Why Is My MacBook Fan So Loud and How to Fix It

In Short
  • Faulty adapters, poor air circulation, running resource-intensive tasks at a stretch, and hardware damage are some of the most common reasons why your MacBook fan is so loud.
  • To fix Mac loud fan problems, you can check the vents, ensure proper air circulation, check CPU usage, update macOS, or check your charging accessories.
  • You can also run Apple Diagnostics or contact Apple support.

Have you ever been in a situation where your MacBook fan becomes so loud all of a sudden that it feels like your machine is ready to take off? If yes, you’ve landed at the right place. I use my MacBook Air every day, all the time. I can completely understand how annoying it gets when you’re working on a deadline or ready for Netflix & Chill and your Mac suddenly starts sounding like a mini jet engine. Well, you need not worry at all as we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll learn why your MacBook fan is so loud. We’ll also discuss some effective ways to fix MacBook loud fan issues. Without much talking, let’s get in right there!

Why is My MacBook Fan so Loud?

There are several reasons for a loud MacBook fan noise. We’ve mentioned the most common ones below:

1. Faulty Adapters

Using cheap, faulty, or incompatible charging accessories, especially the adapter may trigger Mac fan noise issues.

2. Poor air circulation

Your MacBook needs to breathe. If your Mac is placed on a soft surface like a bed or couch, it may block the air vents. As a result, it becomes difficult for your Mac to release the generated heat, increasing the fan noise.

3. Running resource-heavy tasks/apps

When you run intensive tasks or resource-heavy apps at a stretch, your MacBook’s processor works too hard and gets hot. When the processor overheats, the MacBook fan has to overwork to bring everything back to a normal temperature.

4. Excessive build up

Over time, dirt, dust, and other build-up in the air vents and fans may restrict air flow, causing your MacBook fan to run louder.

5. Ageing thermal pasting

If your Mac is too old, the thermal paste may age and become less effective. This leads to higher CPU temperatures and more fan noise on your Mac.

6. Malfunctioning fans

If the MacBook fan is faulty, worn out, or damaged, it may have difficulty rotating smoothly. As a result, the fan may make loud noises.

How to Fix a Loud Fan on MacBook

Method 1: Ensure proper air circulation

Choosing the right location with proper air circulation is the first thing to do when you’re stuck with a loud fan on your MacBook. Sometimes, we may want to relax and use our MacBook on a bed or a couch. However, most Macs have air vents at their back, which could be easily blocked by soft surfaces like a bed, couch, or your lap. This would trap all the generated heat, making your fan run faster and louder.

Why Is My MacBook Fan So Loud and How to Fix It

In such cases, the quickest solution is to move your Mac to a flat & hard surface like a desk or a table. Even better, you can get yourself a laptop stand that raises your MacBook off the surface to ensure maximum airflow. Besides, it delivers a more comfortable viewing angle & improves your posture.

Moving on, it’s important to consider the environmental factors while dealing with loud fan noise on your Mac. If it’s a hot day and there is no air conditioning in your room, it may have an adverse impact on the MacBook’s performance. This could get worse when you throw intensive tasks to your Mac. Ideally, the ambient temperature should be between 50 – 95 Fahrenheit (10 to 35 degrees Celsius). If it’s above the threshold, you should move to another room or stop using your Mac. In case you can’t control the environmental factors, you must get yourself a laptop cooling pad.

Method 2: Check the vents

Another reason why your MacBook fan constantly runs at a fast speed is that the vents are themselves blocked. This makes it difficult for the hot air to leave the interior of the laptop.

On a MacBook Air, vents are usually situated along the top edge of the chassis near the hinges. MacBook Pro vents are along the back and the side edges just beyond the USB-C ports. iMac and iMac Pro users can find the vents on the back and bottom edge, while the Mac Pro has vents on the front and back sides.

To avoid any issues, you must ensure any items don’t block these areas on your MacBook. Also, you should remove any dirt, debris, or other build-up to keep everything cool & nice.

Method 3: Check CPU usage

By default, your MacBook fan will start running when it notices heavy CPU usage on the machine. So, if you’re working on intensive tasks like indexing a hard drive or playing a graphics-heavy game, the fans will run faster to provide additional airflow. If you aren’t sure what’s causing your MacBook’s fan to be noisy, you can open the Activity Monitor to see the apps eating up the most CPU resources. Here’s how to do it:

  • On your Mac, go to Finder -> Applications -> Utilities -> Activity Monitor.
Open Activity Monitor on Mac
  • Alternatively, hold the Command key and press the Space bar to open Spotlight and search for Activity Monitor.
  • Now, click on the CPU tab and sort the processes by clicking on the %CPU column. Check the apps that are at the top of the column.
Check CPU usage on Mac
  • If some apps are not required, you can close them to see if that stops the fans.
  • For this, click on the process and then click on the small X button above to close it.
Quit processor on Mac

Method 4: Check your charging accessories

If your MacBook Air fan is running loud constantly, you must check your charging accessories. Apple recommends using the official adapter and cable that came in the box with your Mac. Also, it recommends plugging the adapter into your Mac before connecting it to the mains. If you have started facing a Mac fan noise issue after changing your adapter, make sure it’s an official one. In case you’re using a third-party offering, you must replace it with the original adapter.

