Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm developing a full screen app that I just launched that has apparently completely stolen the keyboard to the point where nothing can get me out. Not command-option-esc, not command-option-shift-esc, not command-tab, nothing. Moving the mouse to the edge of the screen doesn't bring anything up. Can someone help me before I just force shutdown?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you have an Apple keyboard, you could try using one of the function keys that brings up Mission Control or shows the desktop — typically F3 or F4, but it may vary depending on the vintage of keyboard (it may be fn-F3/F4/etc. depending on your system preferences).

If that doesn't work, try bringing up the shutdown dialog with either the power button or ctrl-eject. That might be enough to release keyboard control and allow you to command-tab out. At the very least you should be able to perform a clean shut down.

Finally, if you happen to have Remote Login enabled (in Sharing Preferences), you could SSH in from another machine and kill the errant process.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, but I tried all of that. Nothing worked. I've already forced reboot. But I'm going to set up ssh so I can kill it in future. Thanks. – Linuxios Nov 22 '12 at 0:33
Was your app still clearly running? If the power button didn't work, it may be that your system hard locked (which is unusual for a Mac, typically it kernel panics if fully locked up, but it's possible). – robmathers Nov 22 '12 at 0:35
I still don't understand how a cocoa app took such full keyboard control. It's not a bad thing, as it is an education app for which control is a good thing, I just have to add a get out of fullscreen option. – Linuxios Nov 22 '12 at 0:35
nope. The mouse still moved, and pandora still played. I wouldn't call that a hard lock. – Linuxios Nov 22 '12 at 0:35
That is strange. My Cocoa knowledge is mostly limited to iOS, so I can't offer any help there, but perhaps run your full-screen code past StackOverflow to check for anything wonky. – robmathers Nov 22 '12 at 0:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.