Before we start
Having spent some years coding applications for macOS we’ve created a tool that everybody can use. The all-round problem fixer for Mac.
So here’s a tip for you: Download CleanMyMac to quickly solve some of the issues mentioned in this article. But to help you do it all by yourself, we’ve gathered our best ideas and solutions below.
Features described in this article refer to the MacPaw site version of CleanMyMac X.
Have you ever experienced a Mac so hot to the touch that you could probably fry an egg (iEgg?) on it? Or how about a Mac that has fans that are so noisy that it feels like you’re about to take flight? Well, the good news is that you’re not alone. Both issues are caused by overheating, which is a common concern among Mac users.
It’s not just the obvious physical examples that are the problem, a seriously overheated Mac will crash and shut down on its own and that is something you really don’t want to ignore. Even without reaching that extreme, overheating can slow down Mac performance and, over time, damage internal components such as the battery.
It’s important to note that it is normal for a Mac to heat up when working on heavy processes. Shutting down due to heat is most definitely not normal, and consistent overheating during regular use is also a sign that there might be a problem.
We’re going to show you how to monitor your Mac temperature and what you can do to help.
Check Your Mac’s Temperature
When you were young you might have experienced your mother using a thermometer to check whether your temperature meant you were sick. Personally, I was normally just faking, so the thermometer was a very helpful tool in my family.
In similar respects, your Mac family would benefit from an app like CleanMyMac X, which has a number of user-friendly tools for keeping your Mac performing at its best. For the problem of Mac overheating, CleanMyMac X allows you to check on the temperature of your hard drive and even lets you set up a smart health alert for high temperature to automatically monitor your Mac’s temperature and notify you when there is cause for concern.
If you’re particularly worried about your hard disk temperature you can download CleanMyMac for free and make sure you never miss a dangerous case of overheating.
How To Stop Your Mac From Overheating
Take Practical Measures
Let’s get the obvious tips out of the way first. Remember, sometimes the best solutions are also the most simple.
Use Macbooks on flat surfaces – Your Macbook is able to most effectively dissipate heat when placed on a flat surface.
Make sure vents aren’t covered – If you absolutely have to use your Macbook in bed or on your lap, try to minimize the blockage of the vents. Your Macbook could be overheating because your blanket is suffocating it.
Don’t use your Macbook in the sun – As tempting as it is to want to tan and do work at the same time, direct sunlight is only going to increase the chances of overheating.
Clear away the dust – Open up your Mac and use compressed air and a vacuum to carefully remove the buildup of dust that makes it harder for your Mac to keep cool.
Monitor Spotlight Indexing
If you aren’t using your Mac to perform a serious task but it is clearly heating up, take a look at the search magnifying glass icon in the top right of your desktop. If there is a pulsating dot inside the magnifying glass it means that Spotlight is indexing your data.
This automatic process can take several hours and use up a lot of your Mac’s resources. The best thing you can do is plug it in, place it somewhere cool and on a flat surface, and then go do something else while it finishes the important task of indexing.
Check Your Mac’s Fans
If your fans are making a strange noise there could be a physical problem with the fans themselves, which in turn would make your Mac more likely to overheat. To run a diagnostic on your Mac’s fans, follow these steps:
- Connect the power cable and shut down your Mac.
- Press the power button and hold down the D key before the startup screen.
- Follow the instructions. If using an older Mac, choose the “basic test”.
The diagnostics will pick up any problems with your fans.
Close Runaway Apps
If your Mac feels like it’s getting ready for a summer barbeque, get into the habit of using Activity Monitor (Applications -> Utilities) to find out what is to blame for the increase in your Mac’s temperature. Simply click the “CPU” column to sort by the most active processes. If an app, that isn’t currently working on an important task, is using close to 90% of the CPU, it is probably an unresponsive app that is now hogging your system resources.
You can use CleanMyMac X to quickly and easily close these applications and, if they are a continued headache and you’re sure they’re not needed, you can also use the Uninstaller to reset the application or completely remove it from your system.
Don’t Use Fan Control Apps
A lot of guides will suggest using third party fan control applications to increase the speed of your Mac’s fans. While this can lower the temperature of your Mac in the short term, it is also failing to address the cause of the overheating whilst putting more wear and tear onto your fans.
What’s more concerning is that by using a 3rd party app to alter physical properties of your Mac, you may actually be voiding your warranty. So when you finally discover that there is a hardware fault and you’re no longer under warranty, it’s probably going to hit you where it hurts the most – your wallet.
