How to Fix Loud Fan Noise and Heat on a MacBook

Introduction

Fan are used to help keep the inside of your computer cool. If you are hearing loud fan noise, this could be the result of the following.

  • Insufficient Cooling
  • Runaway Apps
  • Graphics Settings
  • Other hardware issues

This guide will help you to identify the cause of your fan noise and provide a resolution to your issue.

Loud fan noise

1 Restart

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.

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Fan are used to help keep the inside of your computer cool. If you are hearing loud fan noise, this could be the result of the following.

  • Insufficient Cooling
  • Runaway Apps
  • Graphics Settings
  • Other hardware issues

This guide will help you to identify the cause of your fan noise and provide a resolution to your issue.

Loud fan noise

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.

Most laptop computers have easy-to-spot ventilation areas where heat is expelled from while they are in use. Your MacBook computer has a less-obvious ventilation area around the rear screen hinge.
MacBook Pro with exhaust vent highlighted

Ensuring this area is free of dust, debris, and other blockages is the easiest way to make sure your MacBook is able to expel heat in the way it was designed. Use compressed air to clean around this ventilation area to help keep your computer running cool.

There may be occasions when a piece of software on your Mac will crash or become unresponsive and take up too much CPU or memory. The best option is to go to the Activity Monitor and see what’s causing the congestion.

Activity Monitor shows the processes that are running on your Mac, so you can manage them and see how they affect your Mac's activity and performance.

  1. Select Spotlight on the top-right of your menu bar.
    macOS menu bar with Search highlighted.
  2. Type in "activity monitor", and select Activity Monitor from the search results.
    Spotlight search with search field and Activity Monitor in results highlighted.
  3. Select the %CPU header. This will sort your processes by how much CPU they are using.
    Activity Monitor with CPU% header highlighted.
  4. Look through the list of running programs. If one has an exceptionally high CPU%, it will be on the top, and could be a sign of the program having problems.
  5. To terminate a process that may be causing a problem, click on it with your mouse to highlight it, then click the X button in the upper-left corner of the Activity Monitor window.
    Activity monitor with program and close X highlighted.
  6. You will be asked if you really want to quit the process. Click Force Quit.
    Quit prompt with Force Quit highlighted.

Many MacBooks have both an internal graphics processor and a discreet graphics processor. When automatic graphics switching is enabled, your MacBook will switch to the internal graphics processor. When this happens, it can save power, but also puts an extra load on your CPU causing it to heat up. You can turn this option off to use the discrete graphics processor which may cool your CPU temperature but use more power.

Not all MacBooks will have this option available.

  1. Click on the Apple menu and go to System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences highlighted
  2. Click on Energy Saver.
    Energy Saver
  3. Uncheck the Automatic Graphics Switching option
    Automatic Graphics Switching
If you have performed all of these steps and still have loud fan noise, then you may be looking at a internal hardware issue.
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