An overheated MacBook can drain the built-in battery – even worse, it can damage the internal hardware. So, you must find the answers to why is my MacBook heating up to eliminate the problem without any external help.
Intel-based and Apple silicon-powered Mac laptops can generate excessive heat for several reasons. Hence, you must determine the root cause of the issue to cool down the laptop. Besides, users will hear a loud whirring sound from the internal fans when the MacBook overheats.
Always turn off the MacBook when it heats up to avoid long-term damage. Moreover, you must be aware of some clear signs of MacBook overheating. Unexpected shutdowns and laptop slowdowns indicate your Mac laptop is overheating.
Let’s find out the causes of why a MacBook overheats and how you can fix it:
Possible Reasons for Why is My MacBook Heating up:
Software and hardware glitches can cause your Mac laptop to overheat. Older MacBook models tend to heat up more than the latest M2-powered MacBooks.
If you’re playing high-graphics games or watching HD content on your laptop for hours, it will generate excessive heat. So, close the game and movie streaming platform to solve the issue.
Here are the 9 reasons why your Intel or Apple silicon-based MacBook Pro or MacBook Air is heating up:
Are you using multiple power-intensive apps simultaneously to boost your productivity? It can cause your new Mac laptop’s temperature to spike. So, try running only one app at once to control the macOS device’s temperature.
2. Unresponsive Mac apps
When the preinstalled productivity apps freeze or crash, your MacBook tries to fix the error by consuming much energy. At that time, your Mac device will overheat and drain the battery quickly.
3. Google Chrome
Do you use Google Chrome on your MacBook for a safe browsing experience? You must switch to a lighter web browser to avoid the laptop overheating. Because Chrome tends to be heavy on system resources and it contributes to overheating. So, use Safari – MacBook’s default browser for web surfing.
4. Multiple Web Browser tabs
Don’t open too many tabs on your web browser, and it can cause your MacBook to overheat and slow down its performance. Remember to keep the browser tab count to 6 or 7 and close the bookmark sites if you don’t need them.
5. System Management Controller (SMC) Fault
The SMC on your MacBook is a chip that controls all the power functions and hardware units, including the internal fans. Your Mac laptop will overheat if there is a problem with the System Management Controller.
6. Blocked laptop air vents
Grime, dust or dirt particles can accumulate inside the MacBook’s cooling fans over time and block the vents. Your laptop fails to generate sufficient cool air for the clogged air vents, causing it to overheat.
7. Out-of-date MacBook Software
An outdated operating system can be the reason behind an overheated MacBook. Besides, minor bugs in the installed Mac software can also heat the device.
8. Viruses or Malware
Did you visit a malicious website recently or open a suspicious email attachment? You may have a virus or other malware on the MacBook. If you open the virus-infected files or programs, your Mac laptop will overheat.
9. Cooling Fan-related issues
Your MacBook’s cooling fan regulates its temperature – keeping this unit in top-notch condition is essential. However, the laptop can stop working properly due to excessive dust buildup or ageing, resulting in overheating.
5 Best Ways to Prevent your MacBook from Overheating
By now, you might have acknowledged why your MacBook is heating up. It’s time to implement a few solutions to reduce its temperature and boost its overall performance.
Here is how you can cool down your MacBook Pro or Air based on the causes listed above:
1. Close your Mac’s Background processes
Mac laptops’ processors are designed to handle intensive workloads. However, if the CPU is overloaded with too many apps or processes, it will work harder and generate excessive heat. So, you must check the CPU usage and close the unwanted background apps/processes to fix the problem.
Locate the Finder icon in Dock, tap on it and go to “Applications” when the new window opens. Navigate to “Utilities” and select “Activity Monitor” from the built-in app list.
Head to the “CPU” tab and see which apps or processes consume the most power. Press the “X” icon next to the apps/processes to close them and reduce the CPU load on your MacBook. You can also consider uninstalling unwanted Mac apps to avoid overheating issues in the future.