Fix An Overheating Mac: Chilled Mac > Overheating Mac
There can be no denying that keeping your Mac from regularly overheating is going to have a number of positive benefits, some of which include:
- Your Mac components will last longer.
- Your Mac will be more responsive and speedy.
- You won’t have the “Designed by Apple” burnt into the flesh of your thigh.
- You’re able to hear the movie you’re watching over the roar of your Mac’s fans.
Sounds good, right? So monitor your Mac’s temperature with CleanMyMac X and follow the steps in this guide to stop your Mac from overheating. Your thighs will thank you for it.
When you’re busy working hard on something, the last thing you want to worry about is technical problems. However, it’s hard to ignore a computer that’s hot to touch with noisy fans on full blast. So why is your computer overheating?
There are a number of reasons why your computer might be heating up. By getting to the bottom of things, you’ll help you Mac live a longer and happier life.
If you’re wondering how to stop your Mac from overheating, keep reading for a guide that’ll teach you seven things you can do.
1. Avoid Resource Hogging Applications
If your Mac seems to heat up on a regular basis, consider the applications that you’re using.
Your computer only has so much memory. When you use programs that require a lot of memory, it can cause problems. If you’re using applications such as Photoshop or Final Cut Pro to edit photos and videos, it could be causing your computer to work too hard. This, in turn, generates heat and causes the fans to turn on.
Some ordinary apps such as Google Chrome can also use a lot of memory. To see which apps are stressing your computer out the most, open Spotlight by pressing Command + Space, then type “Activity Monitor”. You can then see a list explaining the effect each program has.
2. Ensure the Vents Are Clear
When you use your computer, where do you sit? Although it can be comfortable to plop your Mac on your stomach and lie down, this can cause it to overheat.
Mac laptops vent out hot air on their back edge, so make sure this area is unobstructed. Pillows, blankets, and clothing can get in the way and trap hot air inside. Consider instead working on a desk or table.
If you hear the Mac overheating fan noise and you’re not doing anything too resource-demanding on your computer, take it as a sign that your current position isn’t working. Move to a better one that’ll let your Mac breathe.
3. Limit Multitasking
The fastest laptops can struggle with having too many applications open at the same time. Consider limiting it to one or two programs, and make sure you need them to be open at that moment.
Look for applications that you can use in alternative ways. If you listen to iTunes or Spotify on your computer while working, consider listening to music on your phone instead. This will cut down on the resources you force your computer to use.
Remember that on a Mac, clicking the red close button doesn’t exit out of an app. Make sure you click File > Quit, otherwise the app may still be running in the background.
4. Consider Your Mac’s GPU
Although many overheating problems can stem from problems with the processor, or CPU, it’s not always the only culprit. In some cases, it may be the graphics processing unit or GPU, that’s the problem.
The GPU helps the programs that you run look prettier, and also run without lag or other slowdowns. A solid GPU is important for people such as gamers and graphic designers. If it gets too hot, it can cause loud noises, slowdowns, and strange glitches.
On a laptop, you won’t be able to upgrade your GPU in most cases. Be aware of the effect that the programs you’re using have on it, and exit out of some apps when necessary.
5. Keep Your Desktop Tidy
There are two types of people in the world: those with five folders on their Desktop, and those with 500.
Aside from impacting your productivity and focus, a messy Desktop can also cause slowdowns on your computer, in turn causing your Mac to heat up. Your CPU spends memory processing every image on your Desktop. This means that someone with three icons may have a faster experience than someone with 50.
Try to organize your files into different folders, where your computer won’t have to spend memory showing them. If you no longer need a file, don’t be afraid to delete it.
6. Clean Your Mac
Sometimes the problem isn’t with the software on your computer, but rather the hardware. In that case, consider opening the hatch and cleaning everything off.
Take a screwdriver and open the bottom hatch of your computer. If you’ve had your Mac for a while, it’s not uncommon to see a buildup of dust, grime, and other unsightly things. All of these can cause your computer to heat up and impact its ability to function.
Use a cloth to wipe things off, or take a can of compressed air and blow it away. The goal is to promote airflow through the various parts of your computer. Make sure not to open any of the individual hardware pieces, as this may void any warranty you have.
7. Upgrade Your Software
Do you know that annoying pop-up that tells you that a new software update is ready? Next time, instead of closing it and ignoring it, consider initiating the system update.
Whenever Apple releases a new software update, it comes with performance boosts, security enhancements, and other new features. All of these will help your Mac stay cool and run smoothly.
