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How to Fix Macbook Fan Noise
If you're a MacBook user, you may have noticed that your fan can be quite loud at times. This can be frustrating, especially if you're trying to work in a quiet environment.
The likely reason why the fan is running at full speed is that your MacBook is heating up. This happens when your MacBook is running intensive applications, graphics intense games or if you are charging it through a USB port on your computer.
Your MacBook has an internal sensor that determines how hot it is. If the computer passes a specific temperature threshold, it will trigger the fan to start spinning in order to cool down the machine. At this point, there are several things you can do in order to reduce the noise of your MacBook fans.
1. Reduce the Screen Brightness
One of the simplest things to do is reduce your screen brightness. This affects how much power your MacBook needs to display images on the screen. By reducing the brightness, you are actually increasing your battery life and limiting how hard your CPU has to work.
If you don't mind sacrificing a little bit of color accuracy, lowering the intensity to around 70-75 percent should be enough to reduce the noise of your fans.
Make sure that you check out our tips on how to increase your MacBook battery life if you're interested in maximizing the time between charges.
2. Quit CPU/GPU Intensive Applications
One of the reasons why your MacBook fan may be spinning quickly is because it is working extra hard to process data. Common culprits are intensive applications like video encoding software, games, or programs that use GPU acceleration, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
3. Close Unused Applications
While it might be more convenient to have some applications open in the background for easy access, they may also be stealing processing power from your MacBook. In addition, some programs might run automatically as soon as you log into OS X.
To check which applications are running on your Mac, use Command-Option-Escape and click "Applications" to open the Activity Monitor.
Here you can quickly quit applications that are running in the background. Alternatively, you could also run the command "top", press "q" to select specific processes, and then type "kill %1" followed by hitting the return key to terminate a program.
4. Clean Out Your Laptop With Compressed Air
Dust and dirt can clog up the openings of your MacBook and prevent it from cooling down, as well as potentially cutting off airflow. This will cause your fans to run constantly as they try to compensate for the lack of airflow.
Removing dust is easy with compressed air, which you can buy at the store or online. Hold your laptop upside-down, move the compressed air can about six inches away from it, and spray in short bursts. Clean out all of the vents on your MacBook to maximize airflow.
5. Use Your Laptop on a Hard Surface
Your laptop's fan is made to compensate for changes in airflow, so using it on a soft surface might cause problems. A good rule of thumb is to avoid using the laptop on your bed and only use it on a hard, flat surface.
Since most beds have soft upholstery fabrics, this can make it harder for the fan to suck in cool air from outside the machine. In addition, they will prevent proper venting when the fan sucks hot air out of the machine.
6. Reduce the Number of Applications Running
Having too many applications open at once can cause your MacBook to run out of available memory, which will cause it to use more processing power in order to compensate for this. This might also force OS X to use hard drive space as RAM, which is several orders of magnitude slower.
Clearing memory is also crucial to keeping your laptop's processor from overheating, as it causes the CPU to reduce its clock speed and voltage in order to match the current requirements. This reduces the amount of power that is drawn from components like fans and batteries.
7. Check Your Room Temperature
Fans actually work better at higher temperatures. If your room is a little bit chilly, this might be limiting the performance of your MacBook's fan and forcing it to run all the time in order to compensate.
You can simply check this by touching your hands against the bottom of the laptop for a few seconds. If it feels cold, then you might have a heating issue. If it feels just right, then your room is probably somewhere around the optimal operating temperature for your laptop's fan.
8. Check How Hard Your Hard Drive Is Working
In order to keep your data safe in case of a crash or other errors, most laptops automatically park their read/write heads if they aren't being used. Since this is an expensive operation, drives will often pick the shortest time possible to do this. This might cause the drive to occasionally pause for a few seconds in order to finish its work quickly.
If you have issues with how loud your laptop's fan is running, then checking up on your hard drive's activity can be very helpful.
