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Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Courtesy of the advancement in semiconductor technology, today’s laptops can crunch numbers at lighting fast speeds. That said, this computational efficiency comes at the cost of high power requirements and increased thermal outputs. No doubt, the fans on your Macbook are revving like crazy.

So just like humans sweat to keep their bodies cool, laptops ramp up the fans in their motherboards to prevent electronics from overheating during a heavy workload.

Therefore, if the fans on your Macbook are running like crazy when you are editing high-resolution footage or playing a graphics-intensive game, your system is probably doing what it’s supposed to do. That said, if your fans sound too loud even when you are scrolling the Internet, your laptop might have an issue.

So if you are annoyed by the fan noise your Macbook makes when you are streaming your favourite show on Netflix, you are in the right place. This article will go over everything you can do to reduce the fan noise on your Macbook air.

Also read: CPU Fan error: 7 Fixes


Check the processes running on your device

Most people believe that their system only runs the processes they are working on when their CPU does a lot more. To put things into perspective, I have a single browser window open right now, and my system is running a mind whopping 360 processes. Sounds crazy, right?

Not only this, if you are a Macbook user who does not shut down their system often, things can get even worse. Simply because processes on a Macbook keep accumulating over time, and they keep running in the background even when you hit the close button.

So what happens when your CPU has to handle a lot of processes? Well, an increased number of processes increase the load on your CPU, GPU and memory resources. Due to this increased load on the system, the electronics that power your Macbook air have to be pushed to the limit, and your fan has to do all the hard work to keep everything cool.

So to keep your fans from getting overworked, follow the steps given below:

Step 1: Use the command + space shortcut to open Spotlight on your Macbook.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Step 2: Search for Activity Monitor and press return.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Step 3: Click on the CPU tab and then click on % CPU to arrange processes in decreasing order of CPU usage.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Doing this for GPU and memory resources can help reduce loads as well.

Step 4: Double click on a process you think has been using a lot of CPU resources. Click on Quit in the dialogue box that opens up. After that, Click on Quit to terminate the process.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

If you terminate a critical process, Mac OS will respawn the process automatically.

If you perform a computationally heavy task, you can turn off some non-critical background processes. Doing this will reduce the pressure on your system, decreasing the processing time for heavy workloads.

So if you like to stream music on your device while you work, you can offload that to your smartphone and reduce the load on your Macbook air. Also, if you are not very picky about the browser you use, you can shift to Safari as it is optimised for Mac OS and can reduce fan noise on your system.

Running a multi-screen setup with your Macbook air can also cause the fans to run full throttle. So you can try removing any external monitors plugged into your system to calm your fans down.

Also read: How to delete photos on your MacBook?


Keep your Macbook ventilated

The amount of air your Macbook gets is critical for keeping it cool. So if you work with a pillow under the system, the cooling efficiency it offers can go down drastically.

Therefore, if you want to push your system to the limits and keep the fans at bay, you must keep it ventilated. To do the same, keep your system on a cool flat surface. If that also does not do the job, you can keep it on a laptop cooling pad.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Not only this, the ambient temperature in which your system works also affects its performance. According to Apple, Macbooks function best when the ambient temperature is between 10 and 35 degrees Centigrade. So keep your system in a cool environment, and it might prevent the fans from revving so hard.

Check the vents on your Macbook

If you have an old system, the chances are that the vents on your Macbook air have a lot of dust. This dust can prevent proper airflow and cause your fans to get overworked. Therefore you can try removing dust by using the bristles of a toothbrush or open the back cover using a Phillips screwdriver and clean the dust off your fan.


Check storage and software version

Having a filled up drive can cause your system to slow down. Not only this, it can cause your CPU to take more cycles to write data to the drive. Due to this, a system with a filled up hard drive will use more CPU resources and cause the fan to throttle.

So if you have a hard drive that is filled up, you can transfer data to an external hard drive and reduce the fan noise on your system.

Another reason for increased fan noise could be an obsolete version of software on your Macbook. According to Apple, keeping your software up to date can help maintain your system’s temperatures and control the fan noise.

To check if your system is up to date, you can follow the steps given below:

Step 1: Click on the Apple logo on the top left corner of your system and click on About This Mac.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Step 2: Click on Software Update.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Step 3: Click on Update Now.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Also read: MacBook not turning on: 7 Fixes


Run a diagnostics test on your system

Apple lets its users run a diagnostics test on their system. This test helps users identify a hardware fault on their system. So if the fan on your system is damaged, this test will tell you about the same.

You need to unplug any external devices plugged into your system apart from your external AC adapter to run the diagnostics tests. Thereafter you can follow the steps given below.

Step 1: Shut down your system.

Step 2: Press and hold the D key after turning on your system.

Step 3: Select a language of choice and click OK from the list shown.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Step 4: Click on I agree, and the Apple diagnostics test will start running on your system.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

The steps given above work only for Intel-based Macbook devices. The same are not given for M1 based Macbook air’s as the same has a fanless design

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes

Once the test is completed, it will show the results in the form of a reference code. To know more about the reference codes, you can click on this link. You can also share these codes with an Apple care representative, and they can help you fix your system.


Try resetting the System Management Controller on your Macbook

If you have tried everything listed in this article and your fans are still making a lot of noise, you might have to reset the System Management Controller(SMC) on your device. What is the SMC, you ask?

The System Management Controller is responsible for managing low-level settings pertaining to thermals and battery management. In some cases, bugs in the SMC can cause your fans to malfunction.

There are different ways of resetting the SMC on an Apple device; we will be going over the various steps one by one.


Macbook air with the T2 chip

The newest generation of Macbook air’s come with a T2 chip. This chip provides enhanced security to devices during bootup and helps in the secure processing of Touch ID data. A list of devices with the Apple T2 chip is given below:

  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2020)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2019)
  • MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018)

M1 based devices do not have the T2 chip as it is part of the processor itself

If you own one of these devices, you can follow the steps given below to reset the SMC.

Step 1: Shut down your Macbook air.

Step 2: Press and hold all the following keys.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes
Source: Apple support
  • Control key on the left side of your keyboard.
  • Option key on the left side.
  • Shift key on the right side.

Pressing all these keys on your system might turn it on.

Step 3: Press and hold the combination of keys for the next 7 seconds and then press the power button.

If your Macbook had turned on during the process, it would shut down once you hold the power key.

Step 4: Keep holding the four keys for 7 more seconds and then release them.

Step 5: Wait for a few seconds and then turn on your system.


Macbooks without the T2 chip

The process for resetting the SMC on devices that do not have the T2 chip is slightly different. To reset the SMC, you can follow the steps given below:

Step 1: Shut down your Macbook air.

Step 2: Press and hold all the following keys.

Why is my Macbook Air fan so loud? 5 quick fixes
Source: Apple support
  • Control key on the left side of your keyboard.
  • Option key on the left side.
  • Shift key on the left side.

Step 3: While holding all three keys, press and hold the power button. Hold this combination of keys for 10 seconds.

Step 4: Release all the keys and press the power button to turn on your system with the SMC reset.


Is your Macbook fan noise still making you crazy?

If you have tried everything in this listicle and your fan is still making a lot of noise, you should take it to an Apple service centre. Also, if you have a lot of heavy workloads running in your daily workflows, the fan noise is something that you cannot get rid of unless you get a Macbook that has a fanless design.

Also read: Switching from Windows to Mac? 5 things you need to know

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