If the latest software update doesn’t fix the overheating problem, you may need to try some other fixes. Check out this guide to learn more about what you can do: https://setapp.com/how-to/how-to-fix-an-overheating-mac.
How to Stop Your Mac From Overheating: Try These Tips
When your Mac begins to overheat, it can be a sign that you’re doing something wrong, or indicate some other problem. If you’re wondering how to stop your Mac from overheating, following this guide and these tips can be a good place to start.
Do you have any other tips on how to help an overheating Mac Pro or another computer? Let us know in a comment below!
If you found this article useful, don’t forget to check out some of our other blog posts for more guides and tips.
Although MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are some of the most reliable machines around, even they have their flaws. Due to their thin profiles and aluminum bodies, MacBooks have a tendency to run hot when pushed to their limits. Here is how you can restrict your MacBook from heating up with a few simple tips.
Fix an Overheating MacBook Pro
Check your apps
Use Turbo Boost Switcher
Once you have exhausted all your options, here is the workaround that you can implement: disable Intel’s Turbo Boost when your MacBook gets hot. Since macOS does not have any such option built-in (you can limit processor usage in Windows via power options), here is an app that we have tried and tested ourselves which lets you automatically switch Turbo Boost on and off. Disabling Turbo Boost to cool down your MacBook also has a positive impact on your machine’s battery life.
Turbo Boost Switcher is a free app, with a paid Pro version, which lets you monitor your MacBook’s temperature and fan speed, and enable/disable Turbo Boost as required. The paid version of the app is what we will take a look at here, because it lets you set up an auto mode, so everything happens automatically in the background.
With its Auto Mode, the app lets you set limits based on either fan speed, battery or by applications, so that when the threshold is reached, Turbo Boost will be disabled. It will automatically enable when the fan speed goes down or when the battery charge reaches a certain level, as per your defined limits.
My preferred method is to set the auto mode to kick in when my 13-inch MacBook Pro gets hot enough for the fans to become noisy. That’s also when my hands become sweaty when using the keyboard.
If you have no problem with sweaty hands like me because of a hot MacBook, you can get additional battery life by disabling Turbo Boost when the charge level reaches a certain value. This will work similarly to the power plan in Windows laptops.
For apps, if you wish to disable Turbo Boost for a specific app when it is in use, you can also setup such a configuration.
For now, the app does not let you set auto mode based on temperature. The developer is working on this feature for a future update, which would be my preferred configuration for auto mode.
Until Apple switches to ARM processors in Macs, users will have to deal with overheating Intel processors in MacBooks. A-series processors already outperform Intel’s processors at a lower wattage requirement and even without any active cooling, as evident from iPad Pro internals.
The Pro version of the app costs $10, and if you have a problem with an overheating MacBook, this is worth the money. You can always give the free version a try before spending money on it.
I have installed Windows 10 Education with bootcamp because I need to use some software (only for windows)
When I use the Mac OS the temperature of the Cores is about 35°/40° Celsius, but when I use Windows (doing nothing!) the temperature goes up to 60° minimum (80°/90° maximum).
I am afraid to use my 3D modeling program!
I want to know if there is a way to fix this huge problem of overheating
I have a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)
Posted on Mar 20, 2017 3:08 PM
- Helpful answers
- All replies
Had the same problem, would idle around 80-90 without any programs opened. My current solution is to limit the “Maximum Processor State” and now it idles around 60-70 with nothing open, still not ideal but better.
- Power & sleep
- Additional power settings
- Change plan settings (for whichever plan you have selected)
- Change advanced power settings
- Processor power management
- Maximum processor state (NOT Maximum processor frequency)
I recently found this setting so I’m still playing around with it but I currently have 60/80% for battery/plugged in respectively.
Hope this helps
also i would leave max processor frequency at 0
Is your MacBook making sounds like that of a hairdryer? Does it feel like a hot grill? Is your MacBook overheating to a point that it switches off? If you’re facing any or all of these issues, then you have got a problem.
Here, by ‘overheating’, we are referring to a MacBook which is very hot to touch yet functional. We are presenting you with five workable ways to deal with your MacBook overheating issue.
1. MacBook Limitations
Your laptop can overheat due to various reasons. Sometimes, simply using it to its full capacity will overheat it. The other times, building up of dust or fans acting up could result in your MacBook overheating.
When it comes to heat dispersal, MacBook doesn’t emerge to be a strong device having only one vent. This vent is situated on the hinge which implies that your MacBook is more prone to take heat load.
