Why MacBook Fan Is So Loud In 2023 – 4 Reasons [Easy Quick Fix]

macbook fan noise

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White noise isn’t usually a bother until the MacBook fans start whirring while you’re trying to work. The MacBook fan can be very loud after a macOS update, when you play games, all of a sudden, or for no reason. Now, how do you determine what’s kicking your fans into action? In this guide, I’ll help you identify the reasons behind mac fan noise and what you can do to get it back to normal.

Why MacBook Fan Is So Loud? [Quick Answer]

The loud fan noise in your MacBook generally indicates the system is generating excessive heat due to running heavy applications, blocked air vents, software issues, hardware problems, or unseen background processes.

Overheating prompts the fan to work harder to cool down the system, thus creating more noise. If the noise persists despite minimizing system load and ensuring vents are clean, it could be due to issues with your software or hardware, necessitating professional diagnosis or repair.

4 Reasons And Solutions To Fix A Loud MacBook Fan

When the MacBook’s fan starts working harder than usual, it can create an annoyingly loud noise, distracting you and those around you. If the fan on your MacBook is running loudly, make sure the cooling system is free of dust and set the computer somewhere with adequate air ventilation and a firm, flat surface. If it doesn’t work, your MacBook may have hardware problems, so you’d have to get it checked at the service center.

Below, I have mentioned 4 possible causes and their fixes.

Possible Cause 1: Poor Venting/Circulation

One of the most common reasons for a loud fan in your MacBook is the lack of proper airflow around it. When you use your laptop, it produces heat due to the electrical process required to run it. The fans inside are designed to cool it down, but they can become overworked when there’s no normal airflow around the laptop. 

If you work with your MacBook flat on your lap or desk, you’re obstructing any air from circulating underneath your laptop, which forces the fans to work twice as hard to cool the component. It can result in a loud fan noise and cause your laptop to heat up more quickly. 

How To Fix

  • If your MacBook is overheating, taking a short break and propping it up to cool down for a few minutes can provide a temporary solution.
  • You should also invest in a quality laptop stand to lift your MacBook to improve air circulation. You can also consider using a cooling pad to help dissipate heat. 
  • For an older MacBook model from 2015 or earlier, cleaning the vents and ensuring no dust buildup can make a significant difference. If you have newer MacBook models from 2017 and onwards, it’s best to avoid opening the case and try other solutions in this guide.

Possible Cause 2: Running Heavy Apps

The MacBook Pro’s fans are designed to cool the internal electronic components. But these fans can kick into high gear to meet the demand if you’re running resource-intensive apps, like Adobe Creative Suite, photo or video editing software, or graphics-intensive games. Web browsing and other simple tasks are unlikely to cause this issue.

Note: Gaming on a MacBook Pro is a whole other debate, and you may consider investing in a dedicated gaming laptop if that’s a primary use case for you.

How To Fix

If you frequently use your MacBook Pro for heavy applications, keep an eye on your fan usage and take steps to keep your device cool. Some tips to reduce the load on your computer are as follows:

  • Only run apps you need and don’t leave unnecessary programs idle in the background.
  • Turn down frame rates or processing speeds as needed.
  • Ensure you’re already taking all possible steps to optimize your Mac’s fan, such as using it in a temperature-controlled room rather than outside on an already hot air day.
  • If you regularly experience loud fans due to workload, upgrade your MacBook by adding more RAM or get a new MacBook specifically for video editing so it can keep up with your demands.

Possible Cause 3: Hidden CPU Drains

If you have recently updated your system, modified settings, or added new software, your computer’s fans may be running loudly due to background tasks consuming your CPU’s resources.

How To Fix

To check if your MacBook is experiencing high fan noise due to a program using high CPU power, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Spotlight icon in your screen’s top right corner.
  1. Type Activity Monitor in the search bar and click the app from the results.
  1. Once the Activity Monitor is open, navigate to the %CPU tab and look for the programs using extremely large percentages of available power.
  1. If you find a program using high CPU power, it might be the reason for your MacBook’s loud fan noise.
  2. By closing a program consuming high CPU power, you can fix the loud fan issue on Mac. To do that, click a program and tap the little X in the top menu.

