Finder App Icon

Occasionally, you may need to restart the Finder on OS X. It may stop working, or you may enact some change that requires a Finder restart. On these rare occasions, it’s good to know how to quickly relaunch the Finder. There are actually several ways to do so. I’ll explore a couple of my favorite ways in the post that follows.

Restarting Finder on OS X

The simplest way to restart the Finder is to do so from the Finder icon on your dock

Relaunch Finder Icon

Step 1: hold the ⌥ (alt/option) key on your keyboard

Step 2: right click on the Finder icon in your dock

Step 3: click Relaunch

Or you can do the following:

Force Quit Finder

Step 1: open Finder

Step 2: click the  menu and hold Shift on your keyboard

Step 3: click Force Quit Finder

Okay, how about one more way?

killall Finder

Step 1: open Terminal

Step 2: type killall Finder

For all of these methods, the Finder will automatically restart. If it doesn’t, you can launch it from the dock by clicking on the Finder app icon.

There are other ways to restart the Finder, but these are a few of the easiest ways to do so. If your Finder is acting weird, then it may be a good idea to give it a relaunch via one of the above methods.

Have any tips about restarting the Finder that you’d like to share? If so, sound off down below in the comments with your thoughts and opinions.

  • Merman123

    I’ve been using “killall Finder” for years! None of my friends know much about Terminal so I like to surprise them at times :P.

    • Omar Al-Bazergan

      Or in terminal example say “something” the computer will say something haha I do that when im really bored at times

  • Brad

    Jeff, I love the OS X how-to kick you’re on. I’m a pretty new Hackintosher, and getting back some of the conveniences of Windows (that I’m surprised weren’t native) has been something I’ve been trying to do.

  • GuyWithTheThings

    Or you can Force Quit it. Do Command Option Escape in that order and highlight the Finder label on the menu that pops up. Then push “Return” twice on your keyboard and voíla. Also, this is useful if an app stops responding and it won’t do anything.

  • Jacque Miller

    Hey Jeff love these how to videos, been a Mac user for about a year now and I keep learning new things everyday from your vids. One question what are you using to get hover previews on your dock?

  • Thank you 🙂 Hmmm, I’ll have to look into doing an extensive task switching post soon.

  • Ferante

    my finder – in sierra – won’t quit with either method. 🙁 Sometimes it malfunctions in Sierra – like, stops being able to rename files – and then it is hard to force quit it. I usually use Activity Monitor, and after a few tries, have usually been able to quit it from there. But today – does not budge! Never had a case like this. Might reboot entire machine.