Method 5: Check for unexpected Heavy Fan usage

There can be instances when your Mac fans run faster even when it’s properly ventilated and isn’t under any heavy usage. When this happens, there are a few ways to check what’s causing unexpected heavy fan usage.

  • On Macs with Apple Silicon, restart your computer. You can also close and open the lid on your laptop.
  • On a Mac Pro, you should double-check the enclosure to verify that your Mac Pro is locked and fully seated. For rack-mounted models, check that the top cover or access door is closed and locked.
  • On Intel-based Macs, you must reset SMC (System Management Controller).

Method 6: Check Mac’s temperature

Another tip to fix a loud fan on your MacBook is to monitor your machine’s temperature. That’s because the fan might be constantly running loudly due to overheating. Unfortunately, there’s no official method to check your Mac’s temperature. That said, there are some ways to do it, depending on whether you’re an Intel or Apple Silicon MacBok.

On Intel-powered Macs, you can launch the Terminal and type the below command to see the CPU temperature:

sudo powermetrics --samplers smc |grep -i "CPU die temperature"

On Apple Silicon Macs, you can use free third-party apps like TG Pro or iStat Menus to track your MacBook’s CPU temperatures.

You can also check out our dedicated guide on how to check CPU temperature on a Mac.

Macs are designed to work within a temperature range of 50 to 95 Fahrenheit. So, if your MacBook temperature is higher for prolonged periods, it may trigger some issues. In the long run, it can also cause severe damage. Head to an Apple Store if the CPU temperature is above the accepted limit consistently, it might be hardware damage.

Method 7: Updates macOS

Outdated software is another reason why your MacBook fan is so loud. This may also trigger other issues like the Mac running slow or abnormal battery drain. Apple regularly release updates to improve its system-level software. Besides improvements and security patches, these updates come with bug fixes as well. There’s a good chance that updating your software will fix MacBook fan loud problems. So, it’s worth giving it a try.

  • Open System Settings on your Mac.
  • Here, choose General from the left sidebar and click on Software Update.
General section in Mac Settings
  • Allow your Mac to check for updates.
  • If a more recent version is available, download and uninstall them on your Mac.
Check of macOS Updates

Method 8: Run Diagnostics

Overheating is one of the worst issues that not only damage the fan but your whole MacBook. When the thermals fail to cool the laptop, you may experience unexpected shutdowns. If your MacBook fan is running loud and the machine has been overheating, you can run Apple Diagnostics to check if the fan is damaged.

Before you run Apple Diagnostics, disconnect all the external devices except the mouse, speakers, keyboard, and display. Once you’re ready, follow the below steps based on the model you own:

  • On MacBooks with Apple Silicon, shut down your Mac
  • Now, turn it back on while holding the Power button.
  • Continue to hold the key until you see the Startup Options screen.
  • Finally, press Command + D on your Mac’s keyboard. 

On Intel-based MacBooks, turn your computer ON and immediately press & hold the D Key. Once you see the progress bar or are prompted to choose a language, release the key.

When the test is finished, you’ll see a reference code, indicating if any problems are detected. You can check the diagnostic reference code on Apple’s official website to know about the issue.

Method 9: Check for Malware

Your MacBook may turn into a jet engine if the system is infected with a virus or malware. That’s because these infections tend to consume too many resources, affecting CPU and memory.

You can track down malware by checking browser settings and Activity Monitor. That being said, most viruses and malware are good at hiding. Therefore, it’s a better idea to use dedicated software designed for the job. Today, you can find some reliable malware removal software that are worth your investment. They will do a detailed system scan to ensure no infection goes unnoticed.

These are some of the ways to fix a loud fan on your MacBook. We hope this guide helped you fix those annoying issues where your Mac sounds like a jet engine.

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

Should I worry if my MacBook fan is loud?

It’s pretty common for MacBook fans to be loud and make some noise when you’re doing intensive tasks like gaming, video editing, or running heavy apps. That said, if your MacBook fan makes a lot of noise for no reason, it could be due to clogged air vents, dust build-up, malware infections, or hardware problems.

What happens when my MacBook fan stops working?

If your MacBook fan stops working, it could cause overheating. As a result, the system may throttle back its performance to reduce heat. Sometimes, your Mac may experience automatic shutdowns to mitigate any internal damage. In the long run, it may also cause permanent hardware damage to your MacBook.

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