Note: If an app is consuming high CPU power instead of a background task, you should check #2 instead.

Some programs are set to launch when you start up your Mac, and they cause high CPU usage. To disable startup items, follow these steps:

  1. Go to System Settings > General > Login Items.
  1. Select a program you don’t need to start automatically andt tap the little to remove it from the list.

Pro Tip: Save every task before force-quitting them from the Activity Monitor.

Possible Cause 4: MacBook Fan Needs Repair

When dust and dirt particles accumulate on your MacBook’s fan and surrounding components, they can hinder the fan’s efficiency, causing your MacBook to heat up more quickly than usual. It is because the fan must work harder to keep the internal components cool, leading to the familiar whirring sound many MacBook users experience.

How To Fix

If you suspect your MacBook’s fan is clogged with dust or debris, you should take steps to clean it. Here are the ways to do this:

  1. Use Compressed Air: The easiest method is to use a can of compressed air. Hold the can at a safe distance from your MacBook and gently blow air through the vents on the back of the laptop. Avoid applying too much pressure, as this could cause damage to the delicate components inside. Never use a vacuum, as the static can damage the electronic components.
  2. Open Your MacBook: If the compressed air doesn’t work, consider opening the body of your MacBook to clean the fans from the inside. However, use this method only if you have an old MacBook and you are an expert. Next, find your model of MacBook on iFixit to get instructions on how to open the body for your particular Mac. Then, gently use the compressed air to blow particles out of your Mac. Do not under any circumstance use a vacuum, as the static can ruin electronic components.
  3. Replace Fans: You may need to replace the fan for better performance. You can get a left and right side CPU cooling fan from Amazon and use iFixit to locate the right guide for your MacBook model.
  4. Get Professional Help: If nothing else works, take your MacBook to an Apple Genius Bar for professional service and cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my MacBook fan so loud?

Your mac fan so loud because it’s working hard to cool down your device. However, there are several reasons why the fan may be working harder than usual, including dust buildup, running resource-intensive applications, or a malfunctioning fan.

How do I know if my MacBook fan is working properly?

You can check the fan’s operation by listening for any unusual sounds or feeling for airflow from the vents. Additionally, you can use software to monitor the fan’s speed and temperature readings.

What are some quick fixes for a loud MacBook fan?

There are several quick fixes for a loud MacBook fan that you can try, including resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) and closing resource-intensive applications placing a heavy load on your system. Cleaning the fan and vents of any dust buildup can also improve airflow and reduce fan noise. Lastly, keeping your operating system and software up to date can help optimize system performance and reduce the workload on your MacBook’s fan.

Can a loud MacBook fan cause any damage to my device?

A loud fan itself will not damage your MacBook, but it could be a symptom of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed to prevent damage to your device’s components. Additionally, if your MacBook is consistently overheating, it could lead to long-term damage to your battery, processor, or other components.

Wrap Up

Thank you for following along with our guide to fixing the loud fan issue on your MacBook. We understand how frustrating it can be to have a noisy computer, but we hope our tips have helped you resolve the issue.

If you’ve tried all our solutions and your MacBook’s fan is still loud, it’s best to have it examined by a professional at an Apple Service center. If your MacBook is new or still under an AppleCare warranty any repairs or replacements will likely be covered.

We always welcome feedback from our readers and would love to hear about any methods you’ve used to fix fan noise on your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Please feel free to comment below and let us know how our tips worked for you.

About Lorena
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Lorena holds a 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip. Her role involves editorial management from writing to editing and ensuring that the articles are informative, useful, and relevant to readers who are new to Mac.

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  • Nils Jorgensen

    I have tried everything there is online to fix my more or less constant running and noisy fans. It is the second Macbook pro in a row I have this issue with and am extremely tired of spending 4.500 USD with the upgrades for a computer that makes so much noise the its giving problems during online meetings. Also impossible to focus on work.
    Cant update to the newest OS, the systems just stalls. Quite typical “new Apple”. After 20 year of loyal Apple user, Im giving up.
    Conclusion for me is that Apple for unknown reason just cant make the quality they use to.