Exhaustive activities like playing games and videos or having fifty tabs open on your MacBook incur significant damage on your processor. This in result creates heat that only has one vent to evade. We do realize that these devices were not made for intensive jobs, which also reflects in the cooling provided by Apple.
You can avoid facing this issue by not blocking the fans. If you use your MacBook over a soft furnishing, in bed or on your lap, you will be lessening its capability to vent the heat. Therefore, a hard-surfaced desk will be a suitable choice if you’re working for longer hours.
In case you’re connecting your MacBook with an external monitor, be sure to make sufficient space for ventilation. An extra screen places more load on the GPU, producing more heat.
2. Drop The Demanding Software
If your MacBook is cooking itself for apparently no reason, you must find out the process(es) that is causing so. Launch ‘Activity Monitor’, select the ‘CPU’ tab and then pick the ‘CPU’ column to categorize processes by going down.
Here, the processes are positioned according to the percentage of the processing power they are using. If you see any activity that’s consuming 90% of the processing power or above, you can halt that process by clicking over it and stopping it with the X button.
Kill the processes that are eating your RAM and CPU
You MacBook might encounter repeated crashes in case you’re using Google Chrome. In such situations, backpedaling to Safari will be a good idea and will totally resolve this issue. Also, you must restrict the number of tabs you open in your web browser.
To accelerate your web browsing and preserve your laptop charging, you can disable the web plugins by default to quit requesting Flash videos and adverts load automatically.
To keep your MacBook from overheating, you must also limit background processes and halt any unneeded process by going to Settings -> Users & Groups -> Login Items to save your RAM.
3. Test Your Fans
In case, the overheating issue is somewhat more prominent, and your MacBook often ceases to operate, you might need to get its fans tested. One obvious sign of a fan failure is that it starts making a grinding noise, however, not all failures are this self-evident.
Luckily, Apple’s online hardware testing facilitates you to check your machine. You will need to use the Apple Hardware Test if your device was made before June 2013. In case it was built more recently, then Apple Diagnostics should be run on your device. However, both are basically same and can be used using this method:
- Switch off your Mac and plug in the power cable.
- Push the power button and then press the D key (before the gray startup screen shows up).
- Choose a language if asked, and then follow the instructions displayed on-screen.
Diagnose MacBook Fans using Apple Diagnostic
In a case of Apple Diagnostics, the test will finish itself and you won’t have to do anything. However, you must make a note of any error code or other relevant information, especially, if your device has run out of warranty and you will be supposed to do the repairing yourself.
In a case of Apple Hardware Test, you will be directed to perform either a basic or thorough test. However, in order to identify cooling problems, a basic test will be sufficient.
4. Override Your Fans
If you cannot figure out the reason for your MacBook overheating, you might need to install an application with which you can manually override your fan speed. Macs Fan Control is one of those applications that exists in your menu bar and gives prompt information on your present CPU temperature and fan speed.
Mac overheating because the fans are not working
With this app, you can override Apple’s rules of cooling a MacBook by raising the lowest fan speed, only with the intent to extending your hardware’s life.
When the temperature of your machine touches somewhere around 105ºC, your MacBook will shut down. However, the operating hardware will also damage over time at temperatures near this shut-down point. If your fans work overtime, your laptop may cool faster but it will also put more load on the fans.
It is believed by some users that this leads to extended equipment life, regardless of the possibility that they may have to substitute the fans earlier than they would want. The application enables you to make profiles under which you can indicate least fan speeds, with rules for consequently shifting profile, basing on your power source.
In some cases, Macs Fan Control fails to indicate what your MacBook is presently doing, i.e., either the fan speed displays ‘0 rpm’ or the temperature doesn’t show. You can then install iStat Menus which costs $16 and offers lots of insights into your machine, including its temperature and fan speed. This app, however, does not enable you to control your fans, so you’ll require Macs Fan Control for that.
5. Laptop Coolers & Cleaning
As a final resort, especially for a mobile laptop, you will at times need to grasp the nettle and buy a cooler. This is ideal for situations when you’re using MacBook as a primary machine, with an external monitor and keyboard setup that a cooler can posit into.
Clean MacBook fans to fix overheating issues
If you’re using an older Mac and the fans are spinning more than usual, it is probably a sign that you need to clean it. This includes disassembling your laptop and uncovering its sensitive inner components. This is the part where you will want to be extremely careful to avoid breaking anything. Make sure to buy a great quality computer duster if you’re deciding to clean your MacBook.
This post enlists the best ways and tips to prevent Mac overheating.
