What to Do When Your Mac Overheats

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09 / 03 / 2018

What to Do When Your Mac Overheats

Think there’s nothing worse than a Mac with a loud fan noise? What about a laptop so hot you can cook a steak? Unless you want to use an overheating MacBook for barbecue, use a few simple things to cool it down.

    Quit Runaway Apps

By consuming more system resources than they should, runaway apps burden your Mac’s processor or CPU. The CPU load over 70% makes the fans work faster to provide the additional airflow, which leads to laptop overheating.

Good news is that you can easily spot resource-draining apps. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities, open Activity Monitor, and switch to the CPU tab. Next, quit or uninstall the apps with the highest percentage in the % CPU column. Your Mac will thank you afterwards. You can also check out this post for more Activity Monitor tricks.

    Close Browser Tabs

Honestly, do you really need to keep thirty browser tabs open? A mess of tabs affects your productivity, worse yet, it slows down your Mac and makes fans work harder. That’s why you need to keep the tabs number to a reasonable minimum.

Bonus tip: many Mac users prefer third-party browsers like Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome. They, especially the latter one, consume way more system resources, so why not switch to Safari? It’s more resource-friendly, it’s baked into your Mac, and it’s less likely to overheat your Mac.

    Avoid Demanding Apps

We all use multiple apps at once. That’s not a big deal when you play your favorite tracks in the background while editing the fresh portion of vacation photos in the Photos app. However, running a graphics-heavy video editor while uploading video to YouTube is a whole different story. These processes are memory-hogging, and if you leave them active for a long time your Mac may struggle and heat up. The best solution is to close the apps you aren’t using at the moment instead of leaving them in the background.

    Never Block the Air Vents

No matter how tempting, it’s a bad idea to use a MacBook in bed or put it on your laps or stomach. This way you cover the air vents and block fans from cooling down the processor. So the easiest way to prevent overheating is also the most obvious – use MacBook on the flat surface. A desk or a table will do better than your lap.

Bonus tip: remember to clean your Mac inside from time to time. If it’s still under warranty, take your MacBook to the authorized store to remove the dirt and dust that’s been cluttering for years.

    Run a Fan Diagnostics

If fans on your Mac are still going crazy, you may test them by running a hardware diagnostics. Malfunctioning of the fan itself is likely to be the main reason for overheating. Depending on how old is your Mac, you can run either the Apple Diagnostics or the Apple Hardware Test.

Restart your machine and hold down the D key to start a hardware scan. Once the test is complete, you’ll see the results on your screen. Next, check for the error codes starting with “PPF”, which indicate the cooling fan issues. If you find any PPF error codes, take your Mac to local authorized service and get your fans fixed.


These are some basic things you can do when your Mac overheats. Remember to treat your Mac well so it can easily cool down and run smooth for years. Stay tuned for MacKeeper blog updates to get the most out of your Mac.