Handy Keyboard Shortcuts To Shut Down Mac Or Make Mac Sleep [OS X Tips]

A built-in power schedule

Under Energy Saver settings, MacOS has a built-in wake and sleep schedule.

Taylor Martin/CNET

To enable it and create a schedule, go to System Preferences > Energy Saver and click Schedule… in the lower right corner of the window. There you can set a time and day (weekends or weekdays, too) that the Mac will start up or wake, as well as a time and day(s) when it will restart, shut down or sleep.

As useful as the schedule feature is, it’s limited in how it can work. Still, you could use it to shut down your computer at a specific time. Just select a time for the sleep or shutdown to happen after the process is expected to finish.

Finder and system shortcuts

  • Command-D: Duplicate the selected files.
  • Command-E: Eject the selected disk or volume.
  • Command-F: Start a Spotlight search in the Finder window.
  • Command-I: Show the Get Info window for a selected file.
  • Command-R: (1) When an alias is selected in the Finder: show the original file for the selected alias. (2) In some apps, such as Calendar or Safari, refresh or reload the page. (3) In Software Update preferences, check for software updates again.
  • Shift-Command-C: Open the Computer window.
  • Shift-Command-D: Open the desktop folder.
  • Shift-Command-F: Open the Recents window, showing all of the files you viewed or changed recently.
  • Shift-Command-G: Open a Go to Folder window.
  • Shift-Command-H: Open the Home folder of the current macOS user account.
  • Shift-Command-I: Open iCloud Drive.
  • Shift-Command-K: Open the Network window.
  • Option-Command-L: Open the Downloads folder.
  • Shift-Command-N: Create a new folder.
  • Shift-Command-O: Open the Documents folder.
  • Shift-Command-P: Show or hide the Preview pane in Finder windows.
  • Shift-Command-R: Open the AirDrop window.
  • Shift-Command-T: Show or hide the tab bar in Finder windows. 
  • Control-Shift-Command-T: Add selected Finder item to the Dock (OS X Mavericks or later)
  • Shift-Command-U: Open the Utilities folder.
  • Option-Command-D: Show or hide the Dock. 
  • Control-Command-T: Add the selected item to the sidebar (OS X Mavericks or later).
  • Option-Command-P: Hide or show the path bar in Finder windows.
  • Option-Command-S: Hide or show the Sidebar in Finder windows.
  • Command–Slash (/): Hide or show the status bar in Finder windows.
  • Command-J: Show View Options.
  • Command-K: Open the Connect to Server window.
  • Control-Command-A: Make an alias of the selected item.
  • Command-N: Open a new Finder window.
  • Option-Command-N: Create a new Smart Folder.
  • Command-T: Show or hide the tab bar when a single tab is open in the current Finder window.
  • Option-Command-T: Show or hide the toolbar when a single tab is open in the current Finder window.
  • Option-Command-V: Move the files in the Clipboard from their original location to the current location.
  • Command-Y: Use Quick Look to preview the selected files.
  • Option-Command-Y: View a Quick Look slideshow of the selected files.
  • Command-1: View the items in the Finder window as icons.
  • Command-2: View the items in a Finder window as a list.
  • Command-3: View the items in a Finder window in columns. 
  • Command-4: View the items in a Finder window in a gallery.
  • Command–Left Bracket ([): Go to the previous folder.
  • Command–Right Bracket (]): Go to the next folder.
  • Command–Up Arrow: Open the folder that contains the current folder.
  • Command–Control–Up Arrow: Open the folder that contains the current folder in a new window.
  • Command–Down Arrow: Open the selected item.
  • Right Arrow: Open the selected folder. This works only when in list view.
  • Left Arrow: Close the selected folder. This works only when in list view.
  • Command-Delete: Move the selected item to the Trash.
  • Shift-Command-Delete: Empty the Trash.
  • Option-Shift-Command-Delete: Empty the Trash without confirmation dialog.
  • Command–Brightness Down: Turn video mirroring on or off when your Mac is connected to more than one display.
  • Option–Brightness Up: Open Displays preferences. This works with either Brightness key.
  • Control–Brightness Up or Control–Brightness Down: Change the brightness of your external display, if supported by your display.
  • Option–Shift–Brightness Up or Option–Shift–Brightness Down: Adjust the display brightness in smaller steps. Add the Control key to this shortcut to make the adjustment on your external display, if supported by your display.
  • Option–Mission Control: Open Mission Control preferences.
  • Command–Mission Control: Show the desktop. 
  • Control–Down Arrow: Show all windows of the front app.
  • Option–Volume Up: Open Sound preferences. This works with any of the volume keys.
  • Option–Shift–Volume Up or Option–Shift–Volume Down: Adjust the sound volume in smaller steps.
  • Option–Keyboard Brightness Up: Open Keyboard preferences. This works with either Keyboard Brightness key.
  • Option–Shift–Keyboard Brightness Up or Option–Shift–Keyboard Brightness Down: Adjust the keyboard brightness in smaller steps.
  • Option key while double-clicking: Open the item in a separate window, then close the original window.
  • Command key while double-clicking: Open a folder in a separate tab or window.
  • Command key while dragging to another volume: Move the dragged item to the other volume, instead of copying it. 
  • Option key while dragging: Copy the dragged item. The pointer changes while you drag the item.
  • Option-Command while dragging: Make an alias of the dragged item. The pointer changes while you drag the item.
  • Option-click a disclosure triangle: Open all folders within the selected folder. This works only when in list view.
  • Command-click a window title: See the folders that contain the current folder.
  • Learn how to use Command or Shift to select multiple items in the Finder
  • Click the Go menu in the Finder menu bar to see shortcuts for opening many commonly used folders, such as Applications, Documents, Downloads, Utilities, and iCloud Drive.


