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Why is my Mac fan so loud? Causes, troubleshooting and how to stop it



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Your fan is there to cool your MacBook, but sometimes it can get too loud.


Sarah Tew / CNET

If your MacBook's fan runs too long and too often too loud, there may be a problem. Fans are mostly part of laptop life. People sweat, dogs wheeze and laptops turn fans to stay cool. If you don't have the tiny, fanless MacBook your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air will occasionally heat up the fan to keep the thermal at bay. But your Mac's fan no longer spins occasionally, but also regularly and loudly, and you want to slow down (or whir, so to speak) its rotation.

There are five best ways to do this, and you might have to do all of these steps until your fan has finally calmed down. Whatever you do, don't ignore the problem. Take a little time to really focus on the health of your fans, and you will continue to enjoy the quality of life with your MacBook without sounding like you're at the airfield.

Check your apps and tabs

The more apps and browser tabs you run, the more likely your Mac will need to use its fan to keep things cool. Reduce your multitasking by closing apps when you no longer use them, especially when using graphics-intensive apps like Photoshop and iMovie.

To determine which apps are using the most CPU resources, open the Activity Monitor and click the CPU tab. In my experience, Chrome is more of a resource hog than Safari. So you can try switching browsers to get a quieter browsing experience (and good news, Safari is favored!). I also use my iPhone ($ 899 at Amazon). to play music and podcasts with iTunes and Spotify instead of running these apps on my MacBook Pro.

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Screenshot from Matt Elliott / CNET

Keep vents clear

The MacBook Pro has vents on the sides and rear edge, and the MacBook Air has vents on the rear edge. These vents suck in cool air and expel hot air. If you block these vents by placing your laptop on a lap, sofa cushion, pillow, bed, or blanket, your Mac is sure to warm up quickly. I use a coffee table book to keep the ventilation slots on my MacBook Pro clear when I'm sitting on a couch or in bed.

If it looks like a lot of dirt has accumulated around the vents, you can try blowing it off with a can of compressed air. Of course, there is a risk that you will only continue to shoot the rubble into your Mac. If this seems to be the case, you'll need to open your Mac to get under the hood.

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Open and Clean

Get a tiny Phillips screwdriver and remove the bottom of your MacBook to remove dirt, dust, and debris that has accumulated over the years. Use your compressed air can to blow off dirt or a lint-free cloth to wipe it off. Pay special attention to the fan itself and its ventilation slots, as well as the entire back of your MacBook. The goal here is clean passageways for maximum air circulation.

Test your fans.

Chances are that your MacBook is overheating because there is something wrong with the fan itself. A hardware diagnostic tool is built into your Mac. If it was created before June 2013, use the Apple hardware test. After that date, use Apple Diagnostics.

These tools work in a similar way. Restart the MacBook with the MacBook connected and external peripheral devices removed and hold down the D key to start one of the diagnostic programs.

Follow the on-screen instructions to start the test. The standard test only takes a minute or two and reports any hardware problems. For a more in-depth investigation, you can select a check box to run an advanced test that takes an hour or more to run.

Check this Apple support page for reference codes that may appear in the Test Results section after the test is complete. There are three codes that start with "PPF" and refer to the fan. If you get any of the results that indicate that there may be a problem with your fan, contact Apple Support or the nearest Genius Bar for repair.

Reset the SMC.

If your Mac is clean and dirty -free and you have your apps and tabs under control and the fan still spins frequently and loudly. Then try to reset the System Management Controller (SMC). The SMC is responsible for controlling low-level functions on your Mac, including "thermal management", also known as a fan. Follow Apple's instructions to reset the SMC.

This story is updated regularly with new information.


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