Hear closely, is the cooling fan of your MacBook Pro spinning frantically? If yes, then it means that the MacBook Pro is overheating and its internal fan is trying to cool it down. A bit warm device is normal, but excessive heating can have serious outcomes. You need to keep tabs on the heat that the MacBook Pro generates. If the device overheats, then the aftermaths may be severe. For instance, if the Mac is overheating, then it may work at a slower speed or even stop functioning entirely.
Thus, through this post, we discuss what to do if the MacBook Pro is getting hot. But, before moving on to that, it is apt to talk about why Mac overheats in the first place.
Table of Contents
Why is your MacBook Pro Overheating?
The reasons for which your MacBook Pro is heating up can be many. Below we enlist the prominent ones out of them.
- A malware has invaded your Mac.
- The runaway, i.e., third-party apps are hogging up system resources.
- You use your device on softer surfaces such as a pillow for long.
- Dust and dirt have accumulated in your device.
Above were some of the causes for Mac overheating. Now, that you know about what makes your MacBook Pro hot, let’s discuss the ways to cool it down.
How to Fix if the MacBook Pro is Overheating
If your MacBook Air is overheating, then cooling it down takes only a few efforts from your end. Below are the fixes that you can try to turn the Mac from hot to cool.
1. Reset the System Management Controller
The SMC, i.e., System Management Controller is responsible for regulating the heat that your device generates. Therefore, resetting its settings can help you resolve the MacBook Pro overheating issues effortlessly. Below are the steps to do it.
- Shut down the device.
- When your MacBook completely shuts down, press and hold Shift, Option, and Control keys for 10 seconds.
- After 10 seconds, press the power button to power up the device.
Completing the above steps resets the SMC settings. Hopefully, now you won’t face MacBook Pro heating up issues.
2. Check the effectiveness of Mac’s Fans
Sometimes, the device’s fans may not function correctly and cause MacBook Pro overheating. Thus, you need to run hardware tests to check that the fans of your device are effective or not. Here is how to do it.
- Disconnect all the peripheral components and switch off the device.
- Power on the MacBook again and press D key to run Apple Hardware Tests.
- Wait for the hardware test to complete.
- When the test completes, if you see cooling fan-related reference codes, then contact the laptop service provider for further assistance.
3. Stop the Resource-Hogging Third-Party Apps
The third-party applications that consume a lot of device resources are among the primary reasons for Mac overheating. Thus, stopping these apps from running can help you resolve the issue. Here’re the steps to remove them.
- Move to Applications.
- Click on Utility.
- Select Activity Monitor.
- Go the CPU section and look for apps that use more than 80% of the processor.
- Double-click these heavy apps and select Force Quit.
Now, check whether the MacBook is overheating or has cooled down.
4. Switch to the Energy Saving Mode
Switching to the Energy Saving Mode stops applications from running unnecessarily. This, in turn, elevates the battery performance and prevents the Mac overheating issues. Follow the below steps to activate the Energy Saving Mode on your device.
- Go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.
- Select Energy Saver and checkmark automatic graphics switching.
Hopefully, this resolves the MacBook Pro overheating issues that you are facing.
5. Remove Dirt and Dust from MacBook Fan
Over time, dust and dirt accumulate in the device’s fan and cause overheating. Thus, to stop MacBook Pro from getting hot, clean the Mac’s Fan. After cleaning, it regains the lost efficiency and helps the device to cool down.
6. Disable the Flash Videos & Advertisements
You often see the flash videos & advertisements, right? Well, disable them to fix MacBook overheating. These ads and videos load automatically, consume a lot of system resources, and cause the device to overheat.
7. Get an Antivirus for Mac
Viruses and other malware cause the device to overheat. Thus, get the best antivirus for Mac to eliminate them.
Above were some of the ways to prevent MacBook Pro overheating. This is not all and we’ve got a bonus for our readers. Below are some tips to stop your MacBook Pro from getting hot.
The Ultimate Tips to Prevent Mac Overheating
- Don’t use the device on a soft surface such as a pillow or bed. Instead of doing this, place it on a wooden or glass table while using it.
- Clean the fan regularly. Don’t let dust and dirt accumulate on the fan.
- Use a cooling pad to cool down the MacBook Pro when it is overheating.
- Place the device on a laptop stand so that heat can escape snappily.
- As far as possible, don’t use multiple applications at the same time.
- Never load multiple webpages with flash ads as they cause MacBook Pro overheating.
- Download applications via official websites or App Store. If you install them through any random link, then viruses may invade your device and cause it to overheat.
