MacBook Air Heat and Fan Noise Issues SOLVED

There’s been a number of complaints in forums about MacBook Air heat problems and fan noise or fan running constantly. What causes these heat issues? What’s the fix? Does it affect the i5 model as well as the more powerful i7?

This article addresses fan noise and heat issues with the current MacBook Air 2011 / 2012 models, released mid-July 2011.

Here’s a video a Mac Crazy user sent in of watching video online with his MacBook Air i5 13 inch. The fan is loud!

(Thanks to Rajulun for sharing this view with Mac Crazy – you are a star!)

MacBook Air Fan Noise

First, lets start with a bit of background of why the MacBook Air get hot and why it has a fan. The MacBook Air has one fan inside it, at least in the late-2010 & mid-2011 models. The fan’s job is to keep the MacBook Air’s chips from overheating by pushing hot air out the exhaust port. The exhaust port is behind the keyword, at the screen hinge.

The MacBook Air fan runs constantly by design. The fan runs at or above a minimum speed while the MacBook Air is running. On my late-2010 MacBook Air 11 inch, the minimum speed is 2000 revolutions per minute (rpm).

At this minimum fan speed, during use, the fan can’t be heard by most people. If you put one ear to the keyboard, you can hear the fan. Some people, in a very quiet room, with very sensitive hearing, may be able to hear the fan at the minimum speed.

When the MacBook Air is busy it generates more heat. The fan then runs faster to keep the Mac cool. At higher speeds, you can easily hear the fan.

This is a normal cause of fan noise on the MacBook Air – MacBook Air is busy, fans are keeping it cool. Fan noise is like sweating – it’s a response to strenuous activity.

Examples of activities that make the MacBook Air busier are:

  • running many apps,
  • using web sites with animation (Flash) or video,
  • playing games,
  • playing or editing video, particularly HD video

The room temperature will affect how fast the fan will need to run to keep the MacBook Air cool. In a hotter room, the fan will need to run faster.

The highest fan speed on my late-2010 MacBook Air is 6500 rpm. You can check your MacBook Air’s fan speed with the free iStat Pro dashboard widget. iStat Pro will also measure the internal temperatures of your MacBook Air.

If you have constant fan noise, and your MacBook Air is not doing heavier activities, your Mac’s System Management Controller (SMC) may be confused. You can fix this with a SMC reset.

MacBook Air Too Hot

The hottest temperature on the bottom of the case I’ve seen quoted in the press is 105F / 41C (AnandTech) and in the wild is 109F / 43C (thanks for commenting Corbin). This benchmark was running Half Life 2 Episode 2, which works both the main processor and the graphics processor – both of which generate heat. Both processors are on the same silicon chip in the new MacBook Air.

(If you have a higher MacBook Air 2012 / 2011 bottom case temperature, please take a screenshot and leave a comment below.)

If your MacBook Air is getting too hot, there are some possible fixes below.

Heat and Fan Noise: Just the MacBook Air i7, or MacBook Air i5 As Well?

The fan noise and heat issues are affecting the i5 MacBook Air as well. Complaints of the MacBook Air heating up, overheating and fan noise are not restricted to the Intel Core i7 MacBook Air. I’ve had a reader send in a video of his MacBook Air i5 with a loud fan.

MacBook Air Heat Issues and Fan Noise Causes

There are at least several possible causes for the MacBook Air high heat and noisy fan:

  1. Software functions that consistently use CPU are being used, e.g. video encoding, finding faces in iPhoto.
  2. Apps or other software running in the background is consistently consuming CPU.
  3. Adobe Flash, the technology used to deliver some animated ads in web pages and most web video is consistently using CPU. This is a specific, common case of the cause above.
  4. Software runs at startup that is not compatible with Mac OS X Lion. The software keeps trying to run and keeps falling over causing load on the CPU.
  5. The MacBook Air’s System Management Controller (SMC), responsible for controlling the fans, has become confused.

Cause #1: Software that Consistently Uses Processor

Software that is performing an activity that consistently uses can cause the MacBook Air to get very hot and the fans to run loudly. A few examples of heavy software are:

  1. Video export, encoding or format conversion (transcoding). For example, Handbrake for converting videos for display on iPhone or Apple TV.
  2. Importing photos to iPhoto or performing recognition of faces in your photo library.
  3. Playing some HD video. How much processor video playback uses depends on many factors, including video resolution (720p, 1080i, 1080p), frame rate, detail in video (bit rate), how sophisticated the encoding is (e.g. high profile), the video player used to play back the video, and how the video player is configured! Generally 720p is fine, 1080p is fine if it’s a lower bitrate Quicktime H.264 movie playing back in Quicktime, and other 1080i or 1080p (high bitrate or non-Quicktime format, e.g. MKV or AVI) will get the MacBook Air hot and fans will run.
  4. Playing web video. Web video uses Flash, and Flash video playback is less optimised than Quicktime. I’ve noticed that occasionally a web videos use several times more CPU than another at the same resolution. I suspect that is because some web videos uses formats that Flash is optimised for (probably H.264), and others use formats that aren’t optimised in Flash (probably non-H.264 Flash video ‘FLV’). I haven’t confirmed this.
  5. 3D rendering (e.g. Cinebench).
  6. Video editing and effects (e.g. Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, After Effects).
  7. Exporting a music track (mixdown), from a multi-track music project.
  8. Playing 3D games (e.g. Portal, Half Life).
  9. Running benchmarks.

If you are doing sustained processor intensive work expect it to get warm or hot and for the fan to become audible or noisy. Using either the main processor (CPU) or graphics processor (GPU) generates heat.

In these cases that MacBook Air is usually performing normally. Some of the heat is dispersed to the case, so the case feels hot. The  fan speeds up pull cool are in and push hot air out of the MacBook Air.

Cause #2: Software in the Background Consistently Consuming CPU

Every application running in the background uses power and heats up the MacBook Air. If you use less battery, your MacBook Air gets less hot. If it gets less hot, it doesn’t have to use the fan. And on the way, you might double your battery life.

You can see how much power each app is drawing, use the free software coconutBattery. To help cool down your laptop, quit background apps or pause them using the 3rd party software App Tamer.

Note that it’s not just apps running in the background that consumes power. Other background services (often called daemons) can also consume power. Mostly these are pretty efficient, but for power users, it’s worth checking.

See my article “MacBook Air Battery Life” for more info on reducing power usage and making your Mac cooler and quieter.

Cause #3: Adobe Flash Consistently Using the Processor

Flash is software that can be installed as a plugin to most web browsers, such as Safari, FireFox & Opera. Google’s Chrome browser includes Flash. Flash is mainly used to include animated and video ads in web pages, to deliver web video and provide games in webpages. Flash is not uncommon for charting. It’s also often used for entires sites for big product launches, like Hollywood movies.

Flash tends to use a lot of CPU. Most people who use Flash aren’t professional programmers, they’re usually creatives. One poorly written banner ad can swallow an entire core of your MacBook Air’s processor.

While the latest versions of Flash do some hardware acceleration for video playback, Flash still uses considerably more CPU to play video than native video players like Quicktime X.

Consider if a Flash banner ads is not visible: it’s in other browser tab, your web browser is in the background while you’re in another app (e.g. Word), or the banner is in part of the webpage that isn’t showing in the browser window. The Flash portions of webpages continue to run and consume your processor and battery even when you can’t see them.

Flash’s heavy use of CPU was running of the reasons Apple doesn’t include Flash on the iPhone or iPad, and why Flash doesn’t come preinstalled on the MacBook Air.

To minimize Flash’s grip on your processor, you have a few alternatives:

  1. Use one browser window at a time. Quit your browser when you’re not using it.
  2. Use the free software ClickToPlugin for Safari. It stops Flash automatically running; it requires you the click a Flash part of a webpage to make it run – which sometimes you do (e.g. a YouTube video).
  3. Deinstall Flash.
  4. Deinstall Flash. Use Safari without Flash. When you really need Flash, use Google Chrome instead of Safari. Chrome includes Flash built in.
  5. Use FlashFrozen ($0.99) to automatically stop Flash running in the background.

Some of these techniques can be combined. For example ClickToPlugin plus FlashFrozen.

