How to Check MacBook Temperature

Most of us dread when our MacBook’s fan starts whirring loudly to keep it from overheating. However, while the noise may be alarming, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your Mac. 

But, to make sure your MacBook isn’t overheating, you can check its temperature with a simple command in Terminal.

I’m Jon, a Mac enthusiast and owner of a 2019 MacBook Pro. I regularly monitor my Mac’s temperature and try to make it cooler.

So, keep reading this guide to learn how to check your MacBook Pro’s temperature and some tips to keep it cool.

Note: the method below won’t work with M1-based Macs. For M1 and M2-based MacBooks, you will have to use third-party apps such as iStat Menus, or Monity for temperature monitoring. Just download one of these apps onto your M1/M2 MacBook to begin monitoring its temperature. 

Step 1: Open Terminal

There are a few ways you can open Terminal on your MacBook. The easiest way to open it is via Spotlight Search. Click on the small magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of your menu bar. Alternatively, click Command + Space

Once the Spotlight Search bar appears on your screen, type “terminal.app” and press Return. Or, click the Terminal.app icon that appears. 

You can also use Launchpad to open Terminal quickly. If Launchpad is in your dock, click on the icon or press F4 to launch it. Once it opens, type “Terminal” and press return. Or, click the “Terminal” icon. 

Step 2: Type The Command

After opening Terminal, you need to type in a command that will tell your device what to do. Type in 

sudo powermetrics –samplers smc |grep -i “CPU die temperature”

When you type the command in Terminal, it will appear after the name of your computer. For example, it might say Jons-MacBook-Pro:~. After you enter the command, press Return

Step 3: Enter Your Password

Next, your Mac will prompt you to enter your administrative password. Follow the prompt, entering the password as necessary.

Step 4: Check The Temperature

Once you enter your password, Terminal will display your Mac’s CPU temperature. It might take a moment or two, so give it a few seconds to process the request. 

Terminal will continuously report your Mac’s CPU temperature until you close the app. 

Step 5: Close The App

When you’re ready, close the app by clicking the red circle in the top left corner of the window. Alternatively, press Control + C to stop the monitoring cycle. 

Tips to Help Keep Your MacBook Cool

Maintaining an ambient temperature within the acceptable range is essential for the overall health of your MacBook. 

If your MacBook gets too hot, the system’s sensitive internal components may become permanently damaged. But, your MacBook will turn off automatically to prevent this.

So, keeping the system within the acceptable temperature range is essential. Your MacBook’s ambient temperature should range from 50 to 95ºF (10 to 25ºC). The CPU die temperature (what the Terminal code shows you) has a normal range of 50 to 80ºC.

Here are a few tips to cool down your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro:

1. Keep Software and Firmware Updated

The software and firmware your Mac uses for everyday functions can be the root of its overheating issue. In some cases, outdated software can overburden your Mac’s processor, causing it to overheat. 

Ensure you stay on top of new software and firmware updates to avoid potential overheating due to outdated software/firmware. 

2. Don’t Leave Your MacBook in a Parked Car

Avoid leaving your Mac in a parked car, especially in direct sunlight. In the summer months, the temperature inside a parked vehicle in direct sunlight can climb into the triple digits, even if the outdoor temp is only 85 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Sitting in a scorching car, the internal components in your Mac may be at risk of overheating, resulting in permanent damage. 

If you did leave your MacBook in a hot area, let it cool down for an hour or two before trying to use it. 

3. Keep Your Mac Well Ventilated

Try to keep your MacBook well-ventilated. Avoid leaving it in a space without ventilation. Don’t put anything over the keyboard, and ensure the ventilation openings on the computer are clear of debris. 

And although you can buy a snap-on case to protect it, I don’t recommend it. Cases trap in heat and will make your MacBook hotter. 

4. Use a Laptop Cooling Dock

If you’re like me, 99% of the time, you use your MacBook from your desk. If that sounds like you, I suggest getting a laptop cooling dock to cool it down.

I use the Cooler Master NotePal X3 with my 16-inch MacBook Pro. The fans are very silent, keeping things cool enough to prevent the MacBook Pro’s louder fan from turning on. 

5. Only Use Apple-authorized Power Adapters

You’ve heard the old saying, “only use Apple-authorized power adapters with your Apple devices.” But what you might not know is that third-party power adapters can overheat your MacBook. 

Apple-authorized power adapters feature various safety features that help prevent things like sudden electric shocks and fires. Aside from the potentially life-threatening side effects of generic power adapters, these adapters may also cause your Mac to overheat. 

So, it’s best to stick with the real deal and only use Apple-authorized power adapters to charge your Mac. 

Conclusion

An overheating MacBook with a loud fan can be a nightmare, especially when you’re in the middle of a test for school or an important work project. 

Thankfully, you can check your MacBook’s temperature with a command in Terminal and keep it cool with the tips above.

As long as you keep your Mac well-ventilated, out of scorching environments, and use Apple-authorized chargers, you should be good to go. That said, it doesn’t hurt to check the temperature every now and again – just to be on the safe side!

What temperature is your Macbook reading, and what do you do to keep it cool? Let us know in the comments below!

About Jonathon Jachura
Jonathon is a mechanical engineer with over ten years of experience. He is an Apple fan who currently holds a Macbook Pro (512 GB, 16GB RAM), iPad Pro 12.9", iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple Watch 3, and 4x Acer 23" monitors.

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