- Always use the original MacBook charger. Fake chargers heat up the device excessively.
Through this post, we discussed the ways to fix MacBook Pro overheating issues. We also talked about some tips to prevent Mac overheating. We suggest you always keep Mac’s temperature in check and don’t let it overheat. Lastly, before bidding adieu, subscribe, and bookmark Innovana Blog for more such information and updates.
Before we start
Having spent some years coding applications for macOS we’ve created a tool that everybody can use. The all-round problem fixer for Mac.
So here’s a tip for you: Download CleanMyMac to quickly solve some of the issues mentioned in this article. But to help you do it all by yourself, we’ve gathered our best ideas and solutions below.
Features described in this article refer to the MacPaw site version of CleanMyMac X.
Most of the time, Macs don’t make much noise. Then at times, out of nowhere, your Mac fan can become noisy pretty quickly, which can soon get annoying, especially if there’s no obvious reason. So why is your MacBook fan so loud all of a sudden?
Why is your Mac fan so loud?
Your Mac fan may kickstart when you’re running intensive tasks or resource-heavy apps that make your Mac overheat. With MacBooks in particular, fan noise can sound as though your Mac wants to take off. By the way, in case of overheating, your Mac usually slows down.
If your fan has been louder than usual, there are some safe ways to reduce fan noise and cool down your Mac, which we’ll cover in this article.
Popular solutions to Mac fan noise
There are several solutions for a loud Mac cooling fan, and you should be able to get it under control fairly soon.
1. Improve air circulation
Sometimes we’re all tempted to use our Macs in bed. But, it’s important to remember that duvets and soft pillows can affect your Mac fan behavior. Any soft surface you put your Mac on can cover the air vents on your machine, making the fan run faster and louder.
So the quickest solution is to place your Mac on a flat surface, give the fan more air to work with. Unless you need to keep working — which isn’t advisable as a Mac that overheats too much could switch off, to preserve hardware and data – give the Mac a few minutes to cool down.
For a more long-term fix, there are countless Mac holders and laptop stands for bed you can buy; they elevate a Mac off the surface and provide a better view angle, which helps improve your posture, solving several problems at once.
2. Free up memory and processing power
Another solution, also a useful short and long-term fix, is finding out what uses so much processing power. It can be an app or process that runs in the background and drains your CPU.
To find out what is taking up processing power, the first place to look is Activity Monitor.
- Open Activity Monitor (Applications > Utilities).
- In the CPU tab, you will see the list of all active tasks and apps. The most resource-heavy will be at the top.
- Click the task and press the “X” sign in the top left corner to quit the processes.
Disable heavy memory consumers
There’s a quicker and easier way to identify heavy-consuming apps and processes and quit them. CleanMyMac X has a feature that detects those intensive tasks as you use your Mac and helps you shut them down. The app is notarized by Apple and has a free version to try it out.
- Download a free version of CleanMyMac X.
- After you install and launch the app, go to Optimization.
- Click “View All Items” and then select Heavy Consumers.
CleanMyMac X will identify the apps that heavily drain your CPU and thus overburden the fan. Check the box next to the app name and press Quit. That’s all!
3. Test your cooling fans
If your Mac has been continuously exposed to heat, its cooling devices may become unstable. Overheating may not only damage the fan, but your whole machine: your Mac may shut down unexpectedly when the thermals fail to cool the laptop.
If your Mac has been overheating, and you’re worried whether the fan is not damaged, one thing you could do is to run Apple Diagnostics.
How to run Apple Diagnostics (Apple Hardware Test)
To run Apple Diagnostics on your Mac, open this instruction on any other device, and get started:
- Disconnect all external devices except keyboard, speakers, mouse, display.
- Go to the Apple menu and choose Restart.
- Press and hold the D key as your Mac reboots. Keep holding it down until you see the list of languages appear.
- Select your language. Apple Diagnostics will run automatically.
When it’s finished, you will see the list of problems it has diagnosed.
4. Reset SMC settings
SMC stands for System Management Controller. This is a driver responsible for your Mac’s hardware, including fans, processor, and motherboard. So one potential solution to loud fan noise is to reset SMC settings:
For Mac’s with non-removable batteries (which is the majority in use now):
- Unplug the power cord.
- Go to the Apple menu > Shut Down.
- Once it has shut down, press Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the keyboard.
- Now press the power button and keep all four buttons pressed for 10 seconds.
- Release all of the keys and press the power button to switch on again.
For newer Macs with an Apple T2 Security Chip (2018 and later Macs), the process is slightly different:
- Shut down your computer.
