How to Stop MacBook from Overheating 8 Quick Ways

How to Stop MacBook from Overheating: 10 Quick Ways

Prevent overheating with these easy MacBook cooling techniques.

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Last updated: December 20, 2023

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TL;DR

To stop MacBook from overheating, try the following fixes:

  1. Brush or blow out MacBook vents and ports.
  2. Use a cooling pad or laptop stand for better airflow.
  3. Close heavy apps using Activity Monitor.
  4. Keep your MacBook in a cool, shaded area.
  5. Use Safari for better macOS optimization.
  6. Lower resolution in System Settings > Displays for reduced graphics load.
  7. Uninstall unused apps.

I often use my MacBook for video editing and mixing, which means it tends to get hot after running such highly demanding apps and software. Due to this, my Mac starts to slow down, apps start crashing, and the system starts lagging. It was happening quite a lot, so I thought it was time to troubleshoot. Drawing from my own challenges and solutions, I’ll share some tested strategies to efficiently cool down your MacBook below.

Before We Begin

Overheating can damage your Mac’s internal components, causing hardware failures. Download MacKeeper to delete unused apps, free up RAM, and optimize your Mac’s performance to prevent overheating.

Uninstall Unused Apps to Prevent Overheating With MacKeeper

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Uninstalling unused apps can improve your Mac’s overall health and prevent overheating. While there are other ways to uninstall unused apps, I find MacKeeper to be the quickest and safest one.

Here’s how to uninstall unused apps on your Mac using MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper.
  2. Open MacKeeper and go to the Smart Uninstaller under Cleaning.
click smart uninstaller in the left sidebar
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan in smart uninstaller
  1. Wait for the scan to complete, click Applications in the left panel, and select the apps you want to uninstall from the list. Then, click the Remove Selected button.
select the applications you want to remove and click remove selected
  1. Confirm the deletion by clicking Remove on the pop-up.
click remove on the pop up window in smart uninstaller
  1. This will remove your selected apps from your Mac, and you’ll get a Removal Completed message. Click Rescan if you want to scan your Mac again.
click rescan in smart uninstaller

9 Methods to Stop MacBook From Overheating

By preventing overheating, you can protect your MacBook’s internal components, maintain its performance and battery life, and ensure a comfortable user experience.

Below, I’ve shared the methods I personally use to prevent my MacBook from overheating. I’ve tried all these steps on my MacBook Air M2, 2022, but they also work on other models.

1. Clean Your MacBook

A major cause of MacBook overheating is dust and dirt clogging up its cooling system. When fans get dusty, they can’t cool the Mac effectively, leading to overheating. This can also make your MacBook’s fans noisy.

Here’s how to clean up your MacBook:

  1. Shut down your MacBook and unplug it from the power source.
  2. Use a soft brush or a can of compressed air to remove any dust or debris from the vents and ports.
  3. Use a lint-free cloth or a microfiber towel to wipe the exterior of your MacBook.
cleaning mac with a lint free cloth
  1. Repeat this process at least once every few weeks to prevent dust buildup.

2. Use Cooling Pads and Laptop Stands

Cooling pads and laptop stands are great accessories for MacBooks. They help improve airflow and prevent overheating. I use a laptop stand for my MacBook, and it really helps keep it cool. You can also invest in a good laptop stand for long-term benefits.

Here are some tips to stop MacBook from overheating:

  1. Use a cooling pad or laptop stand to elevate your MacBook and improve airflow.
laptop on a stand
  1. Choose a cooling pad or laptop stand with built-in fans to improve airflow.
  2. Keep your cooling pad or laptop stand clean to prevent dust buildup and stop MacBook from overheating.

3. Identify and Close Resource-Intensive Apps

The Activity Monitor on your MacBook can show you which apps and processes are using the most resources, helping you identify what might be causing overheating. By using Activity Monitor to spot and manage these resource-intensive tasks, you can prevent overheating and protect your MacBook from potential hardware issues.