    Reply
  • Carole

    My fan in my Mac Desktop is running constantly…so annoying. I have checked all your checklist and seems to be something else. Is it possible that it is the files I have on my desktop? Being too many on there? Thanks

    Reply
  • jeanette deltour

    My fan seems to come on when I’m using my Apple Mail program. The mail program is doing weired stuff and I find I need to force quit the program often. Any thoughts/suggestions?

    Thank you,
    Jeanette Deltour

    Reply
  • Prom

    Thank you. This sound was driving me crazy I found this article and there was something called SecurityAgent which was running not sure what it was. I was using 97% of the CPU killed it and macbook is silent. Loving it.

    Reply
  • Josè Lynn

    YES, WAS I RECENTLY FACED THIS SAME PROBLEM.
    I FOLLOWED THE STEPS AND AFTER EXITTING GOOGLE CHROME, FAN NOISE STOPPED IN A MATTER OF SECONDS.
    I WAS BROWSING A LOT OF HEAVY PICTURE TABS IN MY CHROME.
    HERE I THOUGHT THIS NEW MACBOOK PRO 2019 WAS FAULTY.
    THANKS FOR YOUR HELP.

    Reply
  • Jessica Humphreys

    Wonderful advice!! Thank you! Opened Activity Monitor and the Google Chrome and Google Chrome Helper (??) were both using 75%. Stopped them and the fan gently faded off. Whew!

    Reply
    • Erik

      How did you stop them?

      Thanks

      Reply
  • Janelle

    Mine was running loudly even while closed. The solution for me was to check the print queue. There was something stuck in a queue that I had no idea was there. Cancelled print job and voila, no more excessive fan issue.

    Reply
  • cltaylor12

    I purchased an updated 2011 MacBook Pro and the fan is constantly running . All I’m doing is using the browser. I have the machine elevated on two ice hockey pucks per corner so it is 4-5 inches off the surface. My mid-2012 machine does not have this problem unless the entire base is hot and the protective case is on it, and even then I just prop it up on its side and it is fine in moments. The 2011 machine is only running Firefox for watched various streams, the monitor brightness is off because I’m using the TV as the ‘monitor’, and the keyboard has zero backlight so the machine is cool to the touch except for the seam where it vents. It is so loud you can barely hear the TV.

    Reply
  • Minnie

    Oh my gosh! THANK YOU! My fan noise has been driving me CRAZY and I couldn’t figure out why it was happening – I had a lot of tabs open on Chrome, but nothing else running. Opened Activity Monitor, and the mysterious Google Chrome Helper was using over 100%! WTF? Killed it and the sound went away instantly, and nothing happened to my Chrome tabs either. Not sure what Helper was doing, but it certainly wasn’t helping.

    Reply
    • Francesca

      May I know how you stopped Google Chrome helper?

      Reply
      • Francesca

        Never mind 🙂

        Reply
    • TT

      don’t use chrome it heats the Mac

      Reply
    • Michelle

      Same here! Thank goodness for this thread!! Yay!

      Reply
    • Erik

      How did you kill the google chrome helper?

      Reply
  • Alex

    I just bought 2 brand new Macbook pros: both vents blow hard after 5 minutes for no reason. Very frustrating… I tried all the solutions possible. None of them work.

    Reply
    • Julio Voget

      If you are using iCloud, and both Mac are new, they might be downloading and installing iCloud files constantly. Keep them on and powered by a charger, so they can download and organize during nighttime. When everything is ready they’ll stop venting. Have fun!

      Reply
    • dave

      New Macbook Pros have very shitty thermal management. Chromebooks have better thermals than many modern macs. The thinner the laptop the harder it is too cool properly. I have a 2008 Thinkpad running MX Linux, thick as a house but it runs cool, vents heat out of the side of the machine not onto the screen, doesn’t get hot enough to cook an egg on even playing 720p video in youtube. Fans kick on, but they are quiet. You pay a price for thin, the new M1 Apple Silicons may solve many of these issues as those chips run very cool compared to Intel+Nvidia.

      Reply