Why is My MacBook Pro So Hot?

Your MacBook Pro is a highly functional Mac machine and being such a complex machine, it has a lot of intricate parts that all work together to keep it operational.

The more moving parts a machine has, the more potential there exists for these parts to generate heat. There are multiple reasons why your MacBook Pro might be getting hot but it is actually normal for your Mac to be slightly warm during normal operation.

There is a big difference between warm and hot when it comes to a computer, and if you think your MacBook Pro is running hot, you should probably take some time to figure out why this might be.

There are some quick things to address to cool your Mac down and also some warning signs that might indicate it might be close to upgrade time.

Why A Hot MacBook Pro is Bad

Like I just stated above, a warm computer is nothing to worry about and is actually the normal temperature your computer usually is under normal operating circumstances.

When your MacBook Pro actually gets hot is when you need to pay attention and take action to cool it down. A warm computer will run normally but a hot computer can lead to some short-term and/or long-term problems with your device.

One of the main reasons you don’t want your Mac to overheat is because it can cause damage with the hardware that actually allows your computer to work properly. Important pieces of hardware like your hard drive and CPU can become damaged when exposed to constant overheating and this can cause them to operate poorly and possibly fail over time. Similar to other expensive machines, like your car, you don’t want it running hot for long.

If critical pieces of hardware become damaged, this can lead to poor performance. Excessive overheating of your MacBook Pro can cause it to run really slowly, freeze up all of the time, and generally not operate like it is supposed too.

A really hot Mac can also shut down automatically and this can lead to potential data loss if you don’t have things saved when your Mac attempts to protect itself.

Why Is My MacBook Pro Running Hot?

There are a few different reasons why your MacBook Pro could be running hot.

Let’s take a look at a few of these reasons that could be the source of overheating and then we will take a look at how to fix them. One initial consideration to note is the age of your Mac. The older a Mac gets, the harder its fans have to work to keep everything cool.

If age is the reason for overheating, you might have to get a new machine at some point in the near future.

1. Demanding and Runaway Apps

If you’ve had your Mac for a while, chances are you have a bunch of different apps installed on it.

Usually this is no problem, but if you have apps installed that are very demanding of CPU or maybe a third-party app that is stuck in a loop, it can cause your computer to heat up quickly.

If you run several of these demanding apps at once or have multiple apps open without knowing it, your Mac can heat up in a hurry.

2. Soft Surfaces

I know it’s in the name of the Mac, but just because it’s called a laptop doesn’t mean a lap is the best place to keep your MacBook Pro.

Soft surfaces like your lap, a bed, a blanket, or even carpet on the floor may be comfortable but they also can cause your Mac to heat up. This is basically due to the fact that there is poor air circulation when you place your computer on a softer surface and it needs proper airflow to help it keep cool.

3. It Might Be Dirty

Your MacBook Pro has vents, covers, and other openings from the outside to the interior that can get dirty and lead to overheating.

It’s normal for your Mac to collect this dust and dirt over time but most people don’t know how to clean it out. The built-in vents are crucial to keeping your computer cool and if they get dirty and clogged up, your MacBook will start to heat up very easily.

How to Prevent MacBook Pro From Overheating

1. Close Demanding and Runaway Apps

The easiest way to deal with demanding and runaway apps that are causing your computer to overheat are to check your Activity Monitor to see what apps are currently running and if you can close some of them.

To find your Activity Monitor open your Finder, click on Applications, click on Utilities, and then click on Activity Monitor. You will see a screen like the one below and can close and monitor the CPU usage of all apps currently running.

2. Stay Away from Soft Surfaces

The method to fixing this cause of overheating is simple. Don’t place your computer on any soft surfaces when using it. It may sound pretty easy, but so many people (myself included) are guilty of this one.

Instead of using your MacBook in bed or on the couch, make sure you set it up on a table or desk. This will allow for adequate airflow to surround the computer and keep everything cool and operational.

3. Clean Dust and Dirt

If your computer is running hot due to dust and dirt, you need to try and clean it up.

 Depending on the year of your MacBook Pro, the vents you should check and clean are located either above the keyboard below the hinge on the display or on the underside of the computer. You can use a small delicate brush to clean up these vents or a can of compressed air can quickly blow the vents clean as well.

Final Thoughts

If your MacBook Pro seems to be running hot, don’t panic. Take a look at the tips above and chances are you will be able to cool your computer down and limit any damage or data loss that can result from overheating.

If none of these tips seem to work on your Mac, you might have to bite the bullet and buy a new one, unfortunately.

Has your MacBook Pro ever overheated? How did you cool it down?

  1. Yes my MacBook Pro overheats a lot and I don’t know why none of the above is applied for the reason of it so the way I cool it down is by turning it off.. my MacBook Pro is brand new and this shouldn’t happen I got it less than a month ago and this is what it’s doing please help me in this matter thank you very much

    • Hi Nick,
      I am running into the same issue – I have a 2019 Pro and it randomly starts overheating.
      It also runs hot when I am editing on Adobe CC which is totally normal.
      Try resetting your SMC which controls your fan speeds and heat monitoring.
      Shut down Mac > Press and Hold Shift+Control+Option for 7-10 seconds >Continue holding them down and press and hold power button for 10 seconds. once you do this give your Mac a minute and then power it back on – This should help with overheating.

  2. I’ve looked at all these things, even if I leave it on a table overnight with it closed sometimes it gets very hot overnight when I’m not even using it and the temperature was normal the day before. The only solution I have found is to reboot it. I have the i9 version.

  3. Seriously? The solution for a crappy, overheated Mac is to buy a new one?? Thanks, no. I’m glad my employer paid for this junk and not me. It becomes unusable with an external monitor above 75 degrees ambient temperature and 80 degrees with no monitor attached.

  4. I followed the above instructions…force quit several applications that were using all my memory. Now my Mac doesn’t want to open up Finder. Can you help me pls?

  5. Just wanted to get back with you that after my restart my Mac is faster than it’s been in a while…now my speakers are wonky. Any idea how I can check them or just take it to my mac guy? Thanks a bunch!!

  6. Thank you!!! The demanding runway apps thing worked! I was so worried that my MacBook Pro was about to burn up and that would be just detrimental at this point as I am a full time student in a time crunched 8-week course. YOU SAVED ME I closed out a few things the CPU was high on and then a couple of left open websites I wanted to revisit and boom the fan stopped and its back to normal!

  7. I can’t help – but my MacBook is doing the same, its 9 months old and we’ve updated it. Am not impressed