How to Keep Your MacBook Pro Cool—6 Most Effective Ways

  • Macs
  • 7 min read
how-to-keep-your-macbook-pro-cool

If you own a MacBook Pro, you know how important it is to keep it cool. Overheating not only makes it uncomfortable to use but also damages your computer. You wouldn’t want its performance to deteriorate and eventually shorten your trustee MacBook Pro’s lifespan.

So, from our database to yours, here are some of the most effective ways you can keep your MacBook Pro cool and solve overheating problems. But before you learn how to keep your MacBook Pro cool it’s important to know why your Mac is heating up in the first place.

How to Keep Your MacBook Pro Cool: Why Your Macbook Pro Gets Hot

It’s normal for a MacBook Pro to be slightly warm when used. But if it’s getting hot to the touch, then it may be reaching its maximum heat threshold, which is around 192°F (89°C).

Many factors could contribute to this, including:

– The area you’re using it on

– The apps you’re using and how much processing power they require

– How long the MacBook Pro has been on for

– Whether or not you have an external display connected

Checking this list alone already gives you a good sense of what to address; keep reading for the most effective ways how to keep your MacBook Pro cool.

1.Avoid Using in Hot Environments and On Uneven Surfaces

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The best way how to keep your MacBook Pro cool is by using it in a cool environment and on a flat surface. That said, if you constantly use your Macbook Pro in a cramped and humid room, you might want to find a better workspace.

Ideally, you’d want to use your MacBook Pro in an air-conditioned room or at least in a well-ventilated area with cool air. If you’re using it outdoors, try to find some shade. Using it under direct sunlight can also cause some damage to your mac.

Also, avoid placing your MacBook Pro on soft and uneven surfaces like the top of your bed and (sadly) even your lap. If you must, try putting it on a laptop stand or even, hard surfaces like books or a solid table underneath to dissipate heat. And of course, always make sure nothing is blocking its air vents.

2. Close CPU-intensive Tasks and Unused Tabs

When you have a lot of applications and tabs open, your MacBook Pro has to work harder, which causes the fans to spin faster and the CPU temperature to rise.

To see which apps are taking up the most processing power, follow these steps:

  • Open Activity Monitor from Launchpad
  • Click on the CPU tab at the top- this will show you a list of all the apps and processes running and how much CPU they’re using
  • Close unnecessary programs with high CPU usage by clicking on the X in the top-left corner
  • You can also click on the Quit button at the bottom to force quit an app
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Just be sure you don’t force quit an important process like Finder, or you risk shutting down your computer.

It’s also worth reviewing your opened tabs (especially if you’re on Chrome) and seeing if you can exit some of them to save up on resources. This also helps keep your mac running smooth!

3. Reset SMC

Sometimes, your MacBook Pro’s temperature can go up because of a software issue. With that, the simplest and quickest way how to keep your MacBook Pro cool is by resetting the System Management Controller (SMC).

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To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Unplug from power sources and Shut down your MacBook Pro
  • Hold Shift+Control+Option down, then press the Power button
  • Keep pressing all four buttons for ten seconds
  • Turn on your Mac.

Your SMC is now reset. How’s that for an instant quick fix?

If this doesn’t work, you might want to try a PRAM reset which we’ve covered in our updated Mac maintenance guide.

However, if you’re still having problems after trying these two methods, then it’s best to take your MacBook Pro to an Apple Store or an authorized service provider. There might be a hardware issue that needs to be addressed.

4. Optimize Built-in Cooling Fans

Dirty or broken cooling fans can also cause your Mac to overheat. Check if the fan is dirty by taking off the back panel of your MacBook Pro. Wipe off visible dust and debris it with a clean cloth.

You can also check the status of your MacBook’s fans by running a diagnostic test on them. Follow these steps:

  • Turn off your computer.
  • Hold the D key down while turning the power back on
  • This will run a diagnostic test on startup and tell you if your cooling fan is broken.
  • If it is, you will need to get it repaired or replaced.

There’s also the Macs Fan Control App (MFC), a free app that lets you monitor and control all the fans on your Mac. You can set each fan’s minimum and maximum speed and even target your desired CPU temperature. (Again, acceptable operating temperatures for macs is between 50° and 95° F (10° and 35° C).

Once installed, launch the app, and you should see all the sensors and fans on your MacBook Pro. From there, you can set up a custom configuration. But do keep in mind running fans at max speed for extended periods could damage your Mac.

5. Invest in a Laptop Cooling Pad and Other Accessories

There’s been quite a debate about whether a cooling pad is even worth it. So, here’s our recommendation: if you frequently use your MacBook Pro for CPU and GPU-intensive tasks, investing in a cooling pad can improve reliability and longevity.

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Pro tip: check out laptop stands with built-in fans for a 2-in-1 solution

Laptop cooling pads equip your Mac with extra fans that help dissipate heat away from your MacBook Pro. A cooling pad with 2-3 fans is usually enough as too much airflow could blow dust and dirt into the computer.

For those working on projects that require high-end graphics or videos, try using an external monitor instead of relying solely on your MacBook Pro. This will take some of the load off your computer and help keep it cool.

Getting an external keyboard and mouse will also help keep your hands and lap cooler since you won’t have to touch a hot MacBook Pro itself as much.

You can also get a laptop stand to elevate your computer and allow for better airflow.

6. Replace MacBook Pro Thermal Paste

If you’ve tried all of the above and your MacBook Pro is still overheating, then the thermal paste might need to be replaced.

The thermal paste is a substance that helps conduct excess heat away from the CPU and GPU. Over time, it can dry up or become less effective, causing your MacBook Pro to overheat. Replacing their mac’s thermal paste has done wonders for many users in terms of temperature and performance.

Though this is proven to bring many gains, we strongly advise you to only do this on your own if you’re comfortable opening up a MacBook and working on its components. If not, consider taking your MacBook Pro to the Apple store or any authorized service provider so your thermal paste will be replaced properly. 

We hope this blog post helped cool down your MacBook Pro! Do you have any other tips on how to keep your Macbook Pro cool? Share them with us in the comments below!

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