How to Fix MacBook Pro Overheating: 13 Tips to Keep MacBook Cool

Despite being a highly energy-efficient machine that can tackle heavy workloads, MacBook Pro is not immune to overheating just like any other laptop in the market. As to what can prevent heating, it’s not the sort of problem that can be sorted out with a trick or two. Rather, it’s kind of a challenge that can be encountered with a set of tips.

So, if your MacBook often runs too hot to handle and you are running out of ideas to keep it cool, give these tips a shot to fix the MacBook Pro overheating issue.

13 Tips to Fix MacBook Pro Overheating Issue

As you might have already guessed, there could be more than one reason behind the overheating problem. Thus, nailing down each culprit would be the right way to go.

Side Note: The below-mentioned tips can work on any MacBook including MacBook Air. So, it doesn’t matter which model you have, you can follow the same solutions to overcome the hurdle.

So, Why Does Your MacBook Run Hot in the First Place?

First things first, so many things can cause your MacBook to overheat. It could be due to too many resource-hogging apps, overkilling, worn-out fan or cluttered storage/memory. Not to mention, a software bug might also be playing a spoilsport from behind the scene. Yeah, you heard it right! The problem could be both hardware and software specific. So, you have to look for solutions keeping in mind either aspects.

As overheating can cause your notebook to shut down unexpectedly that could result in data loss, the sooner you find the right answer, the better it is not only for your laptop but also for your workflow. Therefore, be sure to check off all the tips so that you can get rid of the problem and also prevent it from occurring again and again.

Quick Access:

Tip #1. First Up, Nab All the Memory Hogging Apps

While almost every app claims to be less resource-hogging, very few of them can walk the talk. They force the processor to work overtime, thereby disturbing the entire heat level of the notebook. When the CPU goes on the overdrive, the fan has to accelerate to dissipate the heat. And this is where the problem begins!

So, before going on to troubleshoot the MacBook overheating issues, make sure to give a close look at how CPU resources are used on your macOS device.

To open Activity Monitor, launch FinderApplications folderUtilities. Now, double-click on the Activity Monitor icon and then make sure the CPU tab is selected at the top.

Click on Utilities in Applications on Mac Finder

Click on Activity Monitor in Finder on Mac

Now, a detailed sheet will appear on the screen showing how much CPU resources a specific app is using. The memory hogging apps would appear right at the top. In my case, it’s none other than Google Chrome and its helper (the so-called usual suspects) that are getting the most out of CPU on my MacBook. And I guess your story might not be dissimilar to mine.

Once you have caught the culprits red-handed, either delete them all or stop using them heavily.

Tip #2. Make Sure to Keep the MacBook’s Vents Unobstructed While Using

Are you in the habit of putting your MacBook on the stomach or lap and work while relaxing on the couch/bed? If yes, the devil could well be in this very habit.

As MacBooks vent from the backside, ensure that the rear side of the notebook isn’t blocked. Else, the notebook will heat up quickly. Avoid resting it on things like blanket or pillow as it prevents the device from venting properly. A flat surface like a table, desk, or book is the right place to put the notebook on while you are working on it.

Tip #3. Why Not Use Stand for Your MacBook

I prefer to use a stand for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it allows the MacBook to vent properly so that it can remain cool even after hours of use. And second, it provides enhanced viewing angles. If you like the idea of a stand, get a user-friendly one right now. For that, you don’t need to look beyond our roundup of the best stands for MacBook.

Tip #4. Avoid Putting Your MacBook in Direct Sunlight

Though it’s not a MacBook Pro overheating solution per se but rather a precaution, avoid sitting your notebook in the direct sunlight. I have noticed it many a time that my laptop easily heats whenever it faces the sunlight. So, I make sure to keep the notebook away from it. Moreover, Apple suggests users keep the device at a place where the temperature is between 10-35 degrees Celsius.

Tip #5. Keep Fewer Tabs and Windows Open

For smooth-sailing performance, it’s always better to keep fewer tabs and windows open. When you aren’t using any tab or a window, make sure to close it. While this tip sounds basic and age-old, not many people follow it consistently. It’s these tiny things that help improve performance. So, the next time you go for an extensive web browsing (or something of that kind), ensure that only the needed tabs are open.

Tip #6. Customize Energy Saver Settings

Granted, MacBook Pros and multitasking go hand-in-hand due largely to the high-end specs and highly optimized macOS. But that doesn’t mean the notebooks don’t have any loopholes. While dealing with heavy files (i.e during video editing, graphic designing or running hardcore games that require a ton of memory), the laptops tend to get hot.

If you are a power user, don’t fail to customize the energy saver settings in line with your needs. It can help extend the battery life of your MacBook and also alleviate the heating issue to a good extent. To do so, click on the Apple() menuSystemEnergy Saver.

Click on Apple Logo and then click on System Preferences on Mac

Click on Enery Saver in System Preference on Mac

Now, adjust energy-related settings. For instance, you can enable/disable automatic graphics switching, put hard disks to sleep when possible, etc.

Tip #7. Check Your MacBook’s Fan

There is a reason why a cooling fan exists, isn’t it? It plays a decisive role in preventing a MacBook from heating. If you find your notebook often running rather hot, the fan might be at fault. It may either be completely worn out or unable to carry out its task with the needed proficiency. macOS comes with a hardware diagnostic tool that can help you spot hardware issues on your device.