Here’s how to use Activity Monitor to close programs with high CPU usage:

  1. Open Activity Monitor from Finder > Applications > Utilities.
open activity monitor in utilities
  1. Click the CPU tab to view each app’s percentage of CPU usage.
cpu usage by percentage in the cpu tab
  1. Identify any applications using excessive CPU resources, and quit or close them by selecting the program and clicking the small x icon in the top bar.
close a program in activity monitor

You can also use MacKeeper to clear memory and free up RAM on your Mac to improve its performance. Follow these steps to use the Memory Cleaner from MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper. 
  2. Launch MacKeeper and click Memory Cleaner
select memory cleaner under performance
  1. Click Open in the memory cleaner.
click open in the memory cleaner
  1. Tap Clean Memory.
click clean memory
  1. This will perform a memory cleanup and free up occupied memory.
memory cleaned after a cycle
  1. Alternatively, click the x next to an app consuming excessive system resources to close it.
click the cross next to each app
  1. Confirm by clicking Quit in the prompt window.
click quit on the pop up

4. Keep Your MacBook in a Cool Place

Macs naturally produce heat while running, and if they’re in a hot environment, the internal temperature can climb too high. This excess heat can lead to slower performance, frequent crashes, and in severe cases, hardware damage.

Here are some tips to stop MacBook from overheating and keep it cool:

  1. Keep your MacBook away from direct sunlight.
laptop in sunlight
  1. Keep your MacBook in a cool, well-ventilated area.
  2. Avoid using your MacBook on soft surfaces like beds or sofas, as they block airflow.
laptop in bed

5. Use Safari Instead of Chrome

In Safari vs. Chrome on Mac, Safari wins because it’s Mac’s native browser developed to work seamlessly with the system. It prevents overheating on a Mac due to its optimized design for macOS. Setting Chrome as your default browser can cause your MacBook to overheat, as it’s known to be a resource-intensive app. So, it’s better to set Safari as your default browser.

Here’s how to switch to Safari:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Desktop & Dock in the left sidebar.
click desktop and dock in system settings
  1. Scroll down and look for the Default web browser option.
default web browser option
  1. Click the pop-up menu next to Default web browser and select Safari from the list of available browsers.
select safari as a default browser
  1. Safari is now set as your default browser on Mac, and any links you click will open in Safari by default.

6. Close Extra Browser Tabs

Each open browser tab consumes CPU resources, especially if the tab is running complex scripts or multimedia content. By closing unnecessary tabs, you reduce the CPU’s workload and prevent your Mac from overheating.

Here’s how to close all unused tabs at once in Safari:

  1. Select your Safari window with multiple tabs open.
select your safari window with multiple tabs open
  1. Right-click the tab you want to keep and select the option Close Other Tabs from the context menu.
select the option close other tabs from a contextual menu

This will close all tabs except the one you selected.

7. Adjust Graphics Settings

MacBooks handle graphics-intensive apps, but running them for extended periods can cause your MacBook to overheat. These apps require a lot of processing power and graphics rendering, generating heat.

You can adjust graphics settings to stop MacBook from overheating by following these steps: 

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Select Displays.
select displays
  1. Choose a lower resolution to reduce graphics usage.
choose a lower resolution to reduce graphics usage
  1. Your Mac will require less processing power for resolution and not overheat.

8. Remove Extra Login Items

Every login item (apps or services that start automatically when you log in) consumes system resources. By removing unnecessary items, you reduce the initial load on your CPU and memory during startup. This will prevent your Mac from heating up due to excessive CPU load.

Here’s how to change start-up programs on your Mac:

  1. Click the Apple icon and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Select General and click Login Items in the right menu.
click general and select the login items tab
  1. Here, you’ll see the items that launch when you start up your Mac.
  2. Select the login item you want to remove and click the  button at the bottom of the list to remove the login item.
select an item and click the minus icon to delete it

You can also use MacKeeper to manage your login items. Here’s how:

  1. Download MacKeeper and install it on your Mac.
  2. Open Login Items under Performance in MacKeeper.
tap login items under performance
  1. Click Start Scan.
tap start scan
  1. Select unnecessary items from the list and click Remove Selected Items.
select the login items you want to delete and tap remove selected items
  1. Tap the Remove button on the pop-up.
tap remove on the pop up
  1. It will remove your selected items from the system startup list. You can click Rescan to repeat the process.
tap rescan

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides uninstalling apps, freeing up RAM, and removing login items, MacKeeper can scan your Mac for viruses, delete duplicate files, and clean junk files to enhance your Mac’s overall functionality. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to learn more about its features.

