You are working quietly, or enjoying your computer in your free time, when it suddenly starts to make noise. It is even more unsettling, if not unpleasant, if you are in a quiet environment. So why is my Mac making noise? And should I be worried about fan noise from my Mac ?
Why is my Mac making a fan noise?
Ventilation and cooling in a Mac: how does it work?
Whether your computer is laptop or desktop, chances are you’ve heard that unpleasant noise coming from your Mac before. If you have the impression that your Mac is going to take off at any moment, it is not always necessary to worry, because it is often a sign that your computer is working properly!
Indeed, this noise is produced by the fan of your machine. This component is necessary for the operation of your computer, because it brings cool air inside and expels the hot air produced by components such as the processor, graphics card or an SSD.
Your Mac has a heat management system. Sensors measure the temperature, and trigger the fan (s) when they detect changes in temperature. The air circulates through ventilation holes, placed in different places depending on the model of your Mac. In fact, the fan runs continuously to keep your Mac’s temperature at the necessary level. You don’t hear it until it is running at full speed.
In other words, the problem is not that the fan is spinning; this is perfectly normal, and even necessary. The question is, what caused the sudden acceleration of the fans and what to do about it? avoid overheating. It’s also normal for your Mac to heat up and crank the fan on full power when using resource-hungry apps or software that are straining your CPU, among other things. Some processor models are designed to withstand temperatures up to 90 ° C. Thus, more powerful computers designed for intensive use are equipped with more fans.
Note: Laptops are much more likely to emit loud fan noises than desktops. This is quite simply due to their compact size, which does not allow air circulation as good as the architecture of desktop computers.
Is strong ventilation a sign of a problem with a Mac?
If you notice that your Mac’s fan is running at full speed while performing simple tasks, it may be a sign of a malfunction. You should also learn to tell the difference between normal fan noise and a hum, or other unusual noise that is a symptom of a problem with the cooling system.
In addition, ventilating and slowing down your Mac can go hand in hand, when a phenomenon called thermal throttling (thermal throttling) takes place. When a component (processor, SSD, graphics card, etc.) reaches a certain temperature limit, it will restrict its performance by itself in order to avoid overheating.
Thus, to avoid any slowdown and decrease in the performance of your Mac, and therefore your productivity, it is important to prevent any risk of overheating.
How do I keep my Mac from overheating?
If you are in a hot environment, the fans will start faster and run with greater intensity. Apple recommends keeping your Mac in a well-ventilated environment, between 10 and 35 ° C.
Clear the vents on your Mac
It’s tempting to take your MacBook to bed to watch your favorite series… But be careful not to put it on a soft surface like a pillow or blanket. You would risk block the airways, thus preventing hot air from escaping from the appliance. Also, be careful not to cover the keyboard.
Choose a flat, well-ventilated surface for your Mac
Place your Mac on a surface that does not retain heat. The ideal is to use a base to raise your machine, and thus optimize the air circulation. Choose a material like aluminum, which is more efficient than plastic at dissipating heat.
Use external ventilation accessories for Mac
Place your Mac on a cooling base equipped with fans on the ventilation channels to assist the internal fans.
Dust: the enemy of your Mac
As much as possible, avoid dusty environments. This can end up blocking the airways. It is possible, with technical knowledge and a lot of precautions, to remove dust and any debris that clogs the air vents by disassembling your Mac.
Quality charging equipment
Since the charger also emits heat, it is important to choose a quality one, and to follow good practices. Like your computer, it is advisable to place it in a well-ventilated environment, on a surface that does not retain heat.
Hardware diagnostic tools
Apple makes diagnostic tools for your hardware available to Mac users. Thanks to Apple diagnostics (Apple Hardware Test if your model is older than 2013), you can check for any ventilation related issues. This tool built into your Mac can be activated when the device starts up. When the procedure is complete, Apple Diagnostics will display a series of reference codes, which will allow you to determine which components of your computer are having a problem.
Relieve the CPU
Free up your CPU by quitting background or heavy-hungry apps and software. You can check which applications are consuming the most resources with the Activity Monitor. When possible, look for alternatives that require less resources, for example, use Safari instead of Chrome.
Maintain your Mac regularly
Frequently releasestorage space by getting rid of unnecessary or duplicate files. Also be sure to update your operating system, so that your Mac always performs optimally.
Reset the SMC
the System Management Controller is responsible for managing every part of your Mac. He is therefore responsible for managing the temperature and the fan. If your machine’s fan is running at full blast when you’re not using resource-intensive apps, this may be the solution. Find the detailed procedure in Apple support.
If you’ve done all of this and haven’t seen any improvement, contact applebecause one of your components could be damaged.
In summary: best practices to avoid overheating and fan noise on Mac
In conclusion, the noise produced by fans cannot be completely avoided, but it can be reduced by following some good practices and using common sense. Following these recommendations is also a way to preserve your machine in the long term. The fan noise of the Mac therefore seems to be a compromise to be made if you want performance… But maybe not for a long time! Because Apple developed its M1 chip in 2020, which is fitted to all of its new computers. Interestingly, the latest MacBook Air runs flawlessly… fanless!
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