Step #1. To use this tool, make sure to remove all the peripheral devices and turn off your MacBook first.

Step #2. Now, restart your notebook and then hold down the D key to kickstart either Apple Hardware Test (On MacBook made before June 2013) or Apple Diagnostics ( On MacBook made after June 2013).

Side Note: On older MacBooks like 2011 model, holding down the D key may not kickstart the Apple Hardware Test. In this case, you can use the Option-D key combination to get the job done.

Step #3. Next, follow the on-screen instructions to begin the test.

After the basic test which takes just a few minutes, macOS will report hardware issues. If you want to go for an in-depth hardware test, you have the option to check a box for it. Keep in mind, an in-depth test will require an hour or more.

If you see any of these, take the laptop to a service provider and you will get further advice on what to do.

At the end of the test, if you see reference codes starting with PPF, there may be a problem with the cooling fan. In this case, contact Apple or take your notebook to an Apple-authorized service provider.

Tip #8. Reset SMC

The other reliable trick that can work in troubleshooting the overheating issues of MacBook Pro is to reset SMC. For those unfamiliar, it stands for the system management controller which plays a vital role in controlling the thermal management of the macOS device. Times when the fan of the notebook is running high, it can help resolve the problem.

First off, click on Apple Menu and choose Shut Down. When your note is turned off, press “shift+option+control” keys on the keyboard and the power button at once. Make sure to hold them for 10 seconds and then release all the keys. Now, turn on the laptop by pressing the power button. That’s it! You have reset the SMC.

Tip #9. Wipe Out All Useless Stuff

Though not many of you may believe, a cluttered Mac not only runs sluggishly but also gets too hot. Hence, it pays to wipe out all the redundant files and unused apps frequently.

If cleaning up the Mac isn’t one of your virtues, chances are pretty high that your laptop might already be cluttered. So, the villain could be none other than the useless documents and data that may have piled up over time.

To me, the best way to keep a notebook decluttered is to remove unnecessary data regularly so that it doesn’t become a huge chunk. Just in case, you find it a bit tedious to get rid of the useless files manually, take advantage of third-party cleanup tools.

The ones that I have found quite reliable are MacClean and TweakBit MacRepair. Give them a try to keep track of unnecessary files and delete them all with ease.

Side Note: Many of these third-party tools also come with the option to remove malware which also causes Macs to overheat. If the storage clean up tools don’t feature malware removal features, get an anti-malware application to not only offer additional safeguards to your notebook but also prevent it from heating.

Tip #10. Clean Your Mac

Believe it or not, dirt and dust do sneak into Mac and start creating problems. Having been on the receiving end a few times, I wouldn’t be surprised if the issue would be caused by grime or dust that may have piled up over the years. So, how would you clean it up?

Well, you can (or take the help of a tech-savvy friend) use a screwdriver to remove the bottom panel of the notebook. Then, use a soft cloth to clean the debris. Compressed air can also come in handy in blowing away dust from the cooling fan and its vents.

Tip #11. Get Rid of Flash

Never let flash videos and spammy advertisements run amuck as they also play a good part in stoking overheating issues on Mac. It’s because they often load up automatically, hacking away plenty of resources of the system and thereby putting undue pressure on the laptop. So, be sure to disable Flash plug-ins in the web browsers.

In macOS Safari, click on Safari menuPreferencesWebsites. Now, deselect the tickbox located on the left of the plug-in name.

If you want to completely remove flash-plugins from your Mac, head over to Adobe’s website and download the Flash plug-in uninstaller. After that, run the uninstaller to get rid of the Flash from your device.

Tip #12. Disable Turbo Boost

MacBooks come with an Intel processor that features a productivity-boosting technology called “Turbo Boost.” What it primarily does is amps up the standard clock rate to enable the processor to tackle heavy files faster. While Turbo Boost ramps up productivity, the increased performance comes at a cost of a lot of extra energy consumption resulting in overheating.

Unfortunately, macOS doesn’t offer a native tool to disable this feature. But bother not, there is a super handy tool to turn it off/on. So, if you are willing to keep your Mac cool overlooking the slight dip in performance, head over to our complete guide.

Tip #13. Update Your MacBook

You can keep a host of issues at bay just by keeping your MacBook updated. And the answer to this overheating issue might also be packed inside the new software update. So, hop into the System PreferencesSoftware Update and then download and install the latest macOS update as usual.

Click on Apple Logo and then click on System Preferences on Mac

Click on Software Update in Mac System Preferences

Signing Off…

After going through all the MacBook Pro overheating solutions, you may have observed that one can take control of the issue just by taking care of basic things – in most cases.

Wiping out useless data, keeping flash videos/malware at bay, allowing the MacBook to vent properly, and putting the notebook in sync with the latest software update can go a long way in preventing this issue from cropping up.

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Hopefully, these tips can help you keep your MacBook cool. Have any tips to share with us?

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Suraj is a digital marketing expert on the iGB's team. He contributes to the social media section along with tips and tricks for iPhone, Apple Watch. Apart from blogging, he likes to work out as much as he can in his gym and love to listening to retro music.