When your MacBook starts to feel hot from overuse, it can cause a myriad of problems.

Ask an individual who works remotely for an early-stage tech startup, and they will tell you that it feels like a 24/7 job. You need to communicate with the rest of the team, work on the product, and juggle assorted aspects that make running a company a hectic, whirlwind experience.

When anyone, a content marketer to engineer, works all day (and seemingly all night) while on their MacBook, it may start to overheat.

When that happens, various problems start to rise along with the temperature. The MacBook’s body may begin to feel warm to the touch, and software may run slowly or have delayed reactions. The fan inside the MacBook also might be in overdrive, causing the MacBook to sound like a rocket ship taking off. Of course, most of these sound like minor but irritating inconveniences. But, if the device is kept warm for too long, it will damage the internal components.

So, if the Mac begins to feel a bit abnormally warm, it would be a good idea to start figuring out what is causing it. And it will not require someone to do anything drastic to the device.

Unless it starts to smoke and burst into flames…then the user may have a bigger problem on their hands.


This is a melodramatic example.

“Help! My MacBook is overheating! What can I do to get it to stop?”

Using Activity Monitor to locate power-hogging apps

Activity Monitor helps users see which apps are using the most processing power and how much energy the MacBook is producing. If a user has an Internet browser like Google Chrome running with several tabs open, that app will use a lot of strength and CPU power. Now, when multiple apps are running at once, that will create a lot of heat from the device. Other apps like Apple Music or Photos will also use a lot of power.

Here’s how to open Activity Monitor and how to close apps that are creating overheating:

  1. On the dock, click on Finder.
  2. While on the Finder window, click on Applications to bring up a menu of all the device apps. From this menu, click on Utilities.
  3. In the Utilities window, find Activity Monitor and click on that to open it up.
  4. Once Activity Monitor opens up, click on the Process Name tab to see what apps are using the most power.
  5. Click on the one that is spending the most, and then click on the Stop button located in the upper-left corner.
  6. Then choose either the Quit or Force Quit options.

Be wary of surfaces

Working in bed on a fuzzy blanket or warm bed may be relaxing for some users. However, the lack of airflow on these kinds of surfaces will create airflow problems. It also goes without saying not to put your MacBook on a surface directly in front of the sun.

It is best to put your MacBook on a desk or well-ventilated surface. Bonus points if you own a stand to elevate the device, so air flows even better.


A good example of keeping your MacBook on a slanted surface.

Resetting the SMC

If the device is continuously overheating, giving the SMC a soft reset will help cool down the MacBook. All the user will have to do is the following three steps:

  1. Turn off the MacBook.
  2. Hold down the power button for at least 10 seconds and then release it.
  3. Please wait at least 5 seconds and then press the power button to turn it back on again.

However, there might be instances where, for example, the sound issues are still ongoing. Here is the second set of steps:

  1. Power down the device.
  2. Press and hold the Control, Option, and Shift keys for at least 7 seconds. While holding those three keys, start pressing down on the power button.
  3. Continue holding down all four keys for an additional 7 seconds and then release.
  4. Wait another five seconds to turn the device back on again.

However, for certain models like the MacBook Pro A1706, you will have to reset the SMC a bit differently:

  1. Turn off the MacBook.
  2. Press and hold down Shift, Control, and Option.
  3. Next, while holding down these three keys, start holding down the Power button.
  4. Hold down these keys for at least 10 seconds and release.
  5. Finally, turn the device back on.

MacBooks with removable batteries, on the other hand, require different steps:

  1. Shut down the device.
  2. Remove the MacBook’s battery.
  3. Press and hold down the Power button for 5 seconds.
  4. Finally, reconnect the battery and turn on the MacBook.

Using Apple Diagnostics

Despite a user’s best intentions in using one of the solutions above, their MacBook is still overheating. There could be an internal hardware issue, such as a fan just not working altogether. A situation like this one would be a good instance of using Apple Diagnostics to find out what is going on under the MacBook’s hood.

  1. Turn on your MacBook and start holding down the D key. Keep holding the key down until a gray screen appears, asking “Choose Your Language.”
  2. Select your preferred language, and then Apple Diagnostics will start to scan your device. The scanning will take a short amount of time, usually between 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. After that is done, Apple Diagnostics will display the problems found in or on the computer.

Look into buying accessories.

Those who may be working around the clock with their MacBook could be a good idea to purchase a cooling pad for it. On Amazon, cooling pads are priced between $20 to $140, but we encourage anyone to look for one that fits in their budget range.

Clean! Clean! Clean!

MacBooks get dusty, and sometimes, a slow build-up of dust will start to affect internal components. For those who are DIY-focused and own small electronic screwdrivers, they can pop open the MacBook to see what needs a good dusting. Spraying a few bursts of compressed air will help get rid of the dust and keep the device clean.

“Stay cool…”

Circling back to the beginning, working at an early-stage startup can be a time-consuming experience, especially if you are remote and have the urge to work around the clock continuously. Some workers may even feel glued to their MacBook. It is okay to take a break every once in a while. And make sure to keep your MacBook from feeling as overworked as you are. By utilizing one of the following solutions above, the device will cool down along with you.

At MicroReplay, we know a thing or two about MacBooks and how to repair these devices. With over twenty plus years of experience, our company specializes in repairing liquid damaged MacBooks and other high-end computers.

In need of a liquid spill or cracked screen repair for your MacBook? Book a repair with us today!

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