If you watch video on websites that also have animated ads beside the video (instead of in the video), you’re getting the double penalty of Flash video plus Flash ads at the same time. ClickToPlugin might be a good option here. You can just click on the main video to enable it, and leave the ads disabled, giving you the best chance of the MacBook Air staying cool and quiet.

See “MacBook Air Battery Life 2011” for more background.

Flash seems to be the most common cause of the MacBook Air overheating and fan running fast.

Cause #4: Software Incompatible with Lion

Some software doesn’t work with Lion. If it contains software that runs in the background and restarts automatically, the software can start over and over again.

I’ve seen one case of this, when someone migrated five years of accumulated software from their old Mac to their new MacBook Air using Apple Migration Assistant. The person was very technical and fixed the broken software themselves. This may have been old HP printing software, but I haven’t confirmed this.

For the technically inclined, there wasn’t much CPU usage, but with the process continually respawning the was a high run queue for the CPU.

I’ve seen serveral cases where people an overheating MacBook Air and noisy fans ran the free Onyx utility and that fixed performance issues. Write a comment if you’d like more specifics. In none of these cases has anyone reported the root cause of the problem, but for now I’ll include these cases here.

Cause #5: System Management Confused / Needs Reset

Thanks so much to Chris posting a comment about this:

I was experiencing a similar problem on my new MBA 13″ with i7 (loud fan with nothing running), along with some other odd issues related to battery and power. System preferences (energy saver) claimed my battery was charged at 0% (though I knew that was not the case), and I couldn’t add the battery status to the menu bar (I would click that option, the menubar with reconfigure as if to accommodate the new icon, but then it would disappear). Furthermore, when plugged in to AC, I got no lights (green or orange) on the MagSafe adapter. The support page at suggested that weird battery/power issues may be solved by an SMC reset, which I did. The fans have now stopped and the other symptoms that I mentioned have also gone away. Perhaps this can help with others.

So Chris’s MacBook Air symptoms were:

  1. Loud fan with no apps running.
  2. Battery showing 0% charged in Energy Saver in System Preferences.
  3. Can’t add battery status to the menu bar.
  4. Status LED on MagSafe power connector not lighting up when plugged in.

You may not have all these symptoms.

SMC reset instructions for a MacBook Air are:

  1. Shutdown your MacBook Air (go to the Apple menu and choose “Shut Down…”).
  2. Make sure your MacBook Air has external power. Connect the power adaptor, if it isn’t already.
  3. Using the Air’s built-in keyboard (not a plug in keyboard or bluetooth keyboard), of the left hand side of the keyboard press Control-Shift-Option and on the top right of the keyboard, the power key at the same time.
  4. Release all the keys at the same time.
  5. Press the power key to start the computer.

If this fixes your issue, consider replying to Chris’s comment below with a thank you for him.

MacBook Air Fan Noise and Heat Issues Fixed?

Did this help fix your MacBook Air fan running too fast / being too loud, of being very hot? Drop me a comment and let me know what you did, and how it worked for you. Your comment, like Chris’s, may really help others, as we’re still learning which are the most common causes, and what are the best solutions.

If this article helped, please clicking +1 or Like or even better link to this page from your blog or website. It helps people find this page ahead of older, less useful webpages. (MacWorld has 41 million links – help us catch up!) Thanks for visiting!

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436 Responses to MacBook Air Heat and Fan Noise Issues SOLVED

  1. Dear Apple says:

    I was bit afraid of head and noise to I got 13″ i5 and everything is fine. Recommended.

  2. Stefan Rosenlund Nielsen says:

    I’m experiencing this exact problem! My fan is extremely noisy eventough i’m not really doing anything on my machine. My old Macbook Air (model before the newest 2011 MBA) was just fine, but my new i5 is noisy as hell – even with no CPU usage? What’s going on?

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      For an explanation, see my article “MacBook Air Battery Life”.


      • Robson says:

        I’m having this problem too. Sometimes the CPU temp goes high, and the fan kicks in at maximum speed, although there is nothing running (99-100% idle in iStat). When this happens, I simply put it to sleep and wake it, and the problem goes away.

        Maybe it’s related to bad graphics driver (since both the GPU and CPU share the same package)?

        • Gsus says:

          I had the same Issue… thing was that… I had my macbook to boot on 32Bit (I changed it because I needed some program to run)… Did the change (hold 6 and 4 on startup) and voila! sound, heat, everything gone!!!

          • tim backman says:

            i also had the same problem. fan would kick in 6500rpm and my i5 mba would get pretty hot. activity log showed not much activity at all but istat was showing 25% on idle. i downloaded apptamer as recommended above and it turns out i had a samsung kies app background running at 90%. stopped it and mba is running perfect back to standard 2000rpm and 50 degrees. i recommend trying the app 🙂 thanks

          • Tasman Hayes says:

            Thanks Tim for letting us know how you fixed your MacBook Air getting hot. 🙂


  3. Alex says:

    Hi Tasman!

    Thanks for the writeup and the article. I experience good battery life as far as i can tell. But then, when it’s really quiet I can hear the Air’s fan slightly. It’s running on constant speed and it does not depend on the work I do. F.i. you can also hear it right after a longer period of sleep and it stays like that when not doing something demanding.
    Still even if it’s only noticeable when the surrounding is very calm, I want to know if you can approve it’s normal.
    Thx, Alex

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      Thanks for your question.
      I will investigate for you!



    • Tasman Hayes says:


      I’ve added a section “MacBook Air Fan Noise” at the top of the article to answer your question.

      Let me know whether that satisfies you.



      • Alex says:

        Hi Tasman,
        … definitely! (got your e-mail).
        I’m now convinced my fan is in proper condition. As you described it can be heard just slightly in a fully silent environment. What more, that some low “tickling” noises can also be heard near the keyboard, this is due to interference noise from the electronics as I found somewhere on the internet. So, no mechanical problems, everything seems in tolerance and I don’t want to miss my MBA! Btw, I’m using smcFanControl to monitor my fan and temperature, it’s a very lightweight program compared to iStats. And also free. Cheers!

      • Steve says:

        Taz –
        I’ve had the noise problem a couple of times and the control+shift+option+power procedure has resolved it both times. Thanks for this site and your suggestions. A great resource for sure.
        Peace, Steve

      • Gary says:

        I tried apptamer and found an HP Shortcut manager running. Clicked it off and almost instantly the fan slowed down. Amazing. Thanks for the suggestion.

      • Bill Deakin says:

        Shift control option power worked perfectly.
        So glad I found your article.
        Macbook air isn’t cheap, should not have to waste an hour sorting it out. Apple, huh!

  4. Chris says:

    I was experiencing a similar problem on my new MBA 13″ with i7 (loud fan with nothing running), along with some other odd issues related to battery and power. System preferences (energy saver) claimed my battery was charged at 0% (though I knew that was not the case), and I couldn’t add the battery status to the menu bar (I would click that option, the menubar with reconfigure as if to accommodate the new icon, but then it would disappear). Furthermore, when plugged in to AC, I got no lights (green or orange) on the MagSafe adapter. The support page at suggested that weird battery/power issues may be solved by an SMC reset, which I did. The fans have now stopped and the other symptoms that I mentioned have also gone away. Perhaps this can help with others.

  5. Noe says:

    Hey Taz,

    I just instaled FlashFrozen on my Macbook air and it works great. I was thinking of instaling ClickToPlugin next. My question is; do you have this program and how does it work for you?

  6. Stu Farnham says:

    I’ve tried all of the above w/o success.

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      Could you give a bit of background on your problem?

      11 or 13 inch MacAir? i5 or i7? Fan noise or heat problem? What apps are you running when you get the problem? Using the Activity Monitor app in the Utilities folder how much CPU usage is shown when you get the problem. If you open the Terminal app and run the command “uptime”, what are the results (it will show the run queue on the CPU, which will help catch rarer issues).


  7. damian says:

    Thanks a lot. I solved the issue simply. I closed Tweetdeck and the noise went away!! ufff…now my MBA is lovely again!


  8. Nebojsa says:

    If you’re having problem with new MBA (july 2011) and you’ve installed Plex media player, uninstall it. I’ve solved my problem that way. Media server consumes more than 100% of CPU (100,7% to be specific). fan speed was constantly around 6500 rpm, after unistall 1900 rpm.


