How to Keep Your Mac from Overheating

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Overheating is the bane of many MacBooks. This problem gets especially acute for the owners of older devices, given that seasoned laptops are often chock full of files. So, if you’ve been experiencing an increasing fan noise or a drop in performance, your Mac may be heating up. If your Mac is too hot to touch, it’s best to act as soon as possible, as there’s a risk of damaging the hardware. Fortunately, you can fix the issue in a few simple steps. Let’s dive in! 

Multiple Tabs Open

As your first step, you may want to check if your browser is overworked, carrying the weight of a bunch of open tabs. Each open tab creates a separate process for the CPU to handle, which can be overwhelming. As such, it’s best to bookmark your unused tabs and visit them in due course or close them altogether. 

You can check whether the number of open tabs is too heavy on your Mac’s CPU by going to Launchpad – Activity Monitor – CPU tab. In this tab, you’ll see if your browser is the most memory-consuming process. As an alternative, you may want to try and use another browser for a while to see if it stops your Mac from overheating. 

Dial Down on Multitasking

Your MacBook may be struggling with too many processes running at the same time, causing overheat. So, if your laptop’s fan begins to work more intensively than usual when you’re using a browser, listen to Spotify and play games simultaneously, consider taking one of the activities to your iPhone or iPad, which will take out the pressure off the memory. Note that you should also quit apps instead of leaving them active in the background. That way, you prevent them from eating up resources latently. 

Avoid Blocking the Air Vents

Using a MacBook while nestled on the couch or in bed is tempting. However, it can be harmful to your laptop, given that placing it on a soft surface like a lap or pillow can block its air vents located on the back edge. As a result of this, your Mac stops cooling down and starts to heat up to extreme temperatures. As such, it’s highly recommended to put your device on a hard, flat surface, such as a table or a portable laptop stand, so that the air can circulate and cool down the processor properly.

Diagnose Your Fan

Fan damages can cause overheating as well. Your Mac has native software to run a check of your cooling system and identify a problem if any. In fact, Apple has introduced two options, the Apple Hardware test (apt for models released earlier in June 2013) and Apple Diagnostics (for models released after June 2013). Before you dive deeper into diagnostics, plug your Mac into a power supply and remove all peripherals. Then, you should restart it and press and hold down the D key (or Option + D for early 2010s models), which will start the diagnosing process. At this point, you’ll see the instructions and issue reports at the end of the check-up. A quick scan will only take several minutes, while a more profound diagnosing will take an hour or even more. 

How to Prevent Mac Overheating

Below are some basic recommendations that will help you keep your Mac’s temperature at a reasonable degree. 

Keep your Mac updated. Software and system updates contain improvements and fixes that can fix the problem of overheating as well. You can check for available updates by going System Preferences (located under the Apple logo in the menu bar) – Software Updates. Then, click on the Update Now button if you see a pending update. 

Run an antivirus scan. It’s possible that your Mac overheats because it’s got malware. Viruses cause overheating, as they use your Mac’s resources for malicious operations, for example, mining or cyber-attacks. The only way to put an end to this is to run an in-depth scan of your Mac using an antivirus tool of your choice. 
Clean your Mac from dust. Chances are your Mac has collected lots of dust and debris under the panel, which may block the air vents. With this in mind, it makes sense to clean your Mac out of dust from time to time. To do this, you should remove the bottom panes, locate the cooling system and air vents and use a can with compressed air to blow out the dust. Then reattach the bottom panel of your Mac.

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