutely necessary for an unresponsive computer.

How often do you shut down your MacBook? What is your main reason for shutting down?

About Jonathon Jachura
Jonathon is a mechanical engineer with over ten years of experience. He is an Apple fan who currently holds a Macbook Pro (512 GB, 16GB RAM), iPad Pro 12.9", iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple Watch 3, and 4x Acer 23" monitors.

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  • Avatar

    Michael Church

    The data above does not correspond with Macbook Air computers with the M1 chip:.MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
    1) There is no eject key (?) Substitution of the esc key does not appear workable.
    2) The standard method of holding the power button for forced shutdown is not responsive.
    I continue to search for a keyboard combo for shutdown. Any suggestions?

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    Judy Oehl

    I’ve attempted to force/shut down using the key commands but NOTHING is responding!
    Opened Keychainaccess and that’s what is gumming up the works! Keychain access is frozen and I’m unable to do anything.

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    Robin Rosenberg Peterson

    Thanks for the tips. My MacBook was frozen so I forced a quit by holding down the power button. However, your other method was to hold down, simultaneously, Cmmand, Option, Control, and Eject. I don’t have an Eject button on my MacBook Pro, or at least, it is not labeled Eject.

    • macbookproslow logo


      It’s esc (at the top left corner of your keyboard).

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    The shutdown was successful, thank you very much

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    Thank you for your straight forward, easily understood guidance on shutting down my Mac. Im technologically challenged and I actually shut the frozen thing down with your help. Very grateful and appreciative.

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    MacBookAir M1 chip doesn’t have eject button. What to do?

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    Thank you very much! Your suggestions really helped me out!