How to Restart Mission Control in Mac OS X

If you make any customizations to Mission Control, or if you encounter obvious problems with how Desktops and apps are handled and assigned, you can restart Mission Control without having to reboot the entire Mac.


Forcibly restarting Mission Control is done by killing the Dock, where Mission Control is a child process of, and this is also why when you want to change the Mission Control background image you kill the Dock.

You can kill the Dock in two ways:

  • Using Activity Monitor
  • Using the Terminal

The command line method is much faster if you’re comfortable with Terminal.app, launch Terminal from /Applications/Utilities/ and type the following command:

killall Dock

The Dock and all subprocesses will restart themselves automatically, including Mission Control.

Using the task management tool Activity Monitor is the other option for those who prefer staying within the GU and avoiding the command line:

  • Hit Command+Space to bring up Spotlight and type in “Activity Monitor”
  • In the upper right corner of Activity Monitor, find the search box and type “Dock”
  • Select the process and then click on the big red “Quit Process” button, confirming in the dialogue box by selecting ‘Force Quit’

Again, the Dock and Mission Control will automatically restart themselves.

Whichever method you choose to perform the restart, this can be a great troubleshooting tip if you’re running into peculiarities with graphical artifacts, irregular Desktop Spaces assignments, and other generally buggy behavior within Mission Control.

Thanks for the tip Mike This works in all versions of OS X with Mission Control, from Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, etc.

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