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Why MacBook Fan Is So Loud? (& How To Address It)

It can be alarming when your MacBook fan sounds so loud that it’s distracting. Not only is it distracting, but it’s also a sign of problems with your MacBook that you must address before it’s too late. So, why is your MacBook fan so loud?

Your MacBook is typically so loud because the CPU is overloaded or the vents are blocked. Avoid placing your MacBook on a flat surface, especially if there is fabric underneath because it can easily block the vents. Avoid running apps and video games at the highest graphics setting if the fan is loud and delete unused apps that take a toll on your MacBook’s CPU.

Make sure to clean your MacBook’s fan every 2-3 months to remove dust and debris that cause it to overheat. Follow along as we explore why your MacBook is so loud and highlight ways to solve the problem.

Why Is My MacBook Fan So Loud?

Overloaded CPU

Your MacBook’s CPU can easily become overloaded, and this can make the fan run quite loud. Each app and tab on your web browser that you leave running in the background takes a toll on the CPU. If you are unsure of which apps are overloading the CPU, you can quickly check the Activity Monitor on your MacBook to find out.

Press and hold CMD then tap the space bar. Now, Spotlight will appear and you must find “Activity Monitor”.  Now, you will be able to see a list of the apps on your Mac and see which ones make the biggest strain on your CPU. Uninstall any apps that cause a big strain on your Mac, especially if you don’t use them regularly.

Faulty System Management Controller

The System Management Controller (SMC) on your MacBook helps control many important physical functions, and that includes the fan. This feature can detect ambient light, send battery status notifications, and control the fan on your MacBook. The SMC is a reliable feature, but it’s prone to problems and can become overloaded.

Your MacBook fan will become overwhelmed and run loudly or for too long if there is something wrong with the SMC. To reset your faulty SMC, simply turn off your MacBook. Next, press and hold the Shift, Control, and Option keys simultaneously for 10 seconds. Let go of the keys and press the power button to reset the SMC.

Outdated Software

Software updates provide new features, fix bugs, and even protect the physical components of your MacBook. This includes the fan, which can become overwhelmed and work too hard when your MacBook is behind on updates. To install the update, simply click the Apple icon on your MacBook’s menu bar, select “System Settings”, “General”, and “Software Update”.

Not only will this make your fan quieter and work less hard, but you will also experience a smoother performance.

The Fan is Dirty

The most common physical reason why your MacBook fan is so loud is that it’s simply dirty and clogged. MacBook fans become dirty much faster when you regularly set them on fabric surfaces, but it can happen anywhere. It’s typically recommended that you clean the fan and vents on your MacBook every 2 months, but you may need to do it sooner.

First, you must turn off your MacBook, let it cool down, then flip it over and remove the screws from the bottom. Once the screws are out, carefully remove the bottom and pull from the top going downward. Now, you must use a soft brush to clean the fan on the left side of the bottom of your MacBook.

You will have better luck with a can of compressed air if your MacBook fan is completely caked with dust. However, you must avoid getting too close to the fan with compressed air because excessive pressure can damage it.

Hot Room Temperature

Do you typically use your MacBook in a room with lots of uncovered windows? If so, this can greatly raise the room’s temperature and cause your MacBook to overheat much faster than it typically would. Keep your MacBook out of direct sunlight and run fans or turn on the air conditioner if the room is too hot.

Your fan won’t be so loud, and you can protect the internal components that are necessary for your MacBook to run smoothly.

Poor Circulation

The average MacBook user may not think about circulation while scrolling through Safari or their favorite app. However, circulation is everything, and it can explain why your MacBook fan is so loud. If your MacBook is on a flat surface, it can quickly overheat and the fan will run loudly.

Ideally, you should put your MacBook on a laptop stand to protect it from overheating. Otherwise, you can make a DIY MacBook stand out of egg cartons. Simply set two cartons of eggs on your desk and place your MacBook on them so the vents have room to release hot air.


The NVRAM (nonvolatile random-access memory) and PRAM (Parameter RAM) store important information on your MacBook. This includes everything from the time zone to the volume and display resolution on the screen. When they fail, it can overwhelm your MacBook, causing it to overheat and run the fan loudly.

You can reset the NVRAM and PRAM on your MacBook with simple key commands. Turn off your MacBook, wait a moment, then press and hold the Option, Command, P, and R keys for 20 seconds. You will hear the MacBook startup sound, and this will rest the NVRAM and PRAM.

Incompatible Adapter

Does your MacBook sound so loud when you charge it? If so, it could be because the adapter is incompatible. The adapter is the power brick that runs from the wall and plugs into the charger cord.

Using the adapter from a previous MacBook generation or a non-Apple laptop can overwhelm your MacBook. This will cause the fan to run loud and it can damage your MacBook. Only use a charger and adapter that is compatible with your MacBook, or you will do more harm than good.  

Maxed Out Graphics Settings

Do you run apps and video games at the highest graphics settings? If so, this can put a strain on your MacBook and it may even overheat. Ideally, you should only set the graphics performance on apps and video games to the recommended setting for your MacBook.

If the recommended settings still make the fan run loud, you may simply want to set the graphics to low or medium quality. This will make the performance of the video game suffer, but it will protect your MacBook from overheating.

The Fan is Damaged

Over time, your MacBook’s fan can become damaged from stress. This is especially true if your MacBook has many apps that take up a lot of CPU space. Unfortunately, you must replace the fan on your MacBook once it becomes damaged.

It costs between $80 and $150 to replace the fan on a MacBook. The overall cost depends on which MacBook model you have and how rare the part is.

Your MacBook Has a Virus

MacBooks are known for being less vulnerable to viruses than most laptops on the market. However, you can still get a virus on your MacBook, and it will overwhelm the system. A virus can cause your MacBook to overheat, and the fan will run loudly to compensate for it.

Scan your MacBook for malware and use services like McAfee and Norton to remove viruses if any are present.

So, Why Does My MacBook Fan Run So Loud?

If your MacBook fan is too loud, it’s likely because the vents are blocked. Use a MacBook stand to give the fans and vent room to breathe. Uninstall apps that take a heavy toll on the CPU and clean your MacBook’s fan every 2-3 months.