How to Prevent Your MacBook From Overheating

MacBooks are notorious for getting really hot while performing intensive tasks, but here are a few tricks you can try out to keep your MacBook cool under pressure.

Laptops in general are prone to getting really hot while streaming videos, playing games, etc., and that’s mostly thanks to how the internal components are squeezed into such a small area.

Of course, most laptops have fans that allow air to circulate, but sometimes that doesn’t keep it as cool as you’d might like.

MacBooks are quite known for getting very hot while doing even simple tasks like watching YouTube videos, and it gets worse when you play games or edit video. There have been countless threads created on Apple’s Support Communities Forum where users have worried about the temperature of their MacBook, so you’re definitely not alone when it comes to that.

We’ll show you a few tricks you can try in order to prevent your MacBook from overheating, but first, we need to answer the question of whether or not your MacBook is overheating in the first place, or if it’s simply just hot from being on and performing tasks.

Is Your MacBook Overheating?

Many MacBook users believe that if their machine gets really hot, then it must be overheating, but that’s not the case most of the time. In fact, a MacBook will technically never overheat, since it has sensors that detects the temperature of the components and automatically shuts down the MacBook if they reach a certain temperature. This is to prevent damage to components from high temperatures.

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If your MacBook isn’t randomly shutting down due to heat issues, then there’s really nothing to worry about.

However, prolonged exposure to high temperatures can slowly degrade components over time, so even though your MacBook may not be overheating, it’s still important to keep your MacBook as cool as you can.

Of course, it’s not something to be paranoid about, as there are millions upon millions of MacBooks running without failure for many, many years for many, many hours a day, but keeping your MacBook cool will help prevent it from overheating if an intensive task ever gets it to that point.

Elevate Your MacBook

If you’ve ever felt the bottom of your MacBook, it’s probably pretty warm. All of the components are stored just on the other side of that aluminum shell and since they’re packed in so tightly, they need as much air circulation as they can get so they can stay cool.

This is why we recommend getting a laptop stand if you’re working at a desk. Laptop stands raise your MacBook off of the desk surface so that air can get underneath and cool it off better. This also allows heat to escape for efficiently.

Griffin Elevator

Plus, the elevation of your MacBook will make your setup more ergonomic, since you want the display to be at eye level.

There are tons of laptop stands that you can choose from, but our favorite has to be the Griffin Elevator ($35 on Amazon currently), which comes with a brushed aluminum frame to match your MacBook (with a few plastic parts) and a simple design. It elevates your laptop so that you’re not looking down at your screen, but rather across it at eye level, and it saves space by allowing you to store items underneath it.

Plus, it keeps your laptop cool by raising it off of the desk surface in order to get air flowing beneath it, and the two resting arms make sure that there’s no blockage going on. For just shy of $40, it’s a cheap purchase that will vastly improve your workspace setup.

Avoid Softer Surfaces

If you can’t elevate your MacBook, it’s at least recommended that you set it on a hard surface rather than a soft surface.

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You might use your laptop in bed like a lot of users, but resting your MacBook on a pillow or the blanket is a very bad idea. The fabric essentially absorbs the heat and doesn’t dissipate it, which makes your MacBook even hotter. However, resting your MacBook on a hard service allows heat to easily escape.

We’d recommend getting a lap desk if you ever use your MacBook in bed or other location where there are no hard surfaces to use. Amazon has a ton that you can choose from at different price points, so choose one that you like and you’ll be off to the races.

Don’t Use Fan Control Software

You might have been told in the past to use fan control software to better manage your MacBook fan’s speed settings. However, this generally isn’t a good idea.

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Fan control software allows you to change your MacBook’s cooling fan’s speed for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it’s too loud when it gets cranked up? Use the software to manually override this and set a lower maximum speed.

However, this is a bad idea. The fan speed automatically kicks up because your MacBook is hot and needs to cool down. Manually overriding the speed setting will prevent this from happening. The best thing you can do is simply let the MacBook automatically adjust the fan speed on its own. That’s what it was made to do.

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Now, of course, you can also use fan control software to crank up the fan even when it doesn’t need to be. That wouldn’t be a problem, as more overflow is always a good thing, but we’re guessing most users don’t use that way.

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