  9. Adam says:

    For me the issue has been that the CPU temp has been around 80°C even though the CPU load has been around 3-5%.

    It started after the latest software update that contained both firmware upgrades and Thunderbolt Display firmware (which I also use).

    I have just reset SMC, and so far it seems to have done the trick.

  10. Raymond says:

    I have a MacBook Air 11″ 2011 model i5 Processor. My MacBook Air’s fan starts being noisy after maybe about one hour of use so I want to know if this is normal… I don’t use many apps or programs and i use something called AdBlock that blocks out ads so i don’t think i use much of the flash thing….

  11. Grahame says:

    I too had this problem on my new Macbook Air 13 and I fixed it by resetting the SMC (although I found the instructions elsewhere). Also I downloaded stat pro which gives a lot of useful info. My fan was running at 4000 revs, now after the fix it runs at 2000 and the systems are much cooler!


  12. Grant says:

    Another Satisfied customer:-) Thanks for the article. I had the same irritation, and this worked a treat.

  13. John Hughes says:

    I went out and spent $1300+ on a 2011 MacBook Air 4GB i5.
    Guess what…

    I cant even watch ONE youtube video without the gd fan kicking in. Tried resetting and so on but still…fan comes on like I am doing a video render. Gotta be kidding me..
    Is this a joke?
    I miss my old PC!

  14. Steve Tinter says:

    Fantastic and easy fix!!!! Thanks so much.

  15. Jimmy says:

    Thank you for the tip. This worked perfectly on my MBA 2011 13″ i7.

    Before the SMC reset the temperature was at least 70C, which caused the fan to be quite noisy at above 4000 RPMs, despite the CPU utilization being very close to zero. After the SMC reset the temperature dropped to 50C – 60C and the fan is back down to silent 2000 RPMs.

    Btw. I use smcFanControl to monitor temperature and RPMs.

    Thanks again!

  16. Thanks Chris. Your fix worked perfectly! 🙂 s

  17. kapil chadha says:


    Please Note My Name is Kapil Chadha, Vice President (Aditya Birla Group) and have more than 5 gadgets of Apple namely (Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, Iphone-4, I-pad, I-Pod) and many others.

    Recently, on 20th August, 2011 , I purchased the Macbook Air from (Receipt No. 4602, Vendor: Imagine Store, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India) and since the time of purchase the Macbook Air HAS been a GREAT PROBLEM and None the Centres in NEW DELHI, INDIA, NCR REgion are capable of giving the SErvice and as such the I have not been able to USE THE machine properly.

    Centre Visited for Resolving the Issues:

    a. UC Infosystems Pvt. Ltd., Naraina, New Delhi (Reason given: Downloading Speed: Very Slow and there is no alternative to download O/S LION)

    b. MAC clinic Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi (IRRESPONSIBLE AND MISBEHAVIOR) from ONE of the staff and as such commented that WE ARE USELESS CUSTOMER and keep on PESTORING for issues: This is Inspite of submitting the macihne on 10th october, 2011 and enquired on 20th october, 2011.

    IF this is the attitude of the APPLE then I think I have made a MISTAKE in buying all APPLE products and spending huge amount of money.

    At some Point of time we thought of Introducing / Replacing all the Laptop/Desktop of our Group Company with Apple approximate work stations i.e. 5000.

    BUT Now, due such gross MISBEHAVIOUR and UNPROFESSIONAL approach from your INDIAN counterpart I am forced to Re-think as my personal experience for the last 2 months has been dismal.

    Least of all NO one from Apple India has contacted for Solution, it is us who are forced to call repeateadly and keep on chasing for help.

    Please take note of above.

    Kapil Chadha
    Vice President
    Ultratech Cement Limited
    (Aditya Birla Group)
    New Delhi
    Ph: 00 91 11 4357 3203
    Ph: 00 91 11 2331 5003
    Mobile: 9911517444

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      I’ve sorry to hear you’ve had issues with your MacBook Air.

      I understand it can be extremely upsetting when:

      1. You spend a lot of money on a new laptop.
      2. It doesn’t work properly for you.
      3. Nobody resolves your issues.

      What exactly are the issues you are having with your Mac Book Air? Is your MBA responding slowly, getting hot, or the fan running all the time? Or it is something else?


  18. ayush says:

    i decided to buy macbook air 11″ i5 model but want to sure…….is it able to run autocad software perfectly???

  19. Bryan says:

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the detailed post, but unfortunately nothing worked in my case so far…

    I have an MBA 11″ (late 2010) with the following problem: the fan (and most likely the processor) is still running when the computer goes on sleep mode. If I close the lid, or put it on sleep via the “power menu”, the fan will keep running, and my MBA will still be warm (not burning hot, just normally warm), even after hours (which seems to indicate that the processor is still running as well).

    I sent the computer for service (it is still on warranty), they changed the logic board (mother board), but it came back with the same problem (!), which makes me think it must be software related… However my problem occurs even when all applications are shut down…

    Any thought on that problem?

    Also, I had one question regarding the reset of the SMC: I tried it out, but how can I be sure that it actually happened? I mean, basically there was nothing displayed, or the led on the magsafe did not do anything specific, so I don’t know if I didn’t do it right (thus if I should have noticed something happening) or if it is just the way it is… Anyone who did the operation could help on that?

    Thank you for your help :)!

  20. Juhani says:

    I had constant problems with heating with a 2009 Air (13″). Because of SSD failure after a year, I got myself a 2010 Air 11″. I NEVER had any problems with that, and remember only 2-3 times I could hear the fan, when in super high load.

    A few weeks ago I finally fed up with the small screen and decided to upgrade to the new 13″ (i5). Unfortunately, the heating problem is back.

    This is especially evident when watching movies. The fan runs very fast and is very loud. I never had this problem with the 11″ on similar usage. CPU is burning at 75-78C and fan yells at 5500-6300 RPM.

    Obviously, I’m quiet surprised and disappointed :-/

  21. Raymond says:

    Thanks. The SMC reset fixed my noisy MBA 13 (2011)!

  22. MBA says:

    I have a new Mac Air, 11 inch- i5. When I’m about 15-20 min into watching a movie the fan starts and I can hear it and so can neighbouring people. I bought the MBA because I thought it would be different from my old PC, which did the same thing… I’m kind of regretting spending all this money :S
    Is there a fix for my problem?? Please help .

  23. Fausto says:

    so: if the fan is the temperature is 55, the fan speed is 1800 and the fan be clearly heard with a loud ticking sound, which didn’t happen before, is this a mechanical problem? What to do in this case?

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      I assume your temperature is in degrees celsius, and is measured from the sensor on the bottom of the MacBook Air case. i.e. Your MacBook Air is hot to touch. I’ll also assume you have a mid-2011 model MacBook Air.

      55 C is the highest case temperature I’ve seen reported for a MacBook Air 2011, yet your fan speed is relatively low. (It should be able to clear 6000 rpm.)

      The “loud ticking sound” is probably not good. The only component besides the fan that I think of that would be making a sound is the speakers, and that’s fairly unlikely. (In older Macs, a failing hard drive could make a ticking sound, but the MacBook Air has flash storage – no moving parts.)

      It sounds like your fan’s bearing may have failed, and it can’t spin up to high speeds.

      I’d pop into a friendly Apple dealer, and ask if a technician can have a quick listen to it.

      If you have a new MacBook Air, the repair will be covered by warranty.

      Let me know what you find out.


      • jenny says:

        i am not sure if this help but my labtop sound worse than others and what i did was pull-out the battery and just use the AC to the wall sounds Great!
        and now i will try your ctrl+alt+shift+command key.

  24. Alex says:

    I sold my 2011 Macbook Air and the issue went away. 🙂

  25. Thomas says:

    I don’t really care about the fan noise but the heat is definitely worrying. My new 2011 mba i5 gets up to 100 -105 degrees celsius while dvd authoring in windows 7 and only using about 50% of the cpu!
    In osx my fans stay at around 2000rpm until it gets up to 90c when they go a little faster to get it down to 80 when doing general web browsing and email. It seems the fans kick in too late and so in Lion I use smc fan control to keep them at 4000rpm all the time to keep it at a reasonable temperature. I have yet to find a fan control for windows 7 though.
    Guess Ill have to get a cooling pad if I want to do intensive tasks, or replace my macbook air with a windows laptop. Who’d of thought a £1000+ laptop would only have a stable temp while doing simple tasks!

