How to Restart Mac With Keyboard

Charlotte Daniels

Mac, Tutorials

Restarting your Mac using the keyboard can be a quick and convenient way to refresh your system. Whether you’re experiencing performance issues or simply need to restart after installing software updates, this tutorial will guide you through the steps to restart your Mac using only the keyboard.

Step 1: Saving Your Work
Before restarting your Mac, it’s important to save any unsaved work. Press Command + S to save any open documents or files. This ensures that you won’t lose any progress during the restart process.

Step 2: Closing Applications
To ensure a smooth restart, it’s best to close all applications before proceeding. Press Command + Q to quit applications one by one or press Command + Option + Esc to force quit unresponsive applications.

Step 3: Opening the Apple Menu
To access the Apple menu, press Control + F2. This will highlight the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen.

Step 4: Navigating the Apple Menu
Once you have opened the Apple menu, use the arrow keys on your keyboard (up and down) to navigate through its options. Pressing Control + F3 will move focus from the application windows and other elements on your screen directly to the Apple menu.

Step 5: Selecting Restart
Use the arrow keys again to navigate down until “Restart” is highlighted. Once it’s selected, press the Return/Enter key.

  • If you wish to cancel and go back, navigate up or down until “Cancel” is highlighted, then press Return/Enter key.
  • If you have enabled a password for your Mac, you will be asked to enter it before the restart process begins.

Step 6: Confirming Restart
After selecting “Restart,” a dialog box will appear asking for confirmation. Use the arrow keys to navigate through the available options. Press Return/Enter key to confirm and proceed with the restart.

Step 7: Waiting for Restart
Once you have confirmed the restart, your Mac will begin shutting down and then automatically turn back on. This process may take a few moments, so be patient and wait for your Mac to fully restart.

Congratulations! You have successfully restarted your Mac using only the keyboard. This method can be particularly useful if you are unable to use the mouse or trackpad.

Remember, restarting your Mac periodically can help resolve various software issues and keep your system running smoothly. So, don’t hesitate to use this keyboard shortcut whenever necessary.


If you encounter any issues during the restart process, try these troubleshooting steps:

  • Force Restart: If your Mac becomes unresponsive during the restart process, press and hold the power button until it shuts off completely. Then press it again to turn it back on.
  • Safe Mode: If your Mac continues to have problems after a normal restart, you can try restarting it in Safe Mode by holding down the Shift key during startup.
  • PRAM/NVRAM Reset: If all else fails, you can also reset your Mac’s PRAM (Parameter RAM) or NVRAM (Non-Volatile RAM) by restarting while holding down Command + Option + P + R until you hear the startup sound for a second time.

These troubleshooting steps should help resolve most common issues experienced during the restart process. If problems persist, it may be necessary to seek further assistance from Apple Support or a certified technician.

Remember, the ability to restart your Mac using only the keyboard can be a valuable skill, especially in situations where your mouse or trackpad is not functioning correctly.

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