Text Keyboard Shortcuts

It might slow you down to switch from your keyboard to your mouse while typing. Whether you use Word, Pages, or Text Edit, here are some shortcuts to make you work more efficiently.

  • Command + Control + D to get a definition. Find out what a word means without even going online. Just highlight the desired word, then hit this shortcut to see the word’s definition from your Mac’s built-in dictionary and thesaurus.
  • Option + Delete to delete the previous word. Use this keyboard shortcut to quickly erase the word to the left of the cursor, so you don’t have to repeatedly hit the Delete button.
  • Command + Delete – With this shortcut, you can delete lines in one go. Just hit Command + Delete, and you can get rid of one line of text starting from the left of your cursor’s current position.

Log out of current user account with Keyboard Shortcut

Command + Shift + Q: Press this key combination to log out of the current user account. Log out will happen after confirmation.

Command + Shift + Option + Q: When you add Option key to the mix, you will not be asked to confirm and log out will occur right away.

How to Force Shut Down a Mac

If you tried the quick fixes above and you still can’t shut down your Mac, here’s how to perform a force shut down and get it working again.

Force Quit Unresponsive Apps

Before performing a force shut down, try to force quit the unresponsive apps. 

  1. If you can’t manually close and quit an app, select Option + Command + Esc.
  1. Select the app and then select Force Quit to close it down. Once you force quit the apps, try shutting down your Mac normally.

If nothing happens after force quitting unresponsive apps, try the following methods of performing a forced shut down on your Mac.

Use the Power Button 

You can use the power button on your Mac to force shut down the computer. The power button may be a blank Touch ID sensor, or it may have a power or eject symbol on it. 

Here’s how to find the Power button based on the Mac model you’re using: 

  • MacBook with physical F1-F12 keys: Upper right corner of the keyboard.
  • MacBook Air (2018): Touch ID at the top right side of the keyboard. 
  • MacBook Pro with Touch Bar: Touch ID surface at the extreme right side of the Touch Bar.
  • iMac: Behind the bottom left corner of your screen, or the bottom right if you’re looking at the back of the machine. 

Note: For older Macs with optical drives, the power button is also the Eject button.

Press and hold the power button for about 10 seconds or more until the Mac screen goes black. Once the Mac shuts down, give it a few minutes before powering it back on again.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts 

If your Mac still won’t shut down, you can use keyboard shortcuts to safely close apps first or perform a forced shut down without closing any apps or open documents. 

  1. To safely close apps and shut down your Mac, press Control + Option + Command + Power button. 
  1. If your Mac can’t safely close apps, press and hold the Control + Command + Power button for a few seconds to force your Mac to shut down. 

Remove Power Supply and Drain the Battery 

You can also force your Mac to shut down by removing the power supply and draining the battery. This method is potentially damaging to your Mac as you may create corrupt files on your hard drive and lose unsaved data altogether. 

Use this method only as a last resort. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Unplug the power cable on your iMac, Mac Mini or Mac Pro and wait for the battery to drain until the computer completely turns off. 
  1. Once the Mac is off, charge it back up and then power it on. If you have an old MacBook model, remove the battery from underneath the computer to force it to shut down. 

How to Force Restart a Mac

If you’re unable to use apps on your Mac or the computer froze up, you can force restart or force reboot it to get things running again. 

While a force restart is a quick method, you should only use it as a last resort after exhausting all other options. 

  1. If your Mac is unresponsive and you can’t use any apps, hold down the Control key while pressing the Power button, and then select Restart from the shutdown dialog.
  1. Press and hold the Command + Control + Power button until the screen goes black and the computer reboots. 

Sleep and Shutdown Shortcuts

You can even shut down your Mac with these keyboard shortcuts.

  • Option + Command + Power Button to put Mac to Sleep. Use this keyboard shortcut if you want to put your computer’s display to sleep. This will not require you to sign in again.
  • Control + Power Button to bring up your shut down menu. From there, you can choose to restart, sleep, cancel shut down, or shut down your Mac.
  • Control + Command + Power Button – Force-restarts your Mac without saving open or unsaved files. This is a great shortcut to know if your computer is acting up.

Adding these shortcuts to your workflow will help you do more things faster. If you use keyboard shortcuts to take screenshots, find out how to change where those screenshots are saved by checking out our previous article here.

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