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Why Is My MacBook Air Fan So Loud? (Causes & Solutions)

Our MacBooks are wonderful little machines capable of working through our daily use. They’re reliable, and you’ll find that a MacBook could live for almost a decade with regular maintenance and tender love and care. But sometimes, even with the simplest of tasks, the fan will run into hyper-speed trying to cool the Mac down. 

What exactly causes this issue? Curious about why is my MacBook Air fan so loud? Follow this guide for some tips and care for your MacBook.  

Your MacBook may just need to cool off a little; it can be harmless. But if it happens a lot, there could be several reasons:  

1. Overheating 

Computers are designed to withstand a little heat as they work. Just like working out – as your system works harder, the components will start to warm up. The fan is designed to keep the air cool so that it doesn’t cook itself. 

As machines get older, you may find that the fan becomes less efficient over time and will need maintenance. If your fan is working overtime and your Mac is still hot, you should contact Apple Support. Ignoring the problem can lead to permanent damage to components and will render your MacBook unusable.  

2. CPU/RAM Overworked 

The Central Processing Unit (or CPU) is responsible for most of your Mac’s operations. It’s automatic for your fan to kick in as soon as your CPU becomes overworked, and it’s best to check what applications are eating it away. 

RAM in overdrive will also have the same effect. To check, press and hold CMD and space to open Spotlight. Click on the CPU tab and see what percentage of your CPU is in use. You can close unnecessary apps from here.  

3. External Temperature/Blocked Vents 

If it's a hot day or your room is unventilated, this can impact your Mac's temperature. The fan will start to work harder if the temperature is too hot for the machine. Make sure you've got windows open or your air conditioning is on.  

You should also check that the vents in your computer are open and free of debris. A blocked vent will not allow the hot air to escape. We recommend using a dedicated stand for your Mac to allow the air from the vents underneath to escape properly. 

person using a macbook

How To Fix A Loud MacBook Fan? (Tips For Performance) 

The fans are crucial to your Mac’s operation. There are things we can do to keep the fans running correctly and up to speed.  

Free Space 

Simply clearing out old applications or files you don't need will significantly improve your Mac's performance, which will mean your fan doesn't have to work as hard!  

Improve Air Circulation 

Don’t use your Mac in bed. The sheets and comforter will block the airways and cause overheating. Instead, you should try to use your computer on a stand, that way the air can circulate correctly.  

Clear Your CPU/RAM 

Check your activity monitor to see any background processes that are eating away at your CPU. To do this, go to Applications > Utilities, and find activity monitor. Look in the CPU tab and use the X in the top left corner to close any apps taking up a lot of space.  

Run Apple Diagnostics 

You can run Apple Diagnostics to see if your fan has been damaged. To do so, follow the steps below: 

  1. 1
    Disconnect external devices such as the mouse, keyboard, etc.  
  2. 2
    Restart your Mac and hold down the D key as it is restarting.  
  3. 3
    Select your language, and it shall run straight away.  
apple diagnostics screen

The test should show you the problem, if there is one. You should get your Mac serviced if you run into fan issues. 

Reset SMC 

The System Management Controller (SMC) is responsible for the hardware, which includes the fans. Resetting these systems may help your fan to cool the system easier. 

Disconnect the power chord and shut down your Mac. Press shift-control-option together and hold the power button. Do this for 10 seconds and release. Then switch the Mac on again. If this doesn’t work, it’s time to get your Mac serviced.  


How To Clean A MacBook Fan?  

This can be a tricky process, but with patience, you can improve the lifespan of your MacBook. For this, you'll need: 

  • Step 1: Flip Over  
    Flip your Mac over, so the bottom is facing up. You'll find 10 screws on the outside, all around the sides. Unscrew them using the P5 screwdriver.  
  • Step 2: Remove Back  
    Gently remove the screws and set them aside. Get a good grip on the back and begin to remove from the base. For a 2016 model or later, this is where the suction cup and guitar pick come in handy. Use the suction cup to lift the lower edge and use the pick to pop the hidden clip underneath.  
  • Step 3: Locate and Clean  
    Find your Mac’s fan. It may have more than one, so be sure to check you get them all. Use compressed air to blow away and clean off dust. The cotton swabs should help remove particularly stubborn dust.  
  • Step 4: Reassemble  
    Once you're satisfied that it is clean, clip back the bottom to the base, and screw it back on. Be careful not to round off the screws.  
macbook fan

How To Check MacBook Temperature (Overheating Prevention) 

There are a few ways to check your Mac’s temperature: 

Physical Temperature 

If your Mac feels unusually warm to the touch, or your fans start working overtime with no obvious reason, this could be a sign of a fault or serious issue, and you should have it serviced.  

Applications 

There are two apps you can download: Temperature Gauge Pro (TG Pro) or iStat pro. The former is around $20, but it will give you an accurate reading and will provide tips on lowering the internal temperature.  

If you don’t feel like forking out $20, you can download iStat pro, which is a free app with basic temperature reporting. The important thing here is to make sure the temperature isn’t too hot; your Mac can work comfortably at 90 degrees, even if that looks too high. 


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How often should I clean my MacBook Pro fan? 

If you work in a particularly dusty environment, you should clean the fans every 4 – 6 months. If it’s not particularly dusty, you can get away with dusting every year or so.  

Is it bad if my MacBook gets hot? 

Computers will get hot if in heavy use; as the components work harder and faster, they expel heat pollution. It’s normal for a Mac to warm a little, but if the temperature feels hotter a lot more often, you should have it serviced.  

How do I cool down my MacBook? 

Place on flat surfaces such as a table or desk, open windows to regulate airflow, and use your air conditioning to lower the temperature of the room. If you're using it outside, keep it in the shaded areas. See more ideas on cooling laptops here.

When should I contact Apple support? 

If your Mac shuts down unexpectedly or is overheating regularly, it’s probably time to contact Apple. If your Mac is older than 5 years and the fans work harder on basic tasks, it might be time to invest in a new one.  


Conclusion

Keeping your Mac fans working properly doesn't have to be an impossible task. All computers are bound to get hot with heavy use, but if it's overheating, it's time to check for a problem. 

Your MacBook needs care and love, just like your other machines, to keep it working correctly. Please don't leave it until the last minute; give your MacBook a cooldown!