MacBook Overheating When Closed? Try These Fixes

In Short
  • Poor air circulation, extremely hot environments, outdated macOS, and hardware damage may cause MacBook overheating problems.
  • If your MacBook overheats when closed, you can ensure proper air circulation, check the vents, update macOS, or check your charging accessories.
  • You can also reset SMC, run Apple Diagnostics, or contact Apple support.

MacBook overheating is one of the worst issues that not only hampers your usage but can also cause physical damage to the internal components. Well, it’s pretty normal for a machine to get warm when you launch several resource-intensive apps. That said, it’s quite unusual and worrisome if your MacBook overheats when closed. If you’re also facing the same and have no idea what to do, you’ve landed at the right place. Here, we’ve listed 10 ways to fix MacBook overheating when closed problems.

Method 1: Move to a Cooler Area

A MacBook or any other machine works well within an ambient temperature between 50 to 95 Fahrenheit (10 to 35 degrees Celsius). There can be instances when you’re using your MacBook outdoors on a hot day, or you are indoors and there is no air conditioning in your room. This can hamper the overall performance and trigger MacBook overheating while sleeping problems. In such cases, try moving to a cooler area. Give your Mac some time and it should get back to its normal temperature.

Also, avoid leaving your MacBook in your car. This is because temperatures in parked cars can exceed the ambient temperature range. This can worsen if your car is parked in direct sunlight. In addition to this, you must factor in relative humidity as well. Apple recommends using your Mac in an area with a relative humidity between 0% and 95%.

Method 2: Ensure a Good Ventilation

Is your MacBook overheating on your bed? The first thing you should do is choose the right location with proper air circulation. There are times when we want to just relax and use our MacBook in a bed or a sofa. No matter how tempting it could be, it’s a bad idea to keep your MacBook on your lap, stomach, a pillow, or under the bedding. When you do this, it covers the air vents and prevents the fans from working properly. This would trap all the generated heat, leading to overheating problems on your MacBook.

To avoid such issues, place your MacBook on a flat & hard surface like a desk or a table that allows for good ventilation. You can also add a laptop stand to your workstation that raises your MacBook off the surface for a nice airflow.

While you’re doing this, it’s a nice idea to check your Mac vents for any dirt, debris, or other build-up. Over time, dirt & debris can clog the vents, and that’s why your MacBook overheats when closed.

On a MacBook Pro, vents are usually situated along the back and the side edges just beyond the USB-C ports. On the MacBook Air, inspect the top edge of the chassis near the hinges.

Method 3: Check for macOS Updates

In some cases, older software versions may cause your MacBook to overheat even when you aren’t using it. If an older macOS version is causing your MacBook Pro to overheat, updating to a newer version would certainly fix the problem. So, you should always keep your Mac up to date.

  • On your MacBook, go to Settings-> General -> Software Update.
Software Update section on Mac
  • If any new updates are available, hit the Update Now button.
Update macOS

Method 4: Update Apps

We always recommend keeping all your apps up-to-date. An outdated app version may adversely impact your Mac’s functioning and trigger issues like overheating, battery drain, and slow performance.

Furthermore, you should close any apps you don’t need at the moment. Many of us have a habit of keeping dozens of apps open on our devices, no matter whether we need them or not. Sometimes, an app can continue to run in the background. This can cause your MacBook to work harder, which could eventually lead to overheating problems.

Method 5: Check Your Charger

If your MacBook overheats when the lid is closed and it’s in sleep mode, you must check your charging adapter. Apple recommends using only Apple-authorized power adapters for your MacBook. If you’ve recently bought a new charger, make sure it’s an Apple one. In case you’re using a third-party adapter, you must switch to an Apple-authorized charger to avoid any issues.

Method 6: Make Sure the Fan Is Working Properly

If your MacBook fans aren’t working properly, it can heat up your machine. You should hear the fan spinning when you throw several CPU-intensive tasks on your Mac. Also, the fans continue to work when your MacBook’s lid is closed and it’s in sleep mode. If you never hear them working, there are chances that your fans are broken or macOS isn’t activating fans when required.

If this happens to be your case, you must head to the Apple store and get your fans examined for any issues. In case your MacBook fan is so loud all the time, you can check our troubleshooting guide to fix it.

Method 7: Reset SMC

The System Management Controller (SMC) is an important chip on the MacBook that manages several internal power settings. It also controls some physical parts of the Mac like cooling fans. Sometimes, any issue in SMC can hamper the power or thermal management of your Mac. And, that’s why your MacBook Air gets hot even when not in use. Fortunately, you can fix it by resetting the SMC.

Before resetting SMC, try the following on MacBooks with Apple T2 chips:

  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds and then release the button.
  • On Macs with Touch ID, you must press the TouchID button.
  • After a few seconds, press the power button to turn on your MacBook.

In case the issue persists, you must reset SMC:

  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Press and hold the Control + Option (Alt) +Shift keys on the built-in keyboard. Your MacBook might turn on.
Image Courtesy: Apple
  • Keep holding these keys for 7 seconds. Now, press and hold the Power button as well. If your MacBook is ON, this will turn it off so don’t worry.
  • Hold the four keys for another 7 seconds and then let them go.
  • After a few seconds, press the Power button to turn ON your Mac.

On Apple Silicon MacBooks, go to Apple Menu -> Restart.

If you’ve got another model, visit this Apple Support page to reset SMC.

Method 8: Check for Malware

Your MacBook can also overheat in clamshell mode if any virus or malware has spread in the system. Such infections and malware eat up too many resources on your machine, which affects the battery, CPU, and memory.

To inspect malware on your Mac, check your browser settings and Activity Monitor. Unfortunately, most viruses and malware can sneak into the system and hide them, making it harder to spot them. You can use a dedicated software designed for the job. You can easily find reliable malware removal software that can do a detailed system scan to catch even the slightest of infections.

Method 9: Inspect Any Hardware Problems

If you’re still stuck with a warm MacBook, some hardware components might not be working properly. To verify, you can run Apple Diagnostics. This will scan your machine and figure out if any component isn’t working.

Before you begin, disconnect all the external devices except the mouse, keyboard, speakers, and display.

  • If you’ve got an Apple Silicon MacBook, shut it down.
  • Now, hold the Power button until you see the Startup Options screen.
  • Press Command + D on your Mac’s keyboard and wait for the results.
Run Apple Diagnostics
Image Courtesy: Apple

If you’re using an Intel-based MacBook, turn it ON and immediately press & hold the D Key. Once you see the progress bar or are asked to choose a language, release the key.

Once the test is completed, you’ll see one or more reference codes, indicating any problems (if detected).

Apple Diagnostics Results
Image Courtesy: Apple

For complete details about the issues, you can check the diagnostic reference code on Apple’s official website.

Method 10: Contact Apple

In most cases, the above methods should help you fix Mac heat-up while sleeping problems. Worse luck, if nothing works for you, it indicates some complex software bugs or hardware damage. The best thing to do in such situations is to visit the nearest Apple Store and get your MacBook examined by geniuses.

I hope this article helped you cool down your Apple machine and that everything is working smoothly now.

Which trick worked for you? Don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments below.

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