  26. Alexander says:

    Silverlight like flash is a video hog. a 1080p video in quicktime does not even push the video card but even a 480p MS Silverlight and the fan is blasting. CPU usage is mostly about 10 percent but the video is a whole different matter. Netflix is one of those sights where any video will hog the video card and crack up the fan to keep the i5 in my case from over heating.

  27. James says:

    I actually figured out by reading the manual that if you are foolish enough to install a keyboard cover to try and protect the keyboard from dirt and dust you are in trouble. The gaps in the keyboard keys are integral to cooling the macbook air. If you leave those keys covered with plastic, no air gets in and the device will struggle with heat.

    It is pretty irritating that companies are selling keyboard covers specifically for the macbook air that should not be sold.

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      This is an absolutely awesome tip! Thanks for sharing it.

      I had a silicon keyboard cover myself on my last white MacBook to keyboard clean.

      I’ve always wondered why Apple leave an exaggerated gap around their keys for both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. (Their wired and wireless keyboards are the same style.)

      The keys are literally above the key holes. The gap is big enough for some stuff to get in.

      Now it makes sense – heat / hot air can escape through the gaps. Brilliant!

      Thanks James!


    • Rob says:

      I was going to share the exact same tip! Due to overheating I lost the GDD on my MacBook Air 1st gen. Every time I see someone using those plastic cover I tell them how bad it is for the computer!

  28. Kevio says:

    My 2011 MBA does this when I play video from sites like for any length of time. It approaches 200 degrees fahrenheit and the fan goes crazy. It does the same thing if I run After Effects on it. I would have just bought the MBP for less money if I had known about this issue. None of the solutions in this thread helped. Apple needs to resolve it though. I’m considering taking it back when the new ones come out early next year and demanding a replacement.

  29. Aunbearkeley says:

    MBA was overheating. Computer locked up with screen blacked out and fan still running continuously. I couldn’t get screen to turn on. Reset solution worked. Thanks. Thank goodness I found this using my iPad.

  30. Sam Fifer says:

    Used your SMC reset method for interrupting fan noise on previously roaring 13″ i5 (late Summer 2011) MBA; worked great. Thanks!

  31. Paul Chen says:

    i did the ctrl+shift+option shut down and it worked for me, thanks mate!

  32. Marc says:

    I have a new mid 2011 MBA i7 SDD 13″. After a few months(since a few days) i have the following problem: fan speed goes immediately to 6500 upon starting the MBA. Temp is OK at 36°C.
    There should be no special software running in background. SMC reset does not help, even though tried repetitively and correctly (color of charging light changed).

    any good ideas? thanks.

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      For comparison to your situation: I’m writing this reply on a completely new MacBook Air 11 inch 1.6GHz i5 with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. The only software I’ve installed is Flash. In Activity Monitor, I’ve got 2.65GB of memory free. I’ve just got Safari running, with three tabs open – one tab on Gmail, and two with WordPress (website management). Gmail and WordPress have a fair bit of JavaScript code that they download into the web browser. In Activity Monitor, my % User CPU is 0.25%, % System CPU is 0.25%, and % Idle CPU is 99.5%.

      The most relevant stat in what you said is your % System CPU being at 80%. System CPU is the time your CPU is busy executing system calls in the Mac operating system. If your Mac Air is consistently staying with that high System CPU usage, that means your CPU is almost completely busy doing something, and the fan is needed to stop the CPU from getting hot.

      The big question here is what is your MacAir actually doing to eat all that CPU? It sounds like when you startup, there’s some software, maybe a background process, that’s very busy. Luckily, we can find out what software process in guzzling all this CPU. Start the Activity Monitor app, which is in the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder. It shows a list of processes. There’s a column that says “% CPU”. By clicking that column heading, ensure that column is sorted by descending CPU used (i.e. biggest % CPU number at the top). Is there a process (or processes) consuming a lot of CPU? (e.g. 80%) What’s the process name?

      Let us know what you find Marc.


  33. Marc says:

    btw: mac activity control says 15% inactive, 5% user, 80% system (too much???)
    2 Gigs of memory free.

  34. Marc says:

    Hi Taz, thank you for your long comment: funny thing is: no special processes consuming the cpu???? prices with most CPU load is the activity monitor constantly with less than 5%…
    and: my wife used it and after surfing slowly around the internet, everything went smooth, no cpu load, o fan noise…after closing the MBA and opening it again: same sh**t ,-)
    can there be any programs consuming cpu load or system activity without raising temp and without being shown in activity monitor?
    best whishes

  35. Marc says:

    more information that may be relevant: MBA is already very slow during booting (despite SSD)…any processes that load very early? or maybe hardware defect?


    • Tasman Hayes says:


      Can I confirm: At the time the fan is running loudly, the % System CPU is above 80%, and – at the same time – there is no process taking above 5% CPU. (That is Activity Monitor.)

      If so, and given you’ve correctly applied an SMC reset, perhaps try running the Onyx utility:

      I just ran a bunch of stuff from Onyx (the permissions stuff, the monthly, weekly, daily, scripts), gave my system a reboot

      I don’t know why, but Onyx seems to clear some people’s issues with battery life and slow shutdown, so there’s a possibility it will work for your case.

      Let me know what you find Marc.


      • Marc says:

        Update: Took my MBA to the MacStore: Checked it up: several hardware errors in special apple test software…MBA is currently under repair: exchange of IO Board and Logic Board did not cure the Problem…Will keep you updated.
        Just good that I still have my old MBA ,-)

      • Tasman Hayes says:

        Thanks for keeping us updated Marc! It will be helpful to others with the same problem.

        • Marc says:

          OK… changing the display module finally fixed the problem…got my MBA back and now everything is fine again…It seemed to had something to do with the isight cam: when they connected it the fan went up again…i don’t know why this should make sense…but display change solved the prob.

  36. jjan says:

    Wow, thanks for the fix to a problem that was making me extremely dislike my new MacBook Air 13″. Whenever I played Netflix the fan drowned out most of the sound. When I closed Netflix it stopped. I followed your instructions for the simple reset and I am a happy Netflix watcher again. I really had nothing else running of any significance.

  37. Buchet says:

    I have the MacBook Air 11″ 2011 model with i7 Processor. I thought the fan was running a little fast and loud and so I found your info via google search. I first installed Flash Frozen but that didn’t seem to change much. I have a friend who has the 13 inch and was experiencing the same and she went so far as to send it back and get a replacement. I couldn’t stand the idea of being without what I think is a great notebook and so I tried the SMC reset you suggested and it calmed the fan to at most a whisper. Thank-you!

  38. Ian says:

    New 13″ air… VERY hot and noisy fan… 2hrs max battery. SMC Reset you suggested seemed to do the trick Thx.

  39. Anthony Lua says:

    Hi Chris

    Thanks. Your solution of Ctrl-Shift-Option and Power at the same time works!!! Simple and elegant solution. Thanks a million.

  40. Craso says:

    Thank you Chris. Your SMC reset tip did if for me. I had the problem on a new MBA 13 i7 out of the box. The fan ran at full speed as soon as it was connected to the charger, and no program running.

    Have a great 2012.

    Greetings from Norway


  41. Mir says:

    I’ve had the sound problem a couple of times and the control+shift+option+power procedure has resolved it, but now the sound is turn off, when I turn bluetooth on the sound is turn on but not working.

    now I don’t no what to do.


  42. Dan Arnold says:

    Thanks Chris. The SMC reset worked for me. In addition to the fan running constantly and at top speed, the keyboard was not illuminated and the illumination keys had no effect. After the reset. Everything is back to normal.

  43. Jairo Leiva says:

    Thanks Chris. The SMC reset worked for me. Macbook air I7

    life is better now…

    Thanks again

  44. Peter says:

    Resetting the SMC solved the loud and constant fan noise on my 2011 MBA 13″ i5. You’re a genius. Thanks!

