April 24, 2024


  • To fix a hot MacBook, you can unblock its vents, clean its internals, or avoid working in direct sunlight.
  • You can also try closing browser tabs, minimizing multitasking, or checking if the fans are running.
  • Use Activity Monitor to see apps that are hogging system resources and close them.

Like any laptop, your MacBook is prone to overheating. A hot MacBook isn’t just uncomfortable to work with, it can shorten your battery life and possibly even damage other internal components.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to cool it down and continue to enjoy using your MacBook.

Why is my Mac getting so hot?

There are many things that could cause your MacBook to overheat. One of the most common reasons is that something may be blocking the air ducts or that you have placed it near another device that produces heat.

It could even build up a lot of dust causing internal components to heat up – dust is a notorious heat trap.

Another common reason for MacBook overheating is that the processor is doing too much work. For example, it could be that you have too many windows, applications or tabs open (for example, in Google Chrome) or that you are multitasking.

If your macOS is also outdated, old software can also put unnecessary stress on the processor, causing it to overheat. It could also be that the Mac’s internal cooling fan is not working properly.

How to prevent your MacBook from overheating

Whatever the reason your MacBook is running hot, here are eight ways you can deal with it and cool it down.

Do not block the airways

Let’s start with the single biggest factor in controlling heat: Don’t block the vents.

It’s very easy to accidentally block the vents if you put the MacBook directly on your lap or work in bed, with the laptop sitting on a soft, comfortable surface.

If you block the vents, you’ve trapped hot air in and stopped circulation, which is the MacBook’s primary tool for dissipating heat.

The solution: Rest your MacBook on a book, laptop stand, or other flat surface that provides a clear path for air to pass through the vents.

Clean the insides of your MacBook

If there’s one downside to the fact that MacBooks tend to live a long time, it’s that there’s plenty of time for yours to fill up with dust, which blocks airflow and causes it to heat up.

If your MacBook is more than two years old, open it occasionally and clean the dust. You will need a simple one Phillips head screwdriver to remove the lower frame and gently blow away any accumulated dust.

Do not work in direct sunlight

Your MacBook has an ideal operating temperature range — Apple recommends a range of 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you work in direct sunlight or in a place that is very hot, it can cause your MacBook to overheat.

Don’t open too many browser tabs

This may be surprising – after all, how harmful could it be to have multiple tabs open in your browser?

It turns out that no matter which browser you use, opening multiple tabs is a resource-intensive activity. No matter what kind of MacBook you have, try to limit yourself to fewer than a dozen tabs at any given time.

And if your system starts running hot, close any non-essential tabs to take the load off the CPU.

Minimize your multitasking

Similar to managing tabs in your browser, avoid running too many programs at once — especially resource-intensive programs.

Many users find Adobe Photoshop and iTunes to be a particularly bad combination, for example. If you use Photoshop (or another graphics-intensive application), maybe use your phone for music.

Check Activity Monitor for misbehaving apps

Some applications put a heavy load on the CPU. Whether this happens regularly or the app is misbehaving, the fact remains that it can cause your CPU to heat up and you can check this in Activity Monitor.

1. Open the Finder on your Mac.

2. click Applications.

The Finder window on a Mac, with the

Click “Applications” in the Finder window.

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3. click Utilities.

4. click Activity tracking.

5. Choose it Processor to see which applications are using a high percentage of available CPU resources.

Activity Monitor on Mac, with tab highlighted

Check the “CPU” tab for applications that are hogging CPU resources.

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6. If you see something hogging the CPU and you don’t need to use it, close that program.

Make sure your fans are working properly

It’s possible (however unlikely) that your MacBook’s fans have failed. You can find out by running Apple’s diagnostic tool built into your Mac.

How to start Apple diagnostics on MacBook with Apple silicon processor (M1):

1. Turn off your MacBook and make sure it’s plugged in.

2. Press and hold it Power button — your MacBook will start — and let go when you see the boot options screen.

The startup options screen on a Mac.

Press and hold the power button until the boot options screen appears.

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3. hold Command + D and follow the instructions to complete the test.

The diagnostic screen that appears when you press the D key immediately after turning on a MacBook.

Run tests using the diagnostic tools.

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4. The test results won’t be in plain English, but look for any error codes starting with “PPF” – these refer to fan issues.

5. If you see a PPF error code, you will need to service your MacBook.

How to start Apple Diagnostics on an Intel-based MacBook:

1. Turn off your MacBook and make sure it’s plugged in.

2. Turn on the laptop and immediately press and hold it Hey key. Release the key when the diagnostic screen appears and follow the instructions to complete the test.

2. The test results won’t be in plain English, but look for any error codes starting with “PPF” – these refer to fan issues. You can find one key for all error codes on the Apple support page.

4. If you see a PPF error code, you will need to service your MacBook.

Keep your MacBook up to date

Finally, here’s a good tip for any problems or concerns you have with your MacBook: make sure it’s up to date with all software and firmware updates installed.

You can make sure you’re up to date by opening your MacBook’s System Preferences, then clicking Software Update.


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