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How do I shut down a MacBook Air with the keyboard?

MacBook Air
Off you go: shut down your Mac with a shortcut

Are you looking for a quick way to fully shut down your MacBook Air with only the keyboard? Or any Mac for that matter…

Yes, you can hold down the power button but that isn’t a “clean” shutdown – it just turns the device straight off, whereas using the “Shut down” menu option, or using a key combination, will make all apps close before shutting your laptop off.

Can it be done and, if so, how? Read on to find out.

Shut down your MacBook Air: keyboard shortcut

To shutdown your MacBook Air, press the following keys at the same time:

  • Control
  • Option
  • Command
  • Power

If you have an eject button on your keyboard then you can use that instead of the power button.

But there’s a caveat. A big caveat. Your device has to be pre-Touch ID. If you can use a fingerprint to unlock your device then, sadly, that key combination won’t work. And, what’s worse, there isn’t a replacement set of keys. But, there are a couple of alternatives:

  1. Using the menu. Yes, I know, a lame alternative but click the Apple logo in the top left and select Shut Down from the drop down menu.
  2. Use an Apple Magic Keyboard, but the older model without Touch ID. That has an eject button and will work even on a device with Touch ID.
  3. Use the free Raycast app, which allows you to shut down your Mac from keyboard alone. To do that, you just have to invoke Raycast (usually with Command + space bar or Option + space bar, depending on which combo you choose during set-up) and then type ‘”shut” in the prompt that appears. Select Shut Down from the options that appear and the system will fully shut down. The excellent utility Alfred will also allow you to shut down via a pre-determined phrase that you put into its search bar.

One of the biggest advantages to being able to shut down your device from the keyboard is for those who can’t access the laptop keyboard because they’re using an external one and the laptop is closed.

Other MacBook shortcuts that only work without Touch ID

Shutting down your laptop isn’t the only key combination that only works if you’re not using Touch ID. There are others too, including:

  • Press and hold the power button for 1.5 seconds to put your MacBook Air to sleep
  • Press Option, Command, and the power button (or eject) to put your Mac to sleep
  • Press Control, Shift and Power (or Eject) to put your displays to sleep
  • Press Control and Power (or Eject) to display a dialog asking whether you want to restart, sleep, or shut down
  • Press Control, Command and Power to force your Mac to restart, without prompting to save any unsaved documents

Where is the delete key on a Mac keyboard?

About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind WordPress.com and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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