6 Tips and Tricks for Cooling an Overheated MacBook Air

By | May 1, 2022

You might think your MacBook or MacBook Air is overheating if it sounds like a hairdryer and feels like a grill. Usually, the fans work hard to stop your Mac from overheating. But if it fails, your computer may shut down unexpectedly.

There are lots of tricks you can use to stop your MacBook Air from overheating. For our purposes, “too hot” means getting very hot to the touch, but still operating. That way, you don’t have to wait for your MacBook to shut itself down before you use the suggestions below to fix it.

Why Is My MacBook Air So Hot

All sorts of issues can cause your MacBook Air to heat up, from dust buildup to multiple browser tabs. This is a problem that every computer faces, but the MacBook seems to be more difficult than most.

The MacBook Air from 2019 seems very prone to overheating issues. A possible problem lies in the compact design with only one hole in the display hinge to aid heat dissipation.

Processing-intensive tasks like rendering videos, playing games, or opening too many browser tabs take a toll on your Mac’s logic board and processor. The board generates heat as it functions, and that heat has only one escape route. Apple just didn’t design the MacBook Air for processor-intensive tasks, and that’s why it often gets hot.

Change Your Environment

Despite the name, the best place to use a laptop is not in your lap. Try to use your MacBook on a hard, flat surface, such as a desk, to offer the best ventilation without blocking the fan.

Soft furnishings, such as pillows or sofas, store more heat and generate dust. Both of these can reduce your MacBook Air’s ability to cool itself.

You should also avoid using your Mac in direct sunlight for the same reason. Apple says the ideal ambient temperature for your MacBook Air is 50-95 degrees F (or 10-35 degrees C).

Turn Off Running Apps

If your physical environment seems fine, there’s a good chance your MacBook Air is heating up from trying to do too many tasks at once. Find out exactly what process is causing your Mac to work overtime by launching the app Activity Monitor from folder Utilities you (or search using Spotlight with Cmd + Space).

In Activity Monitor, go to the tab CPU and click column % CPU to sort each process in descending order, based on the percentage of available processing power it uses.

This may reveal certain apps or processes are using excessive amounts of CPU (think 90 percent and above) for no reason. Sometimes this happens when an app crashes and fails to shut down properly. You can fix this by selecting the process and forcing it to stop with the button Stops (X) in the upper left corner.

Many MacBook users find that Google Chrome is CPU-heavy. If that’s the case, you might want to consider switching to Safari or Mozilla Firefox.

You should also reduce the number of login items that start when you log in to your Mac. open Apple menu and go to System Preferences > Users & Groups, then select your profile and go to the tab Login Items to delete the application.

Update macOS and Reset SMC

Even if no particular app is causing your MacBook to overheat, you may still be suffering from software-related issues. This could be a bug in the operating system. Usually, all you need to do is update to the latest version of macOS to fix this problem.

Open the Apple menu and go to System Preferences > Software Update to check for new macOS updates. Be sure to download and install whatever is available for your Mac.

It’s possible that Apple is still working on a patch for the particular bug you’re facing. Thus, you must enable the option to Automatically keep my Mac up to date or keep checking for updates yourself.

This is also a great idea for reset SMC on Mac You which stands for System Management Controller. The problem with it might explain why your MacBook Air isn’t using a fan to cool itself properly.

Run Diagnostics On Your Fan

If your problem is more obvious and your MacBook Air disconnects periodically, you may need to test your fan fan. Sometimes, you can clearly hear the problem with your fan if it stutters and stutters. But not all fan failures are obvious.

Luckily, you can test the fan in your MacBook using the built-in diagnostic software. If your MacBook Air was made before June 2013, it will use Apple Hardware Test. Newer models use Apple Diagnostics.

Don’t worry: the two diagnostic tests are very similar, and you access them the same way:

  • Turn off your Mac and connect the power cable.
  • Press the button Power to restart your Mac, then press and hold the button D.
  • Select a language (if prompted), then follow the on-screen diagnostic instructions.

On newer Macs, Apple Diagnostics should start testing automatically. Older Macs using Apple Hardware Test give you test options Basic or Thorough. A basic test should be sufficient to detect fan problems.

Once the diagnosis is complete, note down the error code or other pertinent information you get. You may want to give this code to Apple if you need to make a Genius Bar appointment to repair your Mac.

Override Your Fan

If your MacBook Air is consistently overheating and you’re having a hard time figuring out why, you may want to install an app that allows you to manually override the fan speed. That way, you can keep the fans full even if your Mac doesn’t usually want to.

Of course, this can be done at the expense of your faster fan fan. But it’s a lot cheaper to replace the fan in your MacBook Air than it is to replace the keyboard if it turns off from the heat.

The best app to use is Macs Fan Control, a free utility that sits on your menu bar. This provides easy control over the standard rules of fan usage: choose to keep it on all the time or adjust the acceptable temperature range.

Download: Mac Fan Control for macOS (Free, premium version available)

Laptop Cooling and Cleaning

It’s a last resort, especially for a stylish machine, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and buy a laptop cooler for your MacBook Air. This stand supports your MacBook and uses an additional fan to encourage better ventilation.

If you use your MacBook Air a lot at home, getting a decent laptop cooler can be the simplest solution to avoiding overheating issues. This is ideal if you combine your MacBook with a monitor and keyboard, so you can keep the cooler on the side.

If your Mac is older and the fans are spinning more than usual, You might want to go a step further and clean it up. It involves opening the laptop cover and exposing all the delicate inner workings. It’s entirely possible to cause permanent damage to your MacBook while doing this, so you may want to hire a professional.

Because of this, it’s entirely possible to clean the dust off your MacBook yourself. Be careful when you do this.

Any Computer Can Have Overheating Problems

We’ve looked at ways to stop your MacBook Air from overheating. This issue is common with Mac owners, especially those with MacBook Air 2019, as Macs don’t have great ventilation options. But Macs aren’t the only computers that overheat.