  45. Valdy Gravis says:

    Thanks Chris, I was having issues with fan noise on mid 2011 MacBook Air, but only when connected to Thunderbolt display. SMC reset has fixed this. Just one thing to add: It didn’t work the first time. Some additional Googling suggested waiting 5 seconds between steps 4 and 5. That did the job.

    1. Shutdown your MacBook Air (go to the Apple menu and choose “Shut Down…”).
    2. Make sure your MacBook Air has external power. Connect the power adaptor, if it isn’t already.
    3. Using the Air’s built-in keyboard (not a plug in keyboard or bluetooth keyboard), of the left hand side of the keyboard press Control-Shift-Option and on the top right of the keyboard, the power key at the same time.
    4. Release all the keys at the same time.
    5. Press the power key to start the computer.

  46. clary pippin says:

    Thank you! Resetting the SMC worked! I am forever grateful to people such as yourself for sharing your technical proficiency. Especially when I think back to 1997 and my first iMac, purchased while living in the southeast, where only a handful of people were proficient; one, to be exact.

  47. Nancy says:

    I used your advice for resetting the SMC and it solved the problem. I, too, am grateful to those of you sharing your knowledge so that others can solve their problems successfully. Thank you so much.

  48. abhishek says:

    i have a macbook air 2011, 13 inch model and i bought it 6 weeks ago.,,
    now problem is that magsafe works only one time a day…and for limited time,,every day it works for few hours and then stops working and will not works till next day, i tried your above solution but that doesn’t work for me.
    please suggest a solution because i live too far from apple care center.

  49. Ludvig Petri says:

    Thanks a lot, the reset worked perfectly. Does any one know why the SMC error appear?

  50. Ramky says:


    I have Mac Book Air 13″. Yesterday i tried to import video and audio files from my iphone 4s to my mac book air 13″ .. after that my mac book is very very slow (you can say it is almost dead) and FAN is very very noisy ….

  51. Barbara says:

    Thank you!!! The reset quieted my MacBook Air’s fan. Maybe it will also help the sluggishness I’ve seen lately.

  52. Jacques says:

    Rebout SMC reset did the job! Running from 6450rpm to normal 2000rpm. It’s so silent now. Thanks 😉

  53. Reuben says:

    Hi – I haven’t read the other comments however i found that there was a process running flat out. I found it by installing stat (as recommended by this site) and then was able to close it using ‘Activity Monitor’ The program was KeisWifi (or something like that – Which was software for my samsung phone which didn’t work anyway). As soon as i killed that app the fan speed dropped from 5700rpm to just under 2000rpm.

  54. payam says:

    Many thanks. This helped my computer too. It is ok now.

  55. Brian says:

    This is a great article! I have been encountering issues with iPhoto and Flash, and now I know how to address the problem. Thanks for the tips! BTW, I love iStat!

  56. Dave says:

    thanks a million. I thought ” O no” when I heard the fan as loud as a office air con. Fixed just like you said.
    Cheers again

  57. Dr Borgharkar says:

    dear chris:

    i was having the same problem with my mac air, and i got the problem solved with you tip. thanks once again.


  58. omer says:

    amazing it works! (the smc reset thing). 2 wks old 2011 Air (13″). fan was spinning like crazy omitting jet engine sound 😉 smc reset and it’s silent as a cat on the prowl. thx!

  59. Logan says:

    Having huge issues. My CPU temp is at 191 F and that is just with no Flash, 4 Safari tabs open.

  60. hum says:

    Hi I just purchased my macbook 13′ and it runs on i5 and i was importing photos on iphoto around 4000. When suddenly the there was a loud noise and I got freaked out.
    I was recommended to buy the mac.

  61. Peter Flaschner says:

    It worked! Thanks so much for the SMC tip.

  62. Daniel says:

    Hey, just a thanks. I have an Old Macbook Pro 17″ (Dual Intel). The fan started roaring like a jet tonight for the first time ever. Terrified me. Your trick worked and I have no idea why.

    Thanks so much!

  63. Eight says:

    I’m facing the problem with loud fan (6500rpm) only when I connect my MBA 13″ i5 to my Thunderbolt Display. Is that normal and does somebody experience the same problem? Thank you!

    • JimF says:

      I also get the fan running irrespective of CPU temp or indicated CPU load when connected to a TB display. This is occurs on both Core i7 and Core i5 13″ MBA.
      It does not do this when running untethered. The SMC reset made no difference.

      • Eight says:

        so do you consider that as normal behavior, or do you also believe, that something is wrong? What is the max rpm your MBA reaches (istats widget)? tks

  64. dom says:

    The SMC reset solved it.

  65. GREG C says:

    I just switched from a Lennovo to MabBook Air and this loud fan issue was driving me CRAZY. I installed the AppTamer and it is FANTASTIC. I am a heavy user of the computer for work and it is so quiet now.

    Major appreciation for sites like this.

  66. Greg says:

    Worked for mw with my 2011 11″ MBA.


  67. Molly says:

    Tasman, you might be my new favorite person. I was able to clear an old printer queue which helped immensely. I’ve been watching my CPU and fan speeds speed up with flash, but that resolves itself once I stop doing what I was doing. As long as my fan is under 3000 it doesn’t make audible noise. The one thing that stays high is my memory. Is that just because I have a lot saved? or is it something else?

    I also sent my computer back and they replaced the fan and logic board… I’m so frustrated with this! My father’s MBA is about two months older than mine and his NEVER has this issue. It seems totally arbitrary.

  68. Cindy Bell-Deane says:

    worked for me on brand new 13.3 I5 macbook air!!! I was ready to bring it back and I had not even finished set up when the fan jammed on full tilt!!! Silent and sweet now and I can even press near the power cord with out a repeat issue!!! So glad to find this 411!!! As I bought the Macbook out of town and was not looking forward to a repeat trip!

  69. Deborah Rutter says:

    SO quiet now…it worked! This is why I love my Mac…smart, engaged users willing to help out. You are the best!

  70. andy says:

    Thaks a lot. Worked for my MacBook Pro

  71. Sam says:

    I was getting loud and high RPM fan noise, trial and error found the culprit–EVERNOTE! I now keep it closed unless I need to look at it, problem solved.

  72. Tina says:

    Thanks so much! Thought I was gonna lose my mind. Plus I think it was cutting my battery life in half. What a life saver! XOXO

  73. liz says:

    Many thanks for the SMC tip and the anti flash plug in. I’ve always loathed flash sites (in both senses of the word) and now I can control them 🙂

  74. Saif says:


    I have a 13″ MacBook Air i7 (Mid 2011 model), and I use Parallels Desktop quite frequently. I run AutoDesk Revit Architecture and while rendering, I was shocked to see the temperature rise to 94 degrees celsius. In a crazy frenzy, I downloaded a program called smsFanControl, and set the fan so it runs at 6500rpm non-stop. (This is while takes about 1hour for each render). The thing is, the fan was already running at max speed, and so the temperature stayed the same.

    After reading that you had never seen a temperature of greater than 50 degrees Celsius on a MBA, should I be concerned about my Mac? I tried removing the keyboard protector that I have on, and after testing it thoroughly, I found that it does not have an impact at all on the temperature, occasionally the temperature would rise by about 1 degrees.

    Do you have any suggestions for other ways to keep the Air cool, as conventional cooling pads don’t work on Macs?

    Thanks a lot in advance 🙂


  75. Azmir says:

    When I play Minecraft ( a java game ) it makes a lot of noise.
    Is there anything to stop the noise ( it is very hard to look through all of your writing because it takes too much time, sorry!) Please tell me something to get rid of the noise!

  76. Azmir says:

    wait what worked?

  77. Doug Smooke says:

    Wow! Thank you! Hope it lasts! Had no clue what was going on– I’m not a gamer and don’t have a lot of intensive apps running

  78. JP Rosensweig says:

    yes, it worked. thank you very much!

  79. I use external monitor, KB, and mouse. Sometimes it sound much and sometime it does not. Sometime i see it does not understand the external monitor correctly. For 2nd problem when I touch the mac keyboard then it accepts both monitor at the same time. the 2nd problem can be solved by plugin mouse and keyboard first then monitor.