2. Close the Web Browser tabs
Dozens of open web browser tabs can make your MacBook overwork, especially if you’re working on resource-intensive apps simultaneously. So, you must close the apps from the Activity Monitor and then open the browser.
Are you experiencing the overheating issue when using Chrome? Tap on the Google Chrome icon from the Mac desktop, and use the Command and W keyboard shortcut to close a single tab. To close all the browser tabs on MacBook, continue holding down the CMD while tapping the W key.
Moreover, web browsers have a handy Task Manager tool that helps you identify the tabs that are draining the laptop battery the most. You can close them from the browser’s Task Manager window and Bookmark the tab you might have to reassess to find relevant information.
3. Modify your MacBook’s Graphics Configuration
You must adjust your Mac laptop’s settings if it is heating up suddenly. Apple included 2 graphics cards (GPUs) in older 15-inch MacBook Pro models – discrete and integrated GPU.
The discrete GPU is more powerful than the integrated GPU. It is ideal for 4K gaming and rendering video, but it consumes more energy and drains the laptop battery faster, contributing to overheating. On the other hand, the integrated GPU saves the laptop energy and maximises its battery life.
Don’t know which graphics card your Mac uses? Click the Apple icon in the menu bar and select “About this Mac” from the drop-down list. Head to the Overview tab and go to “Graphics” to check which GPU your MacBook uses.
Additionally, you can click “System Report” in the Overview tab to find more details about the graphics processor. Locate “Graphics/Displays”, tap on it and check its type, model or VRAM capacity.
Which MacBook Graphics Settings Should You Change?
Once done, access your Apple menu to open the System Preferences window. Choose “Battery” and select “Power Adapter” or “Battery” when the next page appears. If your MacBook has 2 GPUs, put a tick mark next to the Automatic graphics switching.
Your MacBook will automatically switch between these two graphics cards to maximise the battery life and control the device’s heat. However, you might not find the Automatic graphics switching option if your Mac laptop has one GPU.
4. Reset your MacBook’s System Management Controller (SMC)
A problem in your Mac laptop’s SMC can potentially cause an overheating issue. But, you can fix the issue by resetting the Apple device’s System Management Controller. Fortunately, resetting the Mac SMC is pretty straightforward and can be done without an expert’s help.
Follow these steps to reset your MacBook Air or Pro’s SMC:
- Access the Mac laptop’s Apple menu and click “Shut down” from the pop-up menu.
- Press the power button and release it after 10 seconds and wait until your MacBook shows the Apple logo on the screen.
- Hold the right Shift, left Option key and left Control keys simultaneously.
- Press the power button and release these 4 keys after 7 seconds to reset the SMC.
- Restart your MacBook and check if it is heating up when editing content or while doing other work.
5. Test your MacBook’s Cooling fan
You can determine if your MacBook fan has any problem without removing it from the bottom case. If you’re wondering how then let us clarify that the Apple Diagnostics tool helps to detect fan issues. So, use this built-in Mac laptop tool to check if the fan is working properly.
Restart your Intel or Apple silicon-based MacBook Pro or Air from the Apple menu. Press the D key when the MacBook is rebooting to start a hardware scan. Do you have an M1-powered MacBook Pro or MacBook Air? Hold the power button until you hear a startup chime and press the Command and D keys simultaneously.
Your MacBook will display the scanning results on the screen within 2-3 minutes. Check if there is any error code that starts with “PPF”.
If you have PPF error codes in the result, it indicates your cooling fan has issues. Contact a reliable expert and replace the faulty MacBook fan with a new one.
Alternative Solutions to Stop your MacBook from Heating up
Keeping your MacBook software updated can help you to eliminate overheating issues. So, install the latest macOS update on the device from System Settings or System Preferences. If that doesn’t fix the problem, contact MacBook Repair India technicians for the ultimate assistance.