- Press and hold Control-Option-Shift for 7 seconds.
- Then press the power button and hold all four keys for another 7 seconds. You may turn on and off during the process.
- Release the keys, wait a few seconds, and turn on your Mac.
5. Free up space on your Mac
Free hard drive space is like fuel for your processor. When your drive is cluttered, the processor reaches its peak capacity and begins asking for some fresh air. The least-invasive method to fix a roaring fan is to delete junk on your startup drive. You’ll be surprised how much space you can free up without deleting any important data.
A free edition of CleanMyMac cleaner could be helpful in this case.
It removes system junk, outdated cache files, broken downloads. In my case, I could find 13.97 GB worth of useless files.
After giving your Mac some brief rest and preventing heavy or unnecessary apps from running when they aren’t needed, your computer should cool down and start operating normally. If those solutions still haven’t solved the problem, then it could be a hardware malfunction. It is then worth taking the Mac to a certified Apple repair shop.
It certainly doesn’t seem like it today, but summer is coming to the northern hemisphere at last, and should it ever turn hot, we need to think about keeping our Macs cool.
All electronic components have optimal temperature ranges, and one of the hardware engineer’s many challenges is to design component layouts and cooling systems which maintain every part of a computer at the right temperature. The components themselves generate heat, which needs to be dissipated, and as a general rule the more power that a component consumes, the more heat it will produce.
Processors are a good case: you can run a 2 GHz processor faster (at a higher clock speed, ‘overclocked’), but it then gets hotter. The ‘speed’ or clock rating of an individual processor is that at which it will operate reliably. The faster that you drive it, and the hotter it gets, the more errors occur, until the processor stops working, and may suffer physical damage. So to operate reliably at their rated clock speed, processors need to be cooled to the right temperature range.
Hard drives are also notoriously temperature-dependent: a hard disk running hot is at greater risk of failure, and many drives which are about to fail start to run hotter than they should. One of the ways in which drive manufacturers estimate the likely life of their products is to accelerate their ageing by deliberately running them at higher temperatures. If you want your hard disks to last, they should be kept within their intended operating temperature range.
Graphics cards are another special problem. With modern GPUs and other chips to accelerate their performance, they are often the hottest parts of a computer. At the same time, they are often squeezed onto small daughterboards or into expansion slots, where they may not enjoy as good cooling airflow as the CPU.
Cooling systems for computers can be huge and very elaborate. The Cray-2 supercomputer used a special non-conductive cooling fluid, and some desktop computers have also used liquid cooling, including the fastest of Apple’s Power Mac G5 models from back in June 2004. Thankfully all more modern models rely on air, with internal fans to help when the demands are greatest.
Desktop models usually have air intake and outlet zones; if these are obstructed, or if the intake is drawn from pre-heated air, it can compromise cooling function, and that Mac will at least run its fans excessively, and may overheat.
Laptops use the surface of the case for heat exchange, as you will have noticed if you ever used older hard-drive models on the bare flesh of your thighs, particularly after sunbathing. If their underside rests on soft, insulating materials such as a wool blanket, then they may run hotter, using their fans more, which will also shorten their useful time running from battery alone.
One particular hazard is solar radiation. Even in the more temperate zones, during the middle of a summer’s day, sunlight falling on a computer case will cause it to become much warmer than it would be in the shade. Such local warming is not taken into account in designing the cooling system, and can lead to dangerously high temperatures in some components. Even if the sunlight feels pleasant to you, and does not impair your use of the display, it can cause hardware problems over time.
Hardware also lasts longer when it stays at a fairly constant temperature: repeatedly heating up and cooling down causes solder to age, and can lead to failed connections. It will also age components containing mechanical parts, such as hard disks and optical drives, more rapidly.
Like all computer manufacturers, Apple does not think that you want to be troubled with readings from a battery of internal temperature sensors, but want to leave its hardware to get on with the job. There are times, though, when it is useful to be able to see what different sensors are reading, whether they are changing much, and what speed the fans are operating at.
There are many utilities available which can display data from the multitude of different sensors built into your Mac. As each model has different sensors in different locations, keeping up with new models is a nightmare for those who develop these tools, so many end up just reading a selection of the sensors available.
The most comprehensive tool seems at present to be Tunabelly’s TG Pro, which costs around $16. If you’d rather make purchases through Apple’s App Store, you can buy Temperature Gauge there, run it once so that your Mac ‘registers’ it, then download and install TG Pro as a free upgrade.
