Kill processes by a full or partial name.
Syntax pgrep [-Lafilnoqvx] [-F pidfile] [-G gid] [-P ppid] [-U uid] [-d delim] [-g pgrp] [-t tty] [-u euid] pattern ... pkill [-signal] [-ILafilnovx] [-F pidfile] [-G gid] [-P ppid] [-U uid] [-g pgrp] [-t tty] [-u euid] pattern ... Key -F pidfile Restrict matches to a process whose PID is stored in the pidfile file. -G gid Restrict matches to processes with a real group ID in the comma-separated list gid. -I Request confirmation before attempting to signal each process. -L The pidfile file given for the -F option must be locked with the flock(2) syscall or created with pidfile(3). -P ppid Restrict matches to processes with a parent process ID in the comma-separated list ppid. -U uid Restrict matches to processes with a real user ID in the comma-separated list uid. -d delim Specify a delimiter to be printed between each process ID. The default is a newline. This option can only be used with the pgrep command. -a Include process ancestors in the match list. By default, the current pgrep or pkill process and all of its ancestors are excluded (unless -v is used). -f Match against full argument lists. The default is to match against process names. -g pgrp Restrict matches to processes with a process group ID in the comma-separated list pgrp. The value zero is taken to mean the process group ID of the running pgrep or pkill command. -i Ignore case distinctions in both the process table and the supplied pattern. -l Long output. For pgrep, print the process name in addition to the process ID for each matching process. If used in conjunction with -f, print the process ID and the full argument list for each matching process. For pkill, display the kill command used for each process killed. -n Select only the newest (most recently started) of the matching processes. -o Select only the oldest (least recently started) of the matching processes. -q Do not write anything to standard output. -t tty Restrict matches to processes associated with a terminal in the comma-separated list tty. Terminal names can be of the form ttyxx or the shortened form xx. A single dash (`-') matches processes not associated with a terminal. -u euid Restrict matches to processes with an effective user ID in the comma-separated list euid. -v Reverse the sense of the matching; display processes that do not match the given criteria. -x Require an exact match of the process name, or argument list if -f is given. The default is to match any substring. -signal A non-negative decimal number or symbolic signal name specifying the signal to be sent instead of the default TERM. This option is valid only when given as the first argument to pkill.
pgrep searches the process table on the running system and prints the process IDs of all processes that match the criteria given on the command line.
pkill searches the process table on the running system and signals all processes that match the criteria given on the command line.
If any pattern operands are specified, they are used as regular expressions to match the command name or full argument list of each process.
A running pgrep or pkill process will never consider itself as a potential match.
Common Kill Signals Signal name Signal value Effect SIGHUP 1 Hangup SIGINT 2 Interrupt from keyboard SIGQUIT 3 Quit SIGABRT 6 Cancel SIGKILL 9 Kill signal SIGTERM 15 Termination signal - allow an orderly shutdown SIGSTOP 17,19,23 Stop the process
0 One or more processes were matched.
1 No processes were matched.
2 Invalid options were specified on the command line.
3 An internal error occurred.
pkill does not perform a clean shutdown of an application where all data is saved and cleanup tasks performed.
This can be done with an AppleScript quit app command:
osascript -e 'quit app "QuickTime Player 7.0.app"'
Kill all the processes called com.IconServicesAgent, (stray processes after a user logout in macOS 10.9.4 and above)
$ sudo pkill -9 -fx com.IconServicesAgent
Kill the Dictionary service, if hung 'downloading' dictionaries:
$ sudo pkill -9 DictionaryServiceHelper
"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish it's source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals.
It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings" ~ Anais Nin
Related macOS commands:
ctrl+z / ctrl+c - Suspend/Interrupt a program.
kill - Kill a process by specifying its PID.
killall - Kill processes by name.
ps - Process status.
w - Show who is logged on and what they are doing.