How to Fix Overheating Issue on an Old MacBook

Cool Down Reduce Heat Macbook Featured Image

Like any other living thing, your MacBook also ages with time, and this affects its cooling fans and usability. If your old MacBook starts to feel hot with its fans whirring loudly to stop it from overheating, there are several things you can do to make it cool down and reduce the heat.

This guide will show you some suggestions you can use to reduce the MacBook overheating issue before it turns itself off or causes any further issues.

Why Does Your MacBook Overheat?

The very obvious reason is that your MacBook is getting old, and the parts start to fail.

Cool Down Reduce Heat Macbook Reasons

Another reason is that laptop manufacturers are constantly trying to make smaller laptops, which means the internal parts like the hard drive, motherboard and others also get smaller and closer to each other.

All these parts produce heat, so the closer they get, the more the heat is concentrated in them, and the built-in laptop fans can’t work efficiently to cool the components down in such a tight space. It’s also harder for heat to escape.

The result is an overheating machine, which if not managed properly, will damage the chip within and end up running slower than usual, powering itself off unexpectedly, freezing, or failing altogether.

Other causes include buildup of dust or dirt, defective batteries, or running resource-intensive applications and games.

Reduce your browser’s workload

The more open tabs you have opened in your browser, the more system resources it uses, which ultimately overworks the machine. Reduce your browser’s workload by closing or bookmarking the tabs you’re not using.

Switch from Chrome to Safari or other browsers

Cool Down Reduce Heat Macbook Chrome

While Google Chrome is the most popular browser, it’s also very resource-intensive and uses a very high percentage of your CPU’s resources. Safari is the default browser in macOS, and it works well without straining your CPU. You can also switch to these alternative browsers for a better browsing experience.

Lessen the multitasking roll

Cool Down Reduce Heat Macbook Multitask

Remember that your MacBook is already old. Do not make it run everything from playing music, viewing photos, and gaming all at the same time. Instead, use other devices for such tasks and use your MacBook only for the main tasks.

Keep out the sun and off the mattress

Cool Down Reduce Heat Macbook Laps

If you’re living in areas with extremely high temperatures, you will need to reduce your MacBook’s exposure to external heat. This includes not using it by the window where the sun can shine on it. Also, don’t rest it on soft furnishings like a mattress, blanket, pillow or couch, as these materials have poor heat ventilation and can store more heat than reduce it.

Run diagnostics/Override the fans

Cool Down Reduce Heat Macbook Diagnostics

If it is a hardware issue, you can use the Apple Diagnostics tool to test it. It takes a few minutes to complete and gives a report of any issues it finds. You can also install an app like the free Macs Fan Control that lets you override the fan speed manually so they’re on full speed. This may wear them out faster, but it’s cheaper than replacing the logic board if it fails due to heat.

Clean your MacBook

Cool Down Reduce Heat Macbook Clean

You’ll need a can of compressed air and a lint-free cloth. The compressed air will blow away any gunk or debris from the cooling fan and its vents, after which you can use the cloth to wipe it away.  Also clean the back edge of the MacBook (most hot air flows out from here) to remove any obstacles to airflow. If you combine your MacBook with a keyboard and monitor, get a decent laptop cooler to avoid overheating issues.

Upgrade/Downgrade your macOS version

Cool Down Reduce Heat Macbook Updates

Many people will tell you to upgrade your MacBook to the latest version of macOS, as it comes with a performance improvement patch. This may be true for newer laptops but may not work for an old MacBook. The latest version of the OS may not be optimized for old hardware and can cause your MacBook to perform more poorly than before. If the system performs badly after you upgraded, you will be better off downgrading to the previous version that runs well on it.

Replace dead batteries

Batteries age faster than other hardware, and they are usually the main culprit when your MacBook is overheating. Try replacing the defective batteries to solve the overheating issue.

Overheating is a common problem among Mac owners. Try these general tips and see what works, and don’t use it for gaming, as it is just not suited for that.

While you are working from home, make use of these Mac tips to improve your productivity.

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One comment

  1. Replace dead batteries… Yes, that’s the reason I don’t own a Mac. Great OS accompanied by terrible corporate management. The day Apple make the decision to put user replaceable batteries in their laptops is the day that Apple might actually be adopted by businesses which are not described with the adjective “creative”.

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