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Resolve Fan Noise for Apple MacBook

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Support.com Tech Pro Team
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1 Introduction: Apple MacBook: Resolve Fan Noise

Fan are used to help keep the inside of your computer cool. If you are hearing loud fan noise, this could be the result of the following.

  • Insufficient Cooling
  • Runaway Apps
  • Graphics Settings
  • Other hardware issues

This guide will help you to identify the cause of your fan noise and provide a resolution to your issue.

Loud fan noise

2 macOS: Restart

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu (1), then select Restart... (2).
    Apple menu with Restart option selected. Screenshot.

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Fan are used to help keep the inside of your computer cool. If you are hearing loud fan noise, this could be the result of the following.

  • Insufficient Cooling
  • Runaway Apps
  • Graphics Settings
  • Other hardware issues

This guide will help you to identify the cause of your fan noise and provide a resolution to your issue.

Loud fan noise

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu (1), then select Restart... (2).
    Apple menu with Restart option selected. Screenshot.

Any unsaved work will be lost.

Most laptop computers have easy-to-spot ventilation areas where heat is expelled from while they are in use. Your MacBook computer has a less-obvious ventilation area around the rear screen hinge.
MacBook Pro with exhaust vent highlighted

Ensuring this area is free of dust, debris, and other blockages is the easiest way to make sure your MacBook is able to expel heat in the way it was designed. Use compressed air to clean around this ventilation area to help keep your computer running cool.

There may be occasions when a piece of software on your Mac will crash or become unresponsive and take up too much CPU or memory. The best option is to go to the Activity Monitor and see what’s causing the congestion.

Activity Monitor shows the processes that are running on your Mac, so you can manage them and see how they affect your Mac's activity and performance.

  1. Click on the Spotlight icon.
    Spotlight
  2. Type "Activity Monitor" in the search bar.
    Activity Monitor typed in Spotlight search bar
  3. Click on Activity Monitor in the list
    Spotlight search results with Activity Monitor highlighted
  4. Click the title bar at the top called %CPU. A small arrow will appear and should point downwards. This will show the items with the highest percentage of CPU usage at the top. If there is a process that is running very high, it may be malfunctioning and causing a problem.
    macOS activity monitor highlighting CPU usage.
  5. To terminate a process that may be causing a problem, click on it with your mouse to highlight it, then click the X button in the upper-left corner of the Activity Monitor window.
    macOS activity monitor highlighting a process and the end process button.
  6. You will be asked if you really want to quit the process. Click Force Quit.
    Confirmation prompt with force quit button highlighted.

Many MacBooks have both an internal graphics processor and a discreet graphics processor. When automatic graphics switching is enabled, your MacBook will switch to the internal graphics processor. When this happens, it can save power, but also puts an extra load on your CPU causing it to heat up. You can turn this option off to use the discrete graphics processor which may cool your CPU temperature but use more power.

Not all MacBooks will have this option available.

  1. Click on the Apple menu and go to System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences highlighted
  2. Click on Energy Saver.
    Energy Saver
  3. Uncheck the Automatic Graphics Switching option
    Automatic Graphics Switching
If you have performed all of these steps and still have loud fan noise, then you may be looking at a internal hardware issue.