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MacBook fan too loud: Here's what you can do

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Understand causes of noisy MacBook fans

If your MacBook fan is noisy, it is likely due to excessive system load. We help you to find the causes and to eradicate them..

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Apple's MacBooks are true engineering masterpieces: slim and powerful, they can, depending on the model, serve as a desktop replacement. However, the slim design has a major disadvantage: Despite the good thermal conductivity of the aluminum housing, heat problems are inevitable if the device is constantly under high load. The result is an apparently insanely running fan, which massively affects the enjoyment of the device. However, this is not normal: Ideally, the MacBook should only ventilate very quietly in the background. If the fan is very loud, this indicates a system problem. Most of the time, however, this is not something that cannot be solved.

Understand causes of noisy MacBook fans

Basically, notebooks are designed in such a way that they have to ventilate as little as possible. Nevertheless, they have fans to quickly dissipate a lot of heat from the case in an emergency. This also applies to Apple's MacBooks, MacBook Airs, and MacBook Pros. The main sources of heat are the processor and the hard drive. The cause of a loud fan can therefore be any process that puts a lot of stress on these components. In addition, hardware defects or an error in the operating system can be responsible for strange fan behavior. System processes that have gotten out of hand, incorrect settings or simply poor ventilation are also possible. In the following steps we will help you find the source of the fan activity and turn it off:

1. Ensure good heat dissipation

Before you dig deeper into the settings of your Mac system, you should ask yourself whether something on the MacBook is blocking the heat dissipation . Do you use your MacBook in bed, preferably on the bedspread or do you use a clip-on protective cover or even a neoprene cover that always stays on the MacBook? All of these things cause heat to build up . Take it off and use your MacBook on a firm surface to see if the problem persists after that.

2. Are the ventilation slots free?

It sounds banal, but the cause of noisy fans is often just dirt . If you have a dog or cat, or if you use your MacBook a lot in bed or on the couch, there is a not inconsiderable chance that your MacBook is simply fluffy. Look into the crack on the screen hinge: is there dirt here? Then buy a can of compressed air and blow it away..

3. Is a complex process currently active?

If your MacBook does not ventilate loudly all the time, but only from time to time and after you have done something, this is completely normal. For example, if you import a large batch of photos into the Photos app, your Mac will work up a sweat. The same applies, for example, to video editing or if you stream 4K films from Netflix - whenever the MacBook really has to calculate. A loud fan is perfectly normal if it occurs intermittently and only when you have done something.

4. Check activity display

A background process may also be active that is using the processor and causing increased fan activity. To find out, you can take a look at the system activity : To do this, start the “ Activity Monitor program from / Programs / Utilities / and take a look at the “ CPU ” tab . Sort the CPU load by clicking on " % CPU " so that the most stressful process is always displayed at the top. Most of the time, you will find that this is a program that you are currently using. Otherwise, you can also try google to find out the process and its purpose..

5. Properly delete unnecessary software

If you have programs that you do not need, you should also uninstall them: This not only saves space on the hard drive, but also cleans the system of unnecessary processes. It is important that you either use the uninstaller script that may be supplied with the software, if available. Or you can completely uninstall the software using the free AppCleaner app.

6. Checking the login items

You should also take a look at the login items on your Mac. You can find them in the system settings under “ Users and Groups ” in the “ Logon Objects ” tab : Delete here what you no longer need or entries that are marked with a yellow exclamation mark. Just to be safe.

7. Uninstall Flash and Silverlight

If possible, you should also uninstall Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight . Both internet plugins are actually no longer needed these days. If you do need it somewhere, you can always reinstall it. It is important that both plugins are real resource hogs and pollute the Mac while surfing, which is why you better uninstall them. Adobe has instructions for Flash and Microsoft has instructions for Silverlight .

8. Perform a PRAM reset.

However, it is also possible that the fan just spins even though you have not done anything. Here are possibly incorrect settings in the so-called PRAM set: This parameter RAM sits below the macOS operating system and stores so things like screen brightness or volume of the speakers. If something is set incorrectly here, strange fan behavior can occur. Therefore it makes sense to reset the PRAM :

  1. Turn off your MacBook.
  2. Find the [cmd] + [option] + [P] + [R] keys .
  3. Press the start button and hold the four buttons down for approx. 20 seconds .
  4. Release the buttons . The PRAM is now reset and the Mac will restart.

9. Reset SMC

If your MacBook is still ventilating strangely, it could also be due to a faulty entry in the system management controller (SMC) . He is responsible for the control of system components. The SMC can also be reset, even if this is a little more complicated than with a PRAM reset:

  1. Turn off your MacBook.
  2. On the keyboard, look for the [Shift] + [Ctrl] + [Option] keys and the on / off switch .
  3. Press all four buttons simultaneously for at least 10 seconds .
  4. Then release the buttons at the same time .
  5. You can now start the Mac . The SMC is reset.

10. Is the hardware equipment correct?

If all of these tips don't really work, there may be another cause: Your MacBook is simply too old and no longer able to cope with the requirements . Depending on the model, you can, if necessary, retrofit an SSD and RAM , which relieves the processor. However, if your MacBook is over 7 years old, it should be time to replace it.


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