Stupid question. I know. Please help

jc0481

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2005
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When using Mac OS X and your using different browsers with multiple browser pages (browsers as an example) and clicking the red close button does it actually "close" the program or it does not? I was just curious because I heard it once can't remember but what kind of benefits does it have? thanks
 

eva01

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2005
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Gah! Plymouth
it will just close the window, you can also just use "command + w".

the benefits are that you don't have to have windows open when running the program, like if you are using iTunes you don't have to have the player window on your desktop all the time, helps a lot with multitasking. I could never be without it
 

johan_tanying

macrumors member
Nov 28, 2004
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Gothenburg
Also: Even if the program is running after closing all its windows, it takes very little system resources (memory, cpu etc). Check with Activity Monitor (Tools in the Program Folder). And when you want to use the program again it is almost instant-on. In OS X it is possible to leave a tremendous amount of programs open at the same time without really affecting overall performance (unless all those programs are doing some simultaneous heavy lifting of course).
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,154
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The Cool Part of CA, USA
It's very easy to check whether a program is actually running or not: just have a look at its Dock icon. If there's a little black triangle under it, it's open. If there isn't, it's not.

And although all current web browsers stay open even after you close their last window (this is a good thing--saves on relaunch time for those who like to leave them running), there are some single-window applications that do auto-quit when you close all their windows. Calculator and iPhoto, for example, do this, and I believe the 10.4 Address Book does, too.
 

Doctor Q

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Sep 19, 2002
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Makosuke said:
And although all current web browsers stay open even after you close their last window (this is a good thing--saves on relaunch time for those who like to leave them running), there are some single-window applications that do auto-quit when you close all their windows. Calculator and iPhoto, for example, do this, and I believe the 10.4 Address Book does, too.
Address Book stays active if you close the window (I'm under OS X 10.4.1), but the point remains that you shouldn't care. If you close the Address Book window and then later select Address Book from the dock, the window reopens so user confusion is unlikely.

System Preferences now quits when you close the window, which was not always true. Under Jaguar, the System Preferences application stayed running, but again it didn't really matter.
 

toneloco2881

macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2005
357
5
Does anyone know why some applications quit when closing, while others close but remain running? Not a problem, but i was just wondering whether there was an actual reason, or if it was just arbitrary.
 

eva01

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2005
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Gah! Plymouth
i believe system preferences quits when you close window, can't think of many more.

and to add you can scroll through your open programs by "command + tab" and you can quit a program easier by "command +tab" tab over to the program you want while still holding command then just press Q and it quits
 

Nickygoat

macrumors 6502a
Dec 11, 2004
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London
toneloco2881 said:
Does anyone know why some applications quit when closing, while others close but remain running? Not a problem, but i was just wondering whether there was an actual reason, or if it was just arbitrary.
The only thing I've noticed is that system apps close when you close the window (Sys Preferences etc) whereas user apps (browser, iTunes etc) just close the window but not the app. Maybe its just me.
 

Doctor Q

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toneloco2881 said:
Does anyone know why some applications quit when closing, while others close but remain running? Not a problem, but i was just wondering whether there was an actual reason, or if it was just arbitrary.
I believe the distinction is that an application that allows multiple windows of a given type to be open (which includes most document-oriented applications) should stay open even if zero of those windows are open, whereas an application based on one particular windows (these tend to be utilities) can quit if you close that window. Perhaps in such cases the window itself should now offer a "close" button, but that leads to user annoyance.

But it's not always true. Disk Utility, for example, quits if you close the last window even though you can have many of them open.

This inconsistency is unfortunate because consistency helps ease of use by having applications do what the user expects them to do, and on this issue Apple has not made it clear that a consistent rule is followed.
 

wiseguy27

macrumors 6502
Apr 30, 2005
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USA
it's quite arbitrary

Doctor Q said:
I believe the distinction is that an application that allows multiple windows of a given type to be open (which includes most document-oriented applications) should stay open even if zero of those windows are open, whereas an application based on one particular windows (these tend to be utilities) can quit if you close that window. Perhaps in such cases the window itself should now offer a "close" button, but that leads to user annoyance.

But it's not always true. Disk Utility, for example, quits if you close the last window even though you can have many of them open.

This inconsistency is unfortunate because consistency helps ease of use by having applications do what the user expects them to do, and on this issue Apple has not made it clear that a consistent rule is followed.
This inconsistency was one of the first things I noticed when I got a Mac a month ago. It is annoying in a way because when I initially got it, I remembered reading that Cmd+Q was to quit an app and closing a window would still have the application running (without any visible windows). Now I find that I have to "learn and know" which applications would quit on Cmd+Q and which ones would quit on Cmd+W. :(

From http://www.apple.com/support/mac101/tour/5/
'Keep in mind that closing a window (by clicking the round, red button) will typically not quit the application.'
{emphasis of 'typically' mine}

I'd definitely appreciate some consistency or a common guideline that could make it easier for users to understand the difference when closing would also quit an application. One would expect Apple to follow a consistent rule in its own apps, but they don't in this case!

For me, it matters whether or not an application is running and I would like to be in control of the usage of memory to some extent (although the OS would definitely be optimized to retain an application in memory even after quitting).
 

Macky-Mac

macrumors 68030
May 18, 2004
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wiseguy27 said:
... Now I find that I have to "learn and know" which applications would quit on Cmd+Q and which ones would quit on Cmd+W. :(
....
really you don't have to bother with the "learn and know" thing........just assume that ALL of them are still running until you tell them to quit.......that's how the great majority of programs work on the Mac anyway.....and the relatively few that also quit when you close the window, well since they're not running after you close the window, you don't have to worry about them as far memory control issues are concerned....generally speaking anyway
 

Lunja

macrumors 6502
May 15, 2005
278
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Lincoln UK
eva01 said:
and to add you can scroll through your open programs by "command + tab" and you can quit a program easier by "command +tab" tab over to the program you want while still holding command then just press Q and it quits
YOU ARE A GOD! I've wanted to know that one for ages! Thanks!!
:D
 

Doctor Q

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Sep 19, 2002
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wiseguy27 said:
For me, it matters whether or not an application is running and I would like to be in control of the usage of memory to some extent (although the OS would definitely be optimized to retain an application in memory even after quitting).
I suspect you'd never be able to tell the difference. Memory allocated but not in use probably gets swapped out and therefore shouldn't prevent other applications from allocating and using whatever RAM they want. Perhaps when you logout (and applications are closed) there could be split-second delays to swap them in and quit them.

I used to be sure to quit applications I was done with, at least done with for a while, until I realized I was wasting my time - it didn't matter at all.

I dislike the inconsistency because it makes Macs less simple to explain, not because it makes any practical difference in the apps I use.