  80. Jinju Ha says:

    I recently bought a, MBA 13″ i7. I recently noticed that the fan was getting really, really loud. Considering that this thing is still new, I wasn’t willing to fork over more money to fix a broken fan. So I did what everyone does, when they don’t want to go to a doctor–I went to Google.

    When I stumbled upon your article, the first suggestion “running too many apps” made me laugh (and roll my eyes), but I checked my apps to see what was running anyways. I was shocked to discover that 12 different apps were running, including photoshop (with 1/2 dozen projects in progress) and games I had started, paused and forgotten. I started shutting programs down and my Mac started getting quieter and quieter.
    Yeah! The problem has been solved!

    But now that everything is back and healthy again I have stumbled upon a new problem. There is positively nothing to do when all the apps have been shut down. 🙂

    Thank you so much for the awesome article. It sure saved me a pretty penny.

  81. Crystle says:

    Have used this twice and it works well. I clocked 6519rpm (!!!) beforehand! Back down to the 2900s after SMC reset. Cheers

  82. Colin says:

    If you are having this problem and are using a Thunderbolt Display, Apple released a Thunderbolt firmware update (1.1) that addresses the fan noise issue:

  83. Sam says:

    Update–I blamed Evernote unfairly. The culprit was the new version of Google Chrome. Switched to Firefox and no issues.

  84. mark says:

    41ºC is not hot for a computer. You say that’s the hottest it got but that’s pretty cool for the bottom of a lap top.

  85. Heatwave says:

    I have a 13″ MBA i7 replaced a 15″ MBP. Currently I’m running TWO applications: Chrome and Apple Mail. Seems that my fan has decided to kick in and is now running at 6067 rpm and climbing. CPU temp is 76 degrees Celcius and flipping back it tells me that the CPU is 99% idle.

    Yes, your fix works to stop it temporarily but every three/four days it happens again. What is going on??!? Should I be calling AppleCare? Should I take this back? I’ve only had it for a little over a month!

  86. Toli says:

    I have MBA 13″ … press: Control-Shift-Option and on the top right of the keyboard, the power key at the same time. and problem resolved .
    THX … THX … THX … THX … THX … THX …

  87. ryan cameron says:

    interesting article, but its frustrating to see the continued spread of ignorance about flash. Yes, some stuff written in flash is poorly done, but most major applications that use flash are no worse than any other app. I personally have written flash apps that are both very sophisticated and use little if any CPU.

    Blame bad programmers and discourage people from visiting poorly coded sites, sure, but flash is no more to blame than any other technology, and in fact, to provide the same functionality, nothing is as efficient of an animation engine that provides discreetly addressable animated art objects and sound tracks than flash. The flash hating is just as stupid as telling people to stop using electricity because a few bad electricians are out there.

  88. LukaszK says:

    MBA 11, i5 2012 here. Seems it helped! Thank you very much , great tip.

  89. David says:

    Was having CPU temp around 160 degrees Fahrenheit and fan speed around 5000 RPM. Manually put the MBA to sleep. When I woke it, CPU temp is ~120 degrees Fahrenheit and fan speed is around 2000 RPM.

  90. Reginald says:

    Hello Chris, thanks a lot for your advice. It accurately helped a great deal.

  91. Oscar Estrada says:

    Thank you so much. You were right with this procedure. My MBA11.6 now works without that funny fan noise and temperature feeling on keyboard has gone down.

  92. deanna maich says:

    thanks that simple ‘control option shift’ worked – i downloaded your widjet and was at 6000 rpm and now a healthy 2000rmp. cheers – no loud, hot puter now:)

  93. Diana says:

    Thanx Tasman, my MBA fan was very loud and it was not charging. The fan was running at full speed the moment I turn on the computer even before the OS kicks in. Now it is all quiet again. Greatly appreciated.

  94. Ted says:

    Hi, and thanks for the solution, which worked perfectly to quiet my otherwise problem-free MBA.

  95. Eric says:

    Shift-control-option worked perfectly! Thank you so much. I love my Air again!!

  96. Pingback: Rant My Macbook Pro Has Built in Turbine!

  97. Jack says:

    SMC reset fixed the noisy fan! Thanks for the tip.

  98. Hart says:

    Hi, thanks a lot for this helpful information, recently I bought a Macbook Air 13″ and this amazing tips are great, after this Macbook Air I had a Macbook Pro 2006 I never heard his fan to loud like the Macbook Air, so I afraid about it and think my Macbook Air was crazy or had some problems, but with this information calm me, really thanks and I’ll share with other that have this problems.

    Best regards.

  99. Mimi Rounds says:

    I was getting ready to call my computer expert @ $100/hour when I found your info on fan noise and heat. Now, my macbook air is silently happy, and, thanks to you and Chris, I saved a lot of frustration and money!



  100. Aisha says:

    Hey thank you so much, i was so scared i broke my MacBook.

  101. Pingback: Disable Flash is the answer to my heat problem | Pelayaran di Alam Maya

  102. lorna says:

    i did that too, it will work for a while then fan noise keeps on coming back. what option can you suggest. i called apple last time he suggested me to the same thing plus i think shift + ctrl+option + if i remeber it right the letter r or t in the keyboard on your one hand and hld the p and shutdown altogether., it works too, but the fan noise comes back again after watching video.

  103. Matt says:

    I reset my energy saver preferences to defaults for both the battery and the power adapter and that fixed the problem right away. Hope this can help someone.

  104. Jmak says:

    ::MY PROBLEM SOLVED:: “Hidden Apps Using Large CPU %”

    I had all the same symptoms as listed in the article. However, after following some of the recommended solutions, my fan was still working hard, which in turn, drained my battery very quickly.

    I had hidden apps running in the background using upwards of 90% of my CPU usage. These running apps are hidden and do not show when pressing “cmd + tab”.

    – Do a spotlight search (cmd + spacebar)
    – Search for the pre-loaded (native) Apple app “Activity Monitor”
    – Look down the column of “% CPU” and seek out any apps that are using a high volume and close accordingly.
    – Subsequently, you will see a drop in fan speed (and in turn, fan noises) within a matter of minutes.

  105. Sully says:

    Thank u so much Chris! Although mine is a MacBook Pro, ur trick worked!!
    thanks for sharing the love 😉 no more noisy fan for me!!

  106. Devi says:

    thanks, this trick worked for me and my macbook air is now quiet again! I was worried I had broken it after only a couple months ownership

  107. Ken says:

    For the person who started the chat thread on this and all those who have also added some really constructive support, thank you!!! I recently purchased an i7 Mac Air. I really love it but this was becoming a big issue shortly after buying the device. The SMC reboot, adding the plugin to block Adobe flash and SMC fan control have together fixed my problem. I now have an acceptable battery life and a very cool running machine again. All while using Parallels XP running, SAP Client, word, excel and Powerpoint loaded as a test. The basic machine is excellent, I have no doubt Apple will keep patching software updates to fine tune this little 11″ i& hot rod.

    My own findings:
    SMC Fan Control: helps with a cool user friendly indicator on the top menu bar to tell how the PC is running, no different to the gauges on your car, its great!! no risk to the Machine with this, well designed and cold never comprise the PC’s integrity

    Click to plugin: This has for sure stopped making the web browser with all the junk out there that advertisers want to annoy you with.

    SMC Reboot: No doubt about it, the machine was confused about something and it all has calmed down. I was using the sleep mode after a heavy download via bluetooth. I am certain there was some residual memory buffering / CPU issues that the machine could not break out of. The blower dryer and memory got stuck in serious stress mode!

    thankyou, happy Mac Booker!

  108. Saya says:

    OMG it seems to be working! You rock! thanks for that. I hope it lasts~

  109. says:

    Thank you so much Chris !!!!!

  110. Pete says:

    thanks so much. this fixed my problem. I can hear myself think now and hoping my battery charge issue will be fixed also.
    Why isn’t aren’t the geniuses in Cupertino fixing this issue is the real question?

  111. Maria says:

    Thanks! i went to see a Mac technician and he didn’t know what was going on and I just did what you recommended and the problem stopped!! Thanks so much!

  112. Vu Vo says:

    Thanks a million. It fixed my 2012 Pro 13 fan problem.

