When your computer overheats, your MacBook’s fan kicks into action. But when it runs too long or too loud, there may be another cause to consider. Let’s answer the question “why is my MacBook Air making a fan noise?”
If your MacBook’s fan is running too loud for too long, and too frequently, you may have a problem. For the most part, fans are a part of laptop life. Humans sweat, dogs pant and laptops generally spin fans to keep cool. Unless you have the tiny, fanless MacBook, then your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air will occasionally fire up its cooling fan to keep its thermals in check. But if your Mac’s fan has gone from occasionally spinning to regularly and loudly spinning, you’ll want to quiet it down.
There are five ways to stop a MacBook Air making a fan noise. It might be that you need to go through all of these steps until your fan finally calms down. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the problem. Set aside a little time to genuinely focus on your fan health, and you’ll continue to get a lot of quality life out of your MacBook — without it sounding like you’re at the airfield. Of course. ClickAway MacBook repair technicians can resolve this for you if you prefer
Trouble shooting – MacBook Air making a fan noise
- Check your apps and tabs
The more apps and browser tabs you’ve got running, the greater the odds are that your Mac will need to employ its fan to keep things cool. Cut down on your multitasking by closing apps when you are done using them, especially when you are using graphics-intensive apps like Photoshop and iMovie.
To see which apps are using the most CPU resources, open the Activity Monitor and click on the CPU tab. In our experience, Chrome is more of a resource hog than Safari, so you might try switching browsers for a quieter Web browsing experience. We also suggest using your iPhone to play music and podcasts with iTunes and Spotify instead of keeping those apps running on your Mac.
- Keep vents clear
The MacBook Pro has vents on its sides and back edge, and the MacBook Air has vents along its back edge. These vents draw in cool air and expel hot air. If you block these vents by resting your laptop on a lap, couch cushion, pillow, bed or blanket, then your Mac is sure to heat up quick. I use a coffee table book to keep my MacBook Pro’s vents unobstructed when sitting on a couch or lying in bed.
If it looks like a bunch of grime has collected along the vents, you can try blowing it away with a can of compressed air. Of course, you run the risk of just blowing the debris further into your Mac. If that appears to be the case, then you will need to open up your Mac to get under the hood. This is probably best left to ClickAway. We can do it while you wait.
- Open up and clean
If you really want to do it yourself, get a tiny Phillips-head screwdriver and remove the bottom panel of your MacBook to clean out any dirt, dust and grime that may have collected over the years. Use your can of compressed air to blow away any debris or a lint-free cloth to wipe it away. Pay particular attention to the cooling fan itself and its vents, along with the entire back edge of your MacBook. The goal here is clean passageways for maximum airflow.
- Test your fans
There is a chance that your MacBook Air making a fan noise and overheating is there’s something wrong with the cooling fan itself. Baked into your Mac is a hardware diagnostic tool. If it was made prior to June 2013, you’ll use the Apple Hardware Test. After that date, you’ll use Apple Diagnostics.
These tools operate in a similar fashion. With your MacBook plugged in and all external peripherals removed, restart it and hold down the D key to start either diagnostic program.
Follow the onscreen instructions to start the test. The standard test takes only a minute or two to complete and will report any hardware issues. For a more thorough investigation, you can check a box to run an extended test that will take an hour or more to complete.
There are three codes, all starting with “PPF,” related to the cooling fan. If you get one of the results that indicates there may be an issue with your fan, it’s time to contact Apple if you have Apple Care with your MacBook. If you don’t, visit your nearest ClickAway Mac Repair technician for a repair or ask for a computer tune up.
- Reset the SMC
If your Mac is clean and grime-free and you are keeping your apps and tabs in check your MacBook Air making a fan noise continues, try resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). The SMC is responsible for controlling low-level functions on your Mac including “thermal management,” aka the cooling fan. Follow opens in a new windowApple’s instructions for resetting the SMC. Any questions can quickly be answered at opens in a new windowClickAway.