I tried parsing a gigantic XML file and I ended up running out of virtual memory. The OS put all my applications on pause and gave me a screen to shutdown applications to free more space. I killed the XML parsing application and now have tons of space but I can't resume my paused applications anymore. What should I do?


2 Answers 2


Find your paused app's process ID (using either Activity Monitor or ps -ax | grep ), then issue it the CONT signal using "kill" in the terminal (don't worry, "kill" is misnamed, it just sends a signal to an app - it's called kill because the default signal is QUIT)

% ps -ax | grep Safari
  461 ??        61:22.30 /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/MacOS/Safari -psn_0_180268
% kill -CONT 461
  • 7
    thanks for the hint! but it lead me into this similar solution: simply using killall -CONT Safari - feel free to add this to your answer! ;)
    – cregox
    Apr 13, 2011 at 15:46
  • 2
    Is there an easy way to find out which processes have been paused?
    – asmeurer
    May 24, 2012 at 23:04
  • 2
    Any advice on a situation where Terminal is in paused state?
    – Jawa
    Dec 23, 2012 at 12:05
  • @Jawa - open iterm if you have it, or X11, to get at the terminal some other way. Alternatively, ssh in from another machine. But these are workarounds, I'd love a better solution
    – keflavich
    Dec 23, 2012 at 19:40

To un-pause all applications, run this command in Terminal:

pkill -CONT -u $UID

or (as suggested here):

kill -CONT -1

To un-pause the specific app (such as Chrome), try:

kill -CONT $(pgrep Chrome)

Consider adding the following alias into your rc files (such as ~/.bashrc):

alias unpause="pkill -CONT -u $UID"

So next time you may just run: unpause.


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