  113. tasytrn says:

    Thank you very much for the most useful post of the month! My CPU temperature was around 70’C and the fan RPM was around 5000, but after the SMC reset the temperature of the CPU dropped to 40’C and RPM of the fan is about 1900. A huge change! Will share to all of my MBA friends. THX

  114. Kai says:

    My fan was going crazy too and the issue was that a process called AGAdminService was using up to 100% CPU. I found out in that this is a Citrix service. I did have Citrix installed but uninstalled it a while ago, so no idea why it was still there. I ran the following command in Terminal
    sudo launchctl unload -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.citrix.agadminservice.plist
    which solved my issue immediately. Peace and quiet at last …

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      Thanks for taking the time to write up your solution to Citrix using 100% CPU.
      I’m sure it will be of help to people.


    • JP says:

      I also had the same Citrix issue and it was doing the same thing. I used the same code and it instantly solved the problem. No more burning MBA with a deafening fan that reminds me of my ASUS days (and I shudder at the thought)…

  115. dante says:

    wow that really worked my battery now has 8 hours left and only 63 % charged!

  116. Ian says:

    Thanks for really interesting and helpful postings! I wonder if I may pose a question to you too? My MacBook Pro (2.66 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB HD, OSX Lion 10.7.4) started to be very hot and noisy (fan) immediately after I installed the Microsoft Office for Mac Service Pack 2 (14.2) update specifically whenever I ran Outlook, despite no problem with Outlook prior to this. The CPU activity showed that Outlook was using approx. 90% of CPU. After 5 days I removed MS Office completely and reinstalled it without updating to SP2 and everything was fine again. Then some days later, when the fix was released for SP2 (14.2.1), I again installed it, and then the problem of excessive noise and overheating has resumed. Then, to my dismay, my MBP stopped working altogether – Apple Support advised me to return it to the dealer, who found that a cable to the hard-disk was burned out — they replaced it within a day and I got my MBP back intact. I tried your suggestion for a SMC reset, but the CPU hyperactivity, the overheating, and the noisy fan persist whenever I try to run Outlook (not otherwise). I would be so grateful for any help — can you advise me?

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Hi Ian,

      I’ve put some suggestions for you in a new article: Mac Outlook High CPU Usage.


      • Ian says:

        Hi Tasman,
        Many, many thanks for your amazingly thoughtful and detailed reply, full of helpful suggestions! I showed your posting to our university IT people and they were highly impressed too.
        In fact I had already updated to 14.2.2 (and it didn’t make any difference), and had earlier tried uninstalling “Office for Mac 2011” then reinstalling without SP2 (which worked until I waited for the 14.2.2 “fix” and I tried afresh!). In reply to your questions: I acquired this MacBook Pro almost 2 years ago, and I upgraded to Lion, and I did have Office 2008 previously. My email account is a standard Exchange one for this university (most people use PCs, not Mac). Today, I tried your various suggested fixes, lastly creating a completely new user account … but the computer immediately had high CPU use, started overheating and getting noisy … so I’m back to square one 🙁 … and now I begin to think the best option is probably, as you suggest, to switch to Apple Mail and get used to it! I will try a little longer, if you think of any other possible solutions, but otherwise give up on Outlook.
        Many thanks again, Ian

  117. Kathy says:

    Hi Taz,

    Will the SMC reset work on my macbook pro? The fan makes a really loud noise and CPU temp jumps to 88 even when I only have 2 apps open – mac mail and chrome. I’m guessing it’s the shockwave flash that’s causing this. Help?

  118. Corey says:

    So let me get this straight… Apple produces a computer that can’t handle multiple applications at one time, and that the Airs have a documented over-heating problem that leads to the computer freezing up… but somehow it is the software companies’ fault and not Apple??

    Riiiiight… Apple should produce a computer that 1) doesn’t overheat, 2) can handle multiple threads, and 3) support that actually solves problems instead always blaming 3rd parties for their obvious design faults.

    I’ve had constant over-heating problems with my MBA, and I think it is a terrible product if this is known behavior that has yet to be resolved by Apple.


  119. Martin says:

    I couldn’t hear the fan on the video cause my fan was so loud

  120. Matt says:

    Thanks for the SMC reset suggestion…worked like a charm!

  121. Matthew says:

    Worked perfectly! Thanks!

  122. Pieter J. says:

    Hi, it did what you told me (install the iStat Pro wigget to monitor what I was hearing) and indeed, my fan was running 6500+. I did the SMC-reset and it all came down, the noise that is. The fan now runs at 2000 and a bit rpm’s so that is inaudible.
    I wonder … how come my iPad, on which one can seriously practice multitasking, how come an iPad doesn’t heat up like this MacBook Air does?
    Any way … thanks a bundle for the rescue 😉


    • Tasman Hayes says:


      Glad it worked!

      The iPad doesn’t heat up as much for a couple of reasons:

      1. The iPad uses a slower, lower power processor which disappates less heat.
      2. The iPad descends from the iPhone, as device designed from the ground up for good battery life. The Mac operating system and Mac apps were designed in an environment when battery life is often an afterthought. The iPad’s operating system, iOS, was designed for good battery life. Since iPad’s are usually used without being plugged in, most iPad application developers are aware of and fix issues that would cause a strong battery drain.
      3. Multitasking is deliberately limited by Apple on the iPad & iPhone. The operations apps can do in the background are limited, for example to using the GPS or streaming radio. Otherwise when you switch to another app on iOS, the app you are using is completely stopped, so it uses no power. On Macs, when you switch to another app, the current app continues to run, using CPU, which uses power.

      Hope that answers your question!



      • Pieter J. says:

        Thanks Tas!

      • Pieter J. says:

        Hey Tas,
        I’d like to ad an experience: first you learned me to perform an smc-reset and I THOUGT the fan-noise was over. Unfortunately this was not the case. Though I was only running Pages, the fan reached top speeds of 6500 rpm+ and the cpu-temp reached 91 degr Celcius. So there had to be something causing this.
        I downloaded a trial version of AppTamer and right away the prulprit was found: KIES, the Samsung-software to backup, synchronize and update my Galaxy S phone was topping the list with a cpu usage of 139% (how is that possible?! 😉 and caused all the heat. I was so happy with this solution I bought AppTamer immediately for $14.- 🙂 Don’t understand why Apple doesn’t put something similar on your MBA.
        Okat, so App Tamer did the work, thanks to this discussion.

  123. Art says:

    I have a i5 Air. It made a lot of noise and heat. Activity Monitor showed me that Samsung Kies was causing the problem. After uninstalling Kies everything went back to normal.

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      Samsung Kies on Mac is an utility to sync between the Mac and your Samsung mobile over WiFi, right?

      I’m sure this will help others whose MacBook Air fan & heat issues are being caused by Samsung Kies.

      Thanks for taking the time to share.


  124. Gillian says:

    Thank you so much. I’ll doing an MBA and at my PC constantly. The heat of the macbook air and the noise of the fan was doing my head in and now you’ve resolved it for me with pushing 4 buttons. Thank you so much.

    Regards from Ireland.


  125. Ro says:

    Hi, thanks a lot for the tips above. I had a question if it is possible for the MBA to overheat completely? I am playing some games which make the fan start up and MBA gets very hot, I was wondering if there was a danger of playing too long and this possibly causing permanent damage to the computer? Or is there some sort of fail safe that the MBA will turn off before permanent damage is caused from excessive heat? Thanks.

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      There are failsafes to stop heat damage to your MacBook Air, but it is possible for the failsafes themselves to fail.

      I can’t remember specifically if a current model 2011/2102 MacBook Air has been cooked, but MacBook Pros certainly have. (In the case I’m thinking of MacBook Pro that was upgraded to Mac OS X Lion.)

      I wouldn’t worry about normal operation. When your playing games, you expect the MacBook Air to get really hot, because both the CPU and the graphics chip (which are now on the same silicon chip) are both getting worked hard.

      Cooking your MacBook Air is more likely to happen if your MacBook Air is constantly, inappropriately hot. For example, if you boot your MacBook Air, are running nothing heavy and it’s getting really hot, try the fixes on this site. If it still stays really hot, take it in for service.

