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Why Does My MacBook Get So Hot? (10 Different Reasons)

It can be disconcerting when your MacBook becomes so hot that it’s uncomfortable to touch. Not only is this troubling at the time, but it can affect your MacBook’s health in the long term. So, why does my MacBook get so hot?

If your MacBook gets so hot when you use it, it’s likely because the vents are clogged or blocked. Clean the vents on your MacBook once every 2-3 months so hot air can escape and prevent overheating. Your MacBook can also become too hot if you run too many background apps and leave too many browser tabs open at once.

Use a stand for your MacBook so you don’t obstruct the vents. Make sure to stay up to date on all the latest macOS updates as they can also help prevent overheating. Follow along as we explore why your MacBook gets so hot and highlight ways to prevent overheating.

Why Is My MacBook So Hot?

If your MacBook gets too hot, it could be due to overwhelmed processors. The more programs you run at once, the greater the strain it will put on your MacBook’s processors. This includes browser tabs, background apps, and music.

The ambient temperature in the room can also explain why your MacBook gets so hot. Your MacBook can overheat quickly if your house is hot or if the room has several open windows with direct sunlight shining in. Your MacBook can also become quite hot if you leave it on a surface that is covered with fabric, such as a sheet or blanket as they block the vents.

How to Stop a MacBook From Overheating

Keep it Out of Sunlight

It should come as no surprise that direct sunlight can overheat your MacBook. Keep your MacBook away from windows so it doesn’t overheat too quickly. Check to make sure there aren’t any mirrors or surfaces in the room that can reflect light onto your MacBook and overheat it.

Use a Stand

Your MacBook will get so hot that it may even shut down if the vents are blocked. The best way to prevent your MacBook from overheating is to put it on a stand. That way, the vents will have room to release hot air.

This is a great option for any MacBook user, especially if you typically place it on flat, smooth surfaces, like a couch or bed sheet.

Clean the Fan

Your MacBook will continue to get hot if the fan is clogged with dust, lint, and debris. Hot air cannot escape your MacBook in this case, and it will overheat. Luckily, you can easily clean the fan on your MacBook if turn it off, flip it upside down, and unscrew each of the screws on the bottom.

Set the screws aside and remove the bottom of your MacBook. The fan is the small circular component on the upper left side. Use a can of compressed air or a brush to clean the vents. Ideally, you should clean your MacBook’s fan once every 2-3 months or as needed when it becomes clogged.

Close Tabs and Background Apps

It’s easy to leave too many background apps running and tabs open on your browser. However, this can overwhelm your MacBook’s processing power and put a strain on the computer. Your MacBook won’t get so hot if you close some browser tabs and background apps.

Reset the System Management Controller

The System Management Controller, or SMC is largely responsible for your MacBook’s cooling system. If your MacBook unexplainedly gets so hot, it may be due to an error with the SMC. To reset the SMC, you must first turn off your MacBook.

Wait until your MacBook shuts off, then press Shift, Control, Option, and Power at the same time. This will reset the SMC, and your MacBook won’t get so hot if the problem is because of the cooling system regulation.

Scan for Malware

The presence of Malware can explain why your MacBook gets so hot. Malware overwhelms your MacBook’s processors and throws the whole system off. Some viruses even open tabs and run applications without your knowledge to steal as much private information as all.

Install anti-malware software like Norton, McAfee, and Bitdefender to scan for malware and remove it from your MacBook.

Adjust the Graphics Setting

If your MacBook gets too hot while running certain apps, it may be because of the graphics settings. This is especially true when you run modern apps or video games on an old and outdated MacBook. Ideally, you should always stick to the recommended graphics setting for your MacBook and avoid choosing the highest quality.

Lower the graphics quality to see if your MacBook cools down. If that doesn’t help, it may simply mean that your MacBook isn’t optimized to handle the specific app or game that causes it to get so hot.

Update macOS

When was the last time you installed a macOS update? The current operating system you have ultimately dictates how well your MacBook can process your Safari searches and applications. Apple typically notifies you when an update is available, but you can manually install it from the settings menu if you missed it.

Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen, select “System Settings”, and click “General”. Scroll down and select “Software Update” to install the latest version of macOS.

Replace the Fan

Your MacBook will keep overheating if the fan is broken. Sadly, you can’t likely fix the fan without replacing it altogether. It typically only costs between $80 and $150 to replace the fan for a MacBook, and it’s worth the price to avoid overheating.

Try Apple Diagnostics

Each MacBook comes with a useful diagnostics tool you can use to troubleshoot common problems. If your MacBook gets so hot without explanation, simply use the diagnostics tool to solve the problem. With your MacBook powered off, simply hold the power button until it turns on, then press the Command and D keys.

This will pull up the diagnostics menu and you must simply follow the directions. The tool should at least point you in the right direction and tell you what to focus on while troubleshooting.

Visit the Genius Bar

If all else fails, you may simply need to set up an appointment and visit the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store. They can inspect your MacBook’s hardware and software to help diagnose the problem in most cases. This is a great last resort if none of the other solutions in this guide help.

So, Why Does My MacBook Overheat So Easily?

The main reason your MacBook gets so hot is that the vents are blocked or clogged. This can also happen if you are behind on macOS updates or run applications’ graphics quality settings that are too high for your MacBook. Reset the System Management Controller, scan for malware, and close background apps if your MacBook continues to get so hot.