Your Mac Too Hot? How To Fix An Overheating Mac

One common problem Mac users experience is overheating. Not when a Mac is new, but when they get older and are full of files, images, videos and apps that slow down processing speeds, causing them to overheat.

So if you’ve been working away and your Mac is hot to the touch. Like hot enough to fry an egg? Don’t worry; this can be fixed. Or what about when the fans are running so loud it sounds like a lawnmower? Again, both are signs that your Mac is overheating.

An overheating Mac isn’t something you want to try and ignore for too long. Apart from the fact the fans are noisy and distracting, and the hot temperature is irritating, your Mac could - probably will - crash and shut down. If you are working on something and haven't saved recently, you could lose important files. Worse than that, you could risk the Mac suffering irreparable file damage, potentially erasing files, systems and images you need and don't have backed-up.

Why is my Mac overheating?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this. It depends on how often your Mac overheats.

Assuming this is a recent development, then it could be a sign of an overworked Mac. Too many files, taking up too much space on the hard drive, or too many systems, apps or browser tabs open at once. Especially if they’re heavy programs, consuming a lot of processing space and memory while you are running other apps, such as Spotify and have multiple browser tabs open.

All of that activity can slow a Mac down and cause it to overheat. However, if this is a persistent issue and has experienced a crash due to overheating, then that is a sign of more extensive problems that may require a trip to a certified Mac Consultants Network retailer, or Mac support from your nearest Apple Genius Bar. Apple Support can also offer help online or over the phone - you just need to book an appointment first.

Most people won’t need to see an expert; this is something that can be fixed at home or wherever your Mac is overheating. Remember, even MacBook Pro’s are relatively compact devices. Excess heat doesn't have many places to go, so when a Mac is overworked, it will start to get hot. What you want to avoid is when it gets too hot, the fans get too loud and processes slow down.

We’ve put together this guide to help stop a Mac overheating and avoid it in the future.

How to stop a Mac from overheating

Firstly, you need to know what is causing the Mac to overheat.

Download and run iStat Menus, a handy app that will quickly identify what’s absorbing so much CPU processing power. Close all of the apps running in the background and anything else that is using more computing power than looks wise. Unlike Activity Menu, iStat Menus provides users with more data and insights, making it easier to manage to overheat. You can get this from Setapp, along with hundreds of other apps for Mac customers, all for one convenient monthly price.

Once you know what was causing it to overheat, you should be able to carry on working as normal. If it happens again, you may need to look at over solutions. We have a couple in mind.

Assuming shutting down programs, browser tabs and apps didn’t work; you need to look at any physical reasons for an overheating Mac. Check the following:

  • Are you working on a flat surface? Macs more effectively displace heat when on a flat surface, not bed covers or other uneven surfaces.
  • Are you outside in the sun? As tempting as it can be when it’s hot, working outside is one of the quickest and surest ways to experience an overheating Mac. In some cases, they will simply crash.
  • Are your vents/fans covered? Are you using any third-party devices to manipulate the fans? In either scenario, you risk overheating and need to unplug anything that could influence the fans.
  • Are you in a dusty environment? Macs don't do well in dust. Once it gets in the fans, it could cause serious overheating problems.

Assuming you’ve done/checked all of those options and your Mac is still struggling, it’s time to look at an alternative solution. Your Mac could be too full of things that are slowing it down.

How to keep a Mac from overheating

Time to declutter your Mac. Older Macs are going to be full of documents, apps, images, videos you don't need. Just like a house, when all of that clutter gets in the way, you can’t find what you do need. Your Mac struggles the same way, causing it to overheat.

One solution is to use CleanMyMac.

As an app, CleanMyMac comes highly recommended, as the easiest, most efficient way to identify problems, applications and settings that cause Macs to overheat, then clean them. You can also set up alerts to monitor memory and CPU usage.

If your Mac is still overheating after both fixes and manual troubleshooting, you might need to book in with a Mac specialist.

Both apps are available from Setapp: Get all of the Mac apps you need to keep your beloved Mac running smoothly. Find out more.

YOU’RE ALL SET.