9. Update Your macOS

Apple regularly updates macOS to optimize performance and efficiency. These updates can include improvements in how the operating system manages resources, leading to less strain on the CPU and, consequently, less heat generation.

Here’s how to update your macOS on Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, click General and select Software Update.
click general and select software update
  1. Here, you’ll see information about the current macOS version installed on your Mac and any available updates.
  2. In the Software Update settings, if an update is available, you’ll see an option to download and install it. Typically, you will find a button labeled Update Now.
  3. Click the Update Now button to initiate the download process.
    click the update now button
    1. Once the download is complete, the macOS installer will automatically launch. 
    2. Once the installation is complete, your Mac will restart with the latest macOS version.

    What Are the Signs That Your MacBook Is Overheating?

    If your MacBook is overheating, you might notice several signs:

    1. 🔥 Hot to the Touch: The MacBook becomes unusually hot, especially around the bottom or keyboard area.
    2. 🌬️ Fan Noise: Your MacBook fans become so loud, running at high speeds and producing more noise as they try to cool down the internal components.
    3. 🐌 Performance Issues: Experiencing slow performance, app crashes, or video/audio stuttering.
    4. ⚠️ Unexpected Shutdowns: The MacBook may shut down randomly to prevent damage from excessive heat.
    5. 🚨 Error Messages: Warning messages or alerts indicating that the MacBook needs to cool down.
    6. 🔋 Battery Draining Fast: Your MacBook battery draining faster than normal due to the heat.
    7. 🖥️ Graphics Glitches: Issues like lines, distortion, or color problems appear on the screen.
    8. 🔌 External Device Disconnection: Problems with external devices, like unexpected disconnections, due to overheating.

    Why Does Your Mac Get So Hot?

    Your MacBook getting hot can be due to a variety of reasons, often related to its hardware and how it’s being used. Here are some common causes:

    1. 💻 High CPU Usage: Intensive tasks like video editing, gaming, or running multiple applications simultaneously can cause your MacBook to heat up as the processor works harder.
    2. 🌬️ Poor Ventilation: MacBooks need good airflow to cool down. Using it on a soft surface like a bed or a lap can block the air vents.
    3. 🧹 Dust and Debris: Over time, dust can accumulate inside the MacBook, especially around the fans and air vents, reducing cooling efficiency.
    4. 🛠️ Aging Thermal Paste: The thermal paste that helps transfer heat from the CPU to the heat sink can degrade over time, reducing its effectiveness.
    5. 🔋 Battery Issues: A failing or swollen battery can generate excessive heat.
    6. 🐛 Software Issues: Sometimes, software bugs or malfunctioning background processes can cause the CPU to work harder than necessary, generating more heat.
    7. 🌡️ External Factors: Environmental factors like a hot room can also contribute to overheating.
    8. ⚙️ Hardware Malfunction: Less commonly, there might be an issue with the internal hardware, such as a failing fan.

    Prevent Your Mac From Overheating

    MacBook overheating can be frustrating, but with proper care, you can prevent it from happening and keep your device running smoothly. If nothing improves your MacBook’s performance, try these:

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. How can I check the temperature of my MacBook?

      You can check the temperature of your MacBook by using a third-party app like iStat Menus, Hot, or TG Pro. These apps can show you the temperature of different components of your MacBook, like the CPU and GPU.

    2. Can I use a cooling pad to prevent my MacBook from overheating?

      Yes, you can use a cooling pad to prevent your MacBook from overheating. Cooling pads have built-in fans that provide extra airflow to your MacBook and help to dissipate heat.

    3. How often should I clean my MacBook to prevent overheating?

      You should clean your MacBook to prevent overheating at least once a year. This involves cleaning the fans and hardware. However, if you use your MacBook in a dusty or dirty environment, you may need to clean it more often.

    4. Why does my MacBook get so hot?

      Your MacBook may get hot due to intensive tasks like video editing or gaming, insufficient ventilation, outdated software, or dust buildup inside. Regular maintenance, updating software, and avoiding overloading the CPU can help manage overheating issues.

    Hashir Ibrahim

    Author

    I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

    Ojash

    Reviewer

    Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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