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TheFix: Make All Programs Quit With the Red Button

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What is the deal with that red button in the top left corner of your Mac applications, anyway? This question often vexes new Mac users who are perplexed to find that clicking it doesn’t always quit an application.

Here’s how to fix that.

Carston Mielke, like many of us, noticed the discrepancy between the red button’s lack of closure, so to speak. But he decided to do something about it.

First, let me interject a bit of explanation: The red button, situated there next to the yellow and green buttons, is a “close window” button. Depending on the app, “close window” may or may not equate to quitting the program. Apps in which you have multiple windows open, for example, will only close a single one of those windows when you click on the red button. The confusion stems primarily from Windows PC users, who are used to a similar button letting users quit out of programs.

Carston Mielke’s solution to this cognitive dissonance is RedQuits, a quick little download that gives your red button the power to close all windows and quit out of any app. It runs in the background, without any kind of user interface or preferences. Works like a charm, too. To revert to the red button’s usual purpose, just quit out of RedQuits.

But there are a few caveats. When RedQuits quits a program, it really quits. For example, opening an email message in its own window and then clicking the red button closes your entire email program. Or clicking the red button on an open Finder window actually closes Finder. It’s an all-powerful weapon, so use with care. You can still use Cmd+Q to close individual windows. It also has to stay open in your Dock, taking up space there. Hopefully a future version will put the icon in the Menu Bar up top, instead.

Kossi Adzo

Kossi Adzo

Kossi Adzo is a technology enthusiast and digital strategist with a fervent passion for Apple products and the innovative technologies that orbit them. With a background in computer science and a decade of experience in app development and digital marketing, Kossi brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to the Apple Gazette team.

4 thoughts on “TheFix: Make All Programs Quit With the Red Button

  1. This sounds like a fix for a problem that doesn’t exist. Anyone who has run a Mac for any length of time knows that the “red button” closes that window (without “quitting” the associated program. There are small percentage of programs that actually “Quit” if you poke the “red button”, but not many. I don’t understand the reason for RedQuits. If you want to close a window, hit the “red button”, if you want to “Quit” the program (and close all associated windows), type CMD+Q (or select “Quit” from the program’s main menu. Check out a little program that really DOES something useful; try “Moom” that adds useful functionality and options to the “green button”. Cheers!

    1. Idiot. It is beyond me why they made a red button in the first place. Why exactly would I want my “Safari” window closed but NOT my safari application exited? If I really wanted my application to stay open I would use the YELLOW button beside it which MINIMIZES the app to the dock. The red button basically does the same thing! And how confusing is that having the Safari menu still up after you click the red button!? Furthermore, most people HATE remembering keyboard shortcuts. Quitting an application shouldn’t have to be a keyboard shortcut nor should it be a 2 step process. I’m sorry, but Windows has it RIGHT here. If there is more than ONE window of a particular application, then the X button closes the window. If it is the LAST window of the application it EXITS the APP. DUH!!

    2. I couldn’t agree more with Sandeep. Red and Yellow buttons seem to be completely identical, ie a waste of buttons. Ok, I now know there is a small difference, but for most programs they do the same. That’s stupid and unintuitive design. In most cases I am quite impressed with Apple’s design and user friendliness, but here it is fucked up.
      Having said that, though, I don’t want a program to be running in the background just to make the red button work. Instead, I am just ignoring the red button and remember to use CMD-Q

  2. i tried redquits and it doesnt work on safari – just greys out quit button – all other apps seem to work ok

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