The snag with having lots of measurements is what you can do about them. If they all remain stable and within the comfort zone, and your fans only ever run at their ‘regular’ setting, it can be reassuring. But what do you do if parts of your Mac are getting too hot, or if their temperature varies widely during the day?
With respect to the good folk at Tunabelly, the last thing that you should consider is taking charge of the fans yourself. Your Mac’s firmware is designed to do that, and if it is not working properly, it is far better to get it fixed than fiddle around. But there are plenty of other things which you can do to help your Mac keep cooler: moving it away from sunlight, or adjusting blinds; moving it away from sources of heated air, such as industrial power supplies, air conditioning plant hot air outlets, and the like.
It may also be useful to help make the case that there may be something wrong with your Mac’s hardware. When working hard, Apple’s Fusion Drives can get quite hot, and that may be associated with disk errors. If you think that a Fusion Drive has a worrying error rate, then gathering temperature measurements could be important in building your case for an AppleCare repair.
Just for the moment, with warnings of fresh snow and ice in Scotland, I think many Macs will run cool.
Laptops are notorious for overheating. MacBooks are no different and it can be annoying when you can’t have the laptop on your lap and when your fingers heat up just by touching the keyboard. Luckily, there are strategies for ensuring your MacBook doesn’t overheat.
Test to find a problem
First, it is helpful to check the condition of your fans before you start anything else. This will help you determine whether there is something actually wrong with the fan or if it’s just being unable to perform as you’d want it to.
The test option is available in all MacBooks. For those, with MacBooks older than June 2013, you can find it under the Apple Hardware Test . The newer models will have the feature in the Apple Diagnostics tool .
The testing itself is similar for both options. You need to have your MacBook plugged in and have any external peripheral removed. Restart your laptop and hold down the D key. The onscreen instructions will guide you through the test and it shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes. If there’s a problem, you will be informed about it afterward.
Keep your OS up-to-date
You also need to make sure the software you use is up-to-date. Start by ensuring you have the latest operating system in use. All the versions are free to upgrade, so you don’t have any reason not to make these leaps. Just make sure you create a backup – you probably won’t need it but it does always provide that extra bit of security.
It’s important to keep all of your software updated not just the OS. Make sure you update your browser, word editors, and photo editors and so on to ensure you always use the latest models.
Stop using Chrome
Speaking of browsers, Chrome can cause your MacBook to overheat. Chrome causes the processor to run overtime, adding to the heat levels of your computer. You are much better off using another browser – Safari isn’t all bad and Firefox is a nice alternative for those looking something else.
Limit your apps
MacBook is not good at multi-tasking. If you are opening many apps at once, you might notice that it will start overheating and the performance drops. The most struggles seem to happen if iTunes and Photos are open at the same time. If you like to listen to music while working on the laptop, you might find it nicer to use your smartphone to play the tunes.
Similarly to apps, the fan can start going crazy if you have many tabs open in the browser. The more tabs you open, the harder the system will have to work and this can eventually lead to overheating. Close any tabs you aren’t using, bookmark the ones you’d like to get back to and reduce the workload of the browser.
Ensure the fan is not obstructed
MacBook fan vents from the back edge of the laptop and you want to keep this as open as possible. You shouldn’t try to keep the laptop on your lap, place it on a soft surface or have it directly against a wall. These can block the airflow and cause your MacBook to heat up. The best place for a MacBook is on a flat surface such as a table or the floor. If you want to work on the couch, consider using a book or a tray as a surface for the laptop.
Avoid the sun
It might sound a little obvious but avoid using the MacBook in direct sunlight. Any laptop can suffer from a lot of heat so if you want to work outside, you must find the shade. According to Apple, the best temperature for the MacBook is between 10 and 35 degrees Celsius.
Keep it clean
Finally, it’s also a good idea to keep your MacBook clean. Give your laptop a proper clean every once in a while with a soft fabric suitable for the purposes. If you can, open the bottom of your MacBook with a screwdriver and use compressed air to blow away any debris it had. Be extra mindful near the cooling fan and the vents.
The strategies above should help you keep your MacBook going. However, you also need to keep in mind that your laptop will keep overheating easier as it gets older. So, if you’re struggling with overheating, it might be that the fan is simply getting too old and it is time to replace the MacBook. The rumors that Apple might unveil its new generation of MacBooks. If you don’t want to wait for the possible reveal, you can opt for the latest model. It’s a solid performer and it shouldn’t have issues with overheating.
So, if you want to prevent your MacBook from overheating, utilize the above strategies and enjoy your Mac for longer.