In OSX, pressing C-x C-c closes all Emacs windows instead of only the selected one. This isn't the bahavior I've come to esxpect from using Emacs on Windows, Ubuntu,or CentOS. What's up?

  • C-x C-c exits Emacs, i.e. it closes all open frames. It works the same on all operating systems. If you just want to close the current frame, use C-x 5 0. Jun 4, 2019 at 8:21
  • @Lindydancer On other systems opening a new file from outside creates a new instance.
    – Aido
    Jun 4, 2019 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


C-x C-c is for Kill Emacs (save-buffers-kill-terminal).

Maybe on other systems you are using emacsclient, then

C-x C-c behaves specially if you are using Emacs as a server. If you type it from a client frame, it closes the client connection.

Or maybe you run multiple instances of Emacs?

To close only one frame use C-x 5 0 or s-w.

This command delete current frame or kill Emacs if there are only one frame:

(defun close-frame-or-kill-emacs ()
  "Delete frame or kill Emacs if there are only one frame."
  (if (> (length (frame-list)) 1)
  • Darn, that's really annoying. C-x 5 0 and s-w won't close the last frame either. On other systems I just use the default emacs or emacs.exe, however it comes.
    – Aido
    Jun 3, 2019 at 20:43
  • 2
    @Aido, in the absence of the client/server feature, C-x C-c has always been for quitting the Emacs instance -- which means closing all of its frames. If you are not using emacsclient then the only explanation which makes any sense is that, rather than using multiple frames of a single Emacs instance, you are running multiple instances of Emacs (in which case C-x C-c would close only the one you were using at that time).
    – phils
    Jun 4, 2019 at 0:01
  • @phils Yeah, it looks like that. I've got a script from my dad that randomizes the background color of each instance, and on OSX they're all the same until you close and reopen every window.
    – Aido
    Jun 4, 2019 at 5:20
  • 1
    @Aido Added close-frame-or-kill-emacs command to answer. Bind it to s-w so it will "close" the last frame.
    – muffinmad
    Jun 4, 2019 at 8:19
  • @muffinmad Good idea, thank you!
    – Aido
    Jun 4, 2019 at 13:33

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