How To

Guide to Prevent MacBook Overheating

Keeping your Macbook Pro and Macbook Air Cool

MacBook generally has more overheating problems than Windows PC. However, it is hard to separate between a MacBook that is normally running hot or one that is overheating. There are many reasons why your MacBook Pro may overheat. Most of it can be easily fixed but sometimes they are left untreated. To solve all the queries of how to cool down your MacBook, read further!

Your Mac should run within an acceptable temperature. As there is an increased risk of damage to hardware and data loss when your Mac overheats. It also poses a safety risk. This is the reason you should keep monitoring Mac’s internal temperature. So, how can we tell when your MacBook is overheating? If you see that your MacBook’s fan is running continuously at high speed, it is a sign of overheating. The fan is running to lower the temperature. Other possible indications can be that your Mac is slow and unresponsive, you can hear excessive fan noise or your Mac itself powers off without giving a warning.

The next question is what makes your Mac overheat? As stated above, it can be due to a lot of reasons. Your MacBook’s fan might be in poor condition due to which it causes insufficient cooling. Depending on the model, your MacBook can have one or two fans. MacBook Pros have vents on the back and on the sides whereas MacBook Airs have one vent on the back. So, it’s important that vents should not be blocked. Another reason might be damaged batteries. Apple reviews on MacBook Pro states that the risk of overheating can be due to defective batteries.

Here are the 13 ways through which you can solve the overheating problem of your MacBook.

1. Use compressed air to lower the temperature.
2. Keep in a well-ventilated environment.
3. Open minimum tabs.
4. Remove or disable Flash
5. Check via Activity Monitor
6. Use energy saver settings for overheating.
7. Update your macOS and reset the SMC.
8. Adjust your MacBook’s fan speed.
9. Run a diagnostic test on MacBook’s fan
10. Override the fan
11. Via Spotlight indexing
12. Hardware replacement.
13. Change the batteries

1. Use Compressed Air to Lower the Temperature:

It is easy to spot the ventilation areas in some laptops where heat is expelled out while they are being used. However, it is less obvious in the MacBook. The ventilation area should be free of dust, debris, or any blockage so that it can function properly. For that, you can use compressed air to clean up this area to cool your MacBook. You will instantly see the result when you spray fresh air on your MacBook or you can wipe it off with a soft cloth.

2. Keep in a well-ventilated Environment:

The best place to use your laptop is on a hard flat surface such as a desk or cooling stand rather than using it on a lap. This can offer the best ventilation without blocking the fan. When you use a MacBook on a pillow or couch, it catches more dust and ultimately generates heat. Both of these can decrease your MacBook Air’s capacity to cool itself. You should also try not to utilize your Mac in direct daylight for the same reason. The ideal temperature for MacBook Air is 50-95°F or 10-35°C.

Keep in a well ventilated Environment
Figure 1: Cooling stand to overcome Overheating problem

Laptop coolers can help in cooling down a MacBook that is battling in the heat. They appear as a metal stand with coordinated fans. The metal acts as a heat sink that helps to scatter heat through conduction while the fan gives dynamic cooling.

3. Open Minimum Tabs:

One of the reasons for overheating is that when you open more tabs in any browser, the system uses more of its resources. To overcome this, you can create a bookmark of those tabs which are not in use. It will reduce the browser’s workload. Chrome has a useful tool that shows how much each tab is using the CPU and memory resources. You have to click the triple-dot button in Chrome’s task manager which is present to the right of  Chrome’s URL bar. Next, you will click on more tools and then task manager. It’s better to avoid multitasking in any browser.

4. Remove or Disable Flash:

Watching Youtube videos is something that nearly everybody does on their devices nowadays. It is one of the major causes of overheating problems in the MacBook too. You can see many flash content on the internet in the form of online games, interactive features, and even advertisements. Flash advertisements cause your Mac to heat up as it will use system resources. It is ideal to remove or disable the flash and use HTML 5. HTML 5 is a new variant of HTML that replaces Flash with regard to online games. You can take advantage of HTML 5 as long as you are using the latest update of either Safari or Google Chrome. Unlike Flash, HTML 5 runs efficiently on your MacBook and uses fewer system resources. Therefore, it will extend the battery life by cooling your Macbook.

5. Check via Activity Monitor:

If your physical environment is fine, then there is a chance that your Mac is doing multiple tasks that causes overheating. The best option is to go to Activity Monitor and find which app is causing the problem. You can either go to Utilities or type Cmd + Space in Spotlight. In Activity Monitor, you will see the CPU at the top. Click on it and then click on %CPU. From the list, you can find the apps which are consuming more CPU energy. You can fix that by selecting those apps and forcing them to quit with the X button in the upper left- corner.

Check via Activity Monitor
Figure 2: Check the apps that are consuming the energy of the CPU

6. Use Energy Saver Settings for Overheating:

There are both an internal graphics processor and a discrete graphics processor in many MacBooks. Your Macbook will switch to an internal graphics processor when automatic graphics switching is on. As a result, it will save power but it will also put extra load on the CPU which will cause overheating. So you have to close it off and switch to a discrete graphics processor. It will then cool the CPU but will use more power.