9. Use an Official Adapter
The official power adapter that came with your MacBook is made to work with the particular model of your laptop. If you are using a third party or replacement adapter, then it might not provide enough power for all of the components in your machine.
This is most likely to be an issue when running demanding applications, but can also cause problems when charging your laptop with a third-party adapter.
10. Uninstall Unnecessary Extensions
Extensions and kernel extensions are files written in the C programming language that adds additional functionality to your MacBook's operating system. Extensions are typically used for low-level functions, while kernel extensions are required to provide support for hardware.
Both of these types of extensions can potentially cause issues with your machine's cooling system.
11. Put MacBook to Sleep Instead of Using a Screensaver
Screensavers are more likely to put a strain on your machine than simply putting it to sleep. Since a screen saver requires extra calculations from the graphics card, this will usually make the fan work harder.
12. Update Your MacBook's Firmware
Firmware is a small program that is embedded on dedicated chips inside of your machine. They're used to control hardware components like fans, keyboards, and track pads.
Updating these is almost always a good idea, as it can provide additional compatibility with external devices or new versions of OS X.
13. Disable Automatic Graphics Switching
Disabling this feature will force your MacBook to use the integrated Intel graphics chip set and not the more powerful (and louder) AMD or NVIDIA chip when running basic tasks like watching movies, browsing, or playing games.
In order to disable this, you have to go into system preferences > energy saver and uncheck the box next to automatic graphics switching.
14. Perform an SMC Reset
This is useful if your fans suddenly and unexpectedly stop working while operating at high speeds, or if the machine begins running hotter than usual no matter what you do.
In order to reset this, you must shut down your MacBook, unplug the power adapter and remove the battery. Make sure to keep all of these components unplugged for at least ten seconds, then put everything back in and reboot your machine.
15. Clean Macbook Fan
If there is dust inside of your fan, this can greatly affect its performance. Not only will it prevent air from flowing in and out of the machine as easily, but it can also cause overheating issues that put unnecessary strain on the hardware components.
In order to clean this, you must turn off your MacBook and unplug everything. Use an air-compressed can to blow any dust away from the vents on the bottom, then use a thin brush or canned air to clear them completely.
Please be careful not to hold the can too close, as this will cause moisture buildup inside of your laptop fan, which can damage your machine.
16. Check Your Macbook's Temperature
If the battery is full and the activity monitor shows that your CPU is running under 100%, then your machine might be experiencing a thermal issue.
You can check the temperature of your machine by going into system preferences > usage and checking the "more" tab. If it's above normal, then you should restart your MacBook to see if it gets better.
You could also see if there's a firmware update available for your machine and update it, even though this is unlikely to fix the problem.
When All Else Fails
If you've tried everything we've suggested and your MacBook fan is still running at full capacity, it's possible that the problem lies with a broken component. If you feel comfortable opening up your laptop and changing out parts.
There are several ways to decrease MacBook fan noise. You can put it to sleep, update firmware and disable automatic graphics switching in system preferences. Furthermore, you should check the temperature of your machine and see if there's a firmware update.
If these methods don't seem to help you much at all, then it might be best to take your machine to the apple store or MacBook customer care.
Does Upgrading the RAM Help?
It does not make any noticeable difference in noise level for me, but it may for you!
Will Upgrading the Hard Drive Decrease Noise?
This has not been proven to help at all, but it may again be different for you.
Can I Adjust the Fan Speed?
No, unfortunately not! The MacBook fan is not adjustable.
How Do I Know if My MacBook's Fan Needs to Be Replaced?
If the fan is blocked with dust, then the machine will become louder and hotter while running. If this is not the case for you, then the fan has likely gone bad and needs to be replaced.
How Can I Test if the Fan Needs to Be Replaced?
By turning it on and using software that will allow you to monitor the temperature of your MacBook. If it is hotter than usual, then the fan is likely broken and will need to be replaced.
I Am Experiencing a Loud Fan and It's Getting Hotter. What Can I Do?
You can either open up the device and try to clean it, or take your computer to an authorized service center.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.