10 Efficient Ways to Stop MacBook Overheating

10 Efficient Ways to Stop MacBook Overheating

Before we start


One of the most common reasons for your Mac overheating is too many open apps that then overload your RAM. So before you try to reboot your Mac, remove any unnecessary apps that may clog up your memory.

MacKeeper will help you do that in a couple of seconds. What’s more, it’ll help you remove any other unnecessary files that may be clogging up your memory. Get MacKeeper now!


MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models overheat for all sorts of reasons. Surprisingly, age is not the main one. Even relatively new 2020 MacBooks can be running hot whenever we juggle between resource-hungry apps, work on them when sitting on a couch holding them on our lap, or going wild with dozens of tabs in the Chrome browser. 


Let’s stop your MacBook from overheating and try these effective ways:

  1. Check Activity Monitor
  2. Close needless browser tabs
  3. Manage graphics settings
  4. Reset the SMC
  5. Keep your MacBook updated at all times
  6. Avoid low-quality Mac chargers
  7. Test your fans
  8. Never block the air vents
  9. Get rid of malware

1. Check Activity Monitor  

Sometimes, certain apps stop responding or start working incorrectly. Other apps are just too resource-consuming. These factors burden your Mac’s processor (CPU), which starts to use more energy and generates heat resulting in your MacBook running hot.  


To spot resource-draining apps do this:  

1. Go to Finder → ApplicationsUtilities

finding activity monitor in applications folder in finder

2. Open Activity Monitor

3. Go to the CPU tab

4. Quit or uninstall the apps with the highest percentage in the % CPU column

photo-booth-activity-monitor.png”alt=”selected photo booth app which is consuming a lot of CPU

Big Sur overheating issues

After installing Big Sur on MacBook Pro it is very likely that you’ll encounter your computer overheating, battery draining fast, and fans working hard for no reason. Don’t worry—it shouldn’t last for long. After updating to the next macOS, background processes start reindexing the system and databases for Search or Photo. This is time-consuming and the system needs to be running to resolve this.


What to do:

  • Set your MacBook Pro not shut down or log out or for 24 hours or so. After a day your MacBook Pro should show improvement

Note: If you haven’t updated to macOS Big Sur be aware of these possible issues before installation.

2. Close needless browser tabs

Does your MacBook overheat whenever you intensively research online and have many tabs open? A mess of them in your browser significantly slows down your Mac and makes its fans work harder. That’s why you always need to keep the number of open tabs to a reasonable minimum.

numerous tabs open in chrome resulting in high CPU

Many Mac users prefer third-party browsers like Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome. But these browsers 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 make your MacBook Pro or Air so hot. Yes, Safari also has a private (incognito) browsing mode

3. Manage graphics settings

Most MacBook Pros have two graphic cards: a more powerful card and a less powerful one. Naturally, the more powerful needs more resources and may cause MacBook Pro overheating and battery draining.


To prevent that, Apple implemented a way to switch between graphics modes. 


You can set up automatic graphics switching in a few easy steps:

  1. Go to System Preferences
  2. Select Energy Saver
  3. Select the box next to Automatic graphics switching
selecting automatic graphics switching in energy saver settings

Now your Mac will automatically choose the less energy-draining graphic card.

4. Reset the SMC

SMC or System Management Controller is a chip responsible for controlling your MacBooks many physical parts, including the cooling fans.


Sometimes, resetting the SMC can solve your MacBook Air or Pro running hot problem. And don't worry, it's completely safe.


Here's how to reset the SMC:

  1. Shut down your Mac
  2. Press and hold Shift + Option + Control + Power buttons for 10 seconds
  3. Turn on your Mac

That's it. Your SMC chip has been successfully reset.

5. Keep your MacBook updated at all times 

How is keeping your MacBook updated related to it overheating? Updating to the newest macOS fixes operating system bugs, software-related issues, and helps apps run properly:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Go to the Software Updates tab
  3. Check for available updates
  4. Click Update Now
software update tab with available updates for Mac

Update your MacBook to compare if it stopped overheating less frequently than before.

6. Avoid low-quality Mac chargers

One of the most common problems that can cause your MacBook to overheat is counterfeit chargers. Stick to the original charger that came with your MacBook, and if you need a new one, make sure to get it from an authorized Apple store.

7. Test your fans

If fans on your Mac are still going crazy, you may test them by running a hardware diagnostics. 


Depending on how old your MacBook is, the built-in checkup tool is called Apple Diagnostics or Apple Hardware Test.


Here's how to run Apple Diagnostics:

  1. Restart your Mac and hold down the D key to start a hardware scan
  2. Once the test is complete, you'll see the results on your screen
  3. Check for the error codes beginning with "PPF," which indicate the cooling fan issues
  4. If you find any PPF error codes, take your Mac to a local authorized service and get your fans fixed

For more information, check this article on how to use Apple Diagnostics to fix your Mac's hardware.

8. 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 your MacBook on a flat surface. A desk or a table will do better than your lap.

9. Get rid of malware

ِAlthough Macs have excellent integrated security protection, they still can get malware, especially if your macOS isn't up to date.


Viruses might hijack your Mac's resources and use them for crypto mining, attacking other computers, and other operations that will significantly exhaust your Mac and cause it to overheat.


Unfortunately, it can be tough to scan every app and file stored in your Mac manually. It is more efficient to use a specialized security app such as MacKeeper that can quickly eliminate all malware for you.



1. Can a MacBook break from overheating?

Yes, overheating can damage sensitive internal parts of your MacBook. However, many built-in safeguards will tune down or shut your Mac off when it overheats.

2. Can a MacBook overheat in the sun?

Yes, exposing your MacBook to direct sunlight will raise its temperature and cause it to overheat.

3. Is it normal for Macs to get hot?

Most Macs are likely to warm up or even get hot during specific resource-consuming processes. It's fine as the temperature usually gets back to normal in time. 

4. What happens when MacBook Air overheats?

MacBook Air has a built-in safety feature that turns the CPU off if its heat goes above 100 degrees.


These are some basic things you can do when your Mac overheats, which we've discussed above. Remember to treat your Mac well so it can quickly cool down and run smoothly for years.


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