Use Energy Saver Settings for Overheating
Figure 3: Uncheck the box of automatic graphics switching to cool the CPU

To do this, you will go to System Preferences next to Apple Menu. Click on Energy Saver and then uncheck the automatic graphics switching option. You can also optimize the energy here.

7. Update your macOS and reset the SMC:

If you see there is no problem related to apps that cause overheating, then the problem might be due to software-related. It can be due to a bug in the operating system. Then all you will have to do is upgrade to the latest version of macOS to fix these issues. Go to the system preferences next to the Apple menu and then click on System update. You have to download the update, if available. You can also turn on the option to automatically keep your Mac up to date.

Furthermore, you can also once reset the system management controller. It is a component that manages power, battery, sensors and indicator lights, and thermal management features like fans. If all solutions haven’t worked out, you can try resetting it. This step varies depending upon whether the battery can be removed or not.

For a non-removable battery, you have to shut down the Mac. Then press the power button and Shift, Control, Option keys simultaneously for about 10-15sec. Afterward, release all the keys and press the power button to turn on your Mac. Similarly, for a removable battery, you have to turn off your Mac and remove the battery. Then you have to press and hold down the power button for about 5 sec. Now, put the battery again and press the power button to turn on your Mac.

8. Adjust your MacBook’s Fan Speed:

SMC Fan Control is a free app that helps you in adjusting the fan’s speed. First, you have to install it. It will appear in the top bar after installation. From there you can check not only the temperature of your MacBook but can also see the current speed of the fan.

Adjust your MacBook’s fan Speed
Figure 4: Adjusting the speed of fans via SMC Fan control

9. Run Diagnostic on MacBook’s Fan:

It can be a possibility that there is a problem with the cooling fan itself due to which it is overheating. For that, you need to take help from Apple Hardware or Diagnostics Test which reveals hardware problems with cooling. All you have to do is to disconnect everything from the MacBook except the power connection and mouse. Place your MacBook on a hard surface. Then shut it down from the Apple menu.

Afterward, turn it on and immediately press and hold the key D.You have to keep holding it until you see the language screen. Select your language. Your Mac will then perform the Diagnostic test. It will take some time to complete this test. The problem and possible solution will be reported if your Mac finds any issue.

Run Diagnostic on MacBook’s Fan
Figure 5: Problems listed after running the Diagnostic Test

In newer Macs, Apple Diagnostic automatically starts this test. Whereas the older Macs give you an option of a Basic or a Thorough test. The Basic test might be enough to list out all the problems of a fan. But you can also check a box to run an extended test if you want a thorough investigation. This will take an hour to complete the process. After the diagnostics are complete, you can even tell the error codes to an expert to sort out the problem.

10. Override the Fan:

You may want to install an application that can allow you to manually override the fan speed if your MacBook is constantly overheating. In this way, you can keep the fans on full regardless of whether your Mac doesn’t want to. This may come at the cost of the integrity of MacBook’s fans. But it is still considered a lot cheaper than having to replace a fan in your MacBook Air.

The best application to use for overriding the fan is Macs Fan Control. It is a free utility that you can find in your menu bar. Macs Fan Control gives simple controls to override the default rule about utilizing the fans. You have to decide to keep them on constantly or you can adjust the adequate temperature range.

Override the Fan
Figure 6: Overriding the fan speed via Macs Fan Control

11. Spotlight Indexing:

If you see the magnifying glass icon(spotlight) has a small dot which is pulsating at the upper right- hand corner, this means the spotlight is indexing. This will probably get the MacBook to around 80 C (176F). Spotlight indexing is used to organize the content of your hard drive. As this task is very intensive, you might feel that your MacBook is overheating. Indexing will happen once in a while when a lot of new data is being added to the hard disk. It usually takes a few hours depending on the data on your hard disk.

Spotlight Indexing
Figure 7: Finding the content via Spotlight indexing

12. Hardware Replacement:

If you have performed all the above steps and still have an issue with overheating, then the problem lies in the hardware. You need to go to an expert or Apple services for repairing the hardware of your MacBook.

13. Change the Batteries:

An overheated battery will lose its charge very rapidly. It might even explode if nothing has been done to solve the problem. As a result, it will not only damage your MacBook but also can cause individual injury. Therefore, replace the battery if the issue still persists despite using the above steps. The problem might be due to defective batteries.


An overheating Mac is hot to touch, is slow and unresponsive, and has a loud noise. It is really essential to lower the temperature of your MacBook as overheating has a negative impact on the hardware. Furthermore, it overheating shortens the life of your MacBook, iMac, or Mac Pro. Older MacBook causes its cooling fan to spin more, as a result, it’s less pleasant to use. So, if your MacBook is overheating due to any reason mentioned above, then you should follow these ways to keep it cool and calm.

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