      Hope this helps,

  126. Linda says:

    Big thanks to Chris, the reset instructions took care of my fan/heat problem – Macbook Air 2011

  127. Lena says:

    Thanks to Chris and SMC reset, my fan ain’t making those noises anymore! Yay 😀

  128. Esther says:

    Dear Chris, Thank you so much for sharing this, the SMC reset completely solved my problems!

  129. PurePleX says:

    Thank you (SMC reset)! The constant-on-fan-issue disappeared and the power adaptor light now goes on and battery status displayed in menu bar.

    Thank you!

  130. red says:


    Thats freaky, i almost didn’t try it wondering how in the hell that would fix the problem. Its crazy i had another 11″ that got stolen back in last november and i replace it with the newest version in january. lately i have noticed when i sit i my chair my legs getting hot as hell, and i could hear the fan running. i was like wtf is going on here, for the life of me i could never remember hearing my old one ever make noise or hear the fan and I’ve been noticing it a lot lately, and it was VERY hot to the touch on the bottom of computer which was starting to concern me. when i read about the max fan speed, i installed the widget you recommended and mine was running at 6490 so i knew something was up, i don’t do gaming or run any thing other than email and web browsing and some spreadsheets. However you figured that out is beyond me, but just in the time i read some of the responses and have typed this my laptop has completely cooled off and in 10 minutes the fan has stayed quiet. Crazy stuff, thanks for the post and the info. That fan running at that speed was crushing my battery lately….ive been thinking i needed to take to apple shop…..thanks buddy !! CHEERS !!! – RED

  131. red says:

    when i first restarted i checked the widget and fan was still running at 3500 which beats the hell outta 6500, and i could hear it when i put it up to my ear, but now its running at like 1990 and can’t hear a thing, I’m guessing after restart it was running at 3500 to get rid of the excess heat (it took about 10 minutes to cool down to normal)…….dang dude, your the man !!! glad i read about this before i came home and found my computer in a little puddle of molten icons………… VE GITZ !!!

  132. Ellen says:

    Thanks so much for this post! My mac just spent 2 weeks in a shop here in Turkey and was returned with a ‘nothing wrong’ prognosis. But the fan was still blowing like crazy and everything was running so slow. My son back in the states found this tip and sent me the link. In 30 seconds my problems were solved!

  133. Nathan Grafton says:

    Big thanks to you for this article. I had tried everything (including smc reset). After reading I installed app tamer, and what do you know?
    Samsung kies wifi agent. I knew the mac version of keis had always been pretty shocking piece of software (as anything Apple seems to write for the pc!), but I didn’t realise it was that bad.

    Thanks to you, everything is whisper quiet again.

    Cheers again!

  134. randy says:

    Hi, just thought i’d contribute my 2 cents worth… There appears to be an easier/faster way to do a SMC reset, do the exact same thing (press shift control option together with the power button) without the power cord plugged in. and then switch it back on. seems to work fine. But i still have problems with the overall battery life, despite uninstalling flash. But since the SMC reset seems to work, i guess it’s ok….

  135. D Blan says:

    SMC reset was a lifesaver thank you very much

  136. Claudia says:

    I have the noise problem from time to time and every time the SMC reset solves the issue! Thanks for posting the solution Chris!

  137. Wojtek says:

    Anybody experiencing heat problems while using Skype or Youtube? I’ve got a MBA 2011 13” i5 and the max temperature achieved was 90 degrees Celsius – the fan started to run at 6500 rpm, loud as a small jet…

    • Bart Bartlett says:

      Yes, yes, yes! It was Skype for me. I paused it using App Tamer and my Macbook Air 2011 13″ quickly got much quieter…

      Great article! Thanks for writing it.

  138. jeeves says:

    I am wondering why my dock was using 95% of my CPU when all that was open was microsoft word and a couple web browsers, including this page. After going to activity monitor I saw this abnormally high CPU usage and promptly quit the Dock. The computer stopped heating and the fan went off nearly right after.

    Please tell me what is going on.


    • Tasman Hayes says:


      I don’t know why your dock is using 95% of your CPU.
      I haven’t heard of this one before.

      If it happens again, let me know, and we’ll start your Mac in safe mode to see if that stops it.


  139. Huzaifa says:

    Excellent fix for the Macbook Air fan noise as it was really getting irritating.

    After the SMC it dropped from 6000 to 2000 rpm

    Thanks a lot.

  140. Chris says:

    The fan is not running now with only safari. Both was running constantly. Hopefully I will not have a heat problem. I have noticed that this new Mac Book Air is cooler than my previous Mac Book Pro. With the improved capability of the Air 8 GB Ram and 512 Flash storage, I am not sure about the market for the Mac Book Pro. My critical need is the 8 GB Ram since 4 GB Ram does not meet my needs. In addition I have noticed that the impact of the flash is faster. Thanks for the reset information.

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Thanks for sharing Chris. The MacBook Pro still have it’s place: for example, it’s suitable for people you want a built in DVD drive, high performance graphics or a FireWire port.

  141. Bit says:

    I tried to watch the video but couldn’t hear it over the noise from the fan on my MacBook air.

  142. Michel says:

    Also Valid for the brand new MBA 2012 i7
    It was so noisy (fan @ 6500 rpm) continuously from the first minute I used it.

    Thank you so much !!!

  143. Agnes says:

    Hi! I’ve been trying to reset my SMC but every time I push down on the left Control-Shift-Option and the power key at the same time, the Macbook just turns on, and the fan continues to make lots of noise. Isn’t it supposed to stay turned off until I press the power key again? Am I doing something wrong?

  144. FatherTed says:


    I have a weird problem on 2011 MBA. Nothing much is running (CPU 1-2%) but fan is at 6500 rpm permanently. SMC reset does nothing. Used to run perfectly. Also recently was in a heat wave, but now temps on the machine are very cool — not much heat at all. And recently processor was overheated (@300%) with a process running in a loop — a kext meant as a safety measure for overheating, that I stopped. Then all went back to normal except the fan.

    Thanks for any advice!

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Father Ted,

      I’d check two things:

      First, do you have any fan control software running? Fan control software can pin the minimum fan speed up higher, as high as 6500rpm.

      Secondly, did you bring over any old software to your MBA? Some pre OS X Lion software, such as HP printer drivers, tries to keep starting again and again and fails. The Mac shows low CPU, but the process starting and failing repeatedly does load up the Mac.

      Does you Mac go straight to 6500rpm at boot, or does it take awhile?


    • Agnes says:

      I have the same problem, and the SMC reset is not working for me.

  145. Nicole says:

    Thanks for sharing Chris. I have the noise problem for awhile now and this reset solves the problem. Thanks again!

  146. Jim Zubrowski says:

    Resetting the SMC fixed this exact issue. Thanks!

  147. Jason Barretto says:

    Awsome Chris thank you.

    Have a MBA 13.3 with i7 and it was fnoisy. I turned it off and after awhile it returns.

    After the control shift option power release it now runs at less than 2000 rpm 1996 rpm


  148. Ekke says:

    What a relief to my ears – thank you so much! The guy at the Apple Genius Bar didn’t have a clue and instead was making comments about the amount of my system add-ons. Boy, am I glad I found your site!

  149. Martin says:

    Hi Tas,
    First of all thank you for this forum and for posting your solution.
    I am experiencing heat and noisy fan issues with my brand new MBA 2012 i7 8gb RAM. I only seem to have the problem when using Skype or FaceTime. I’ve tried the SMC reset but it didn’t solve it. Fan goes up to 6500rpm with approximately 75% idle CPU. Do you think this is normal or should I take it to the store?


  150. Molly says:

    Every time my computer starts making bad noises, I come back here to make sure I’m following all the right steps. Usually, I’m not. I’ve found App Tamer to be a godsend. My dad was commenting on how loud my MBA was, I installed App Tamer and it quieted right down. I also find that sometimes I forget I have netflix or some other needy website running in another tab, and that tends to make the fan work harder. Closed out of Netflix and it quieted right down again! Thanks for the awesome advice!

  151. SMC reset stopped the spinning fan on my MacBook Air 11″ i7! Thanks for the instruction. (Also, it magically freed up about 7GB of “hard drive” space (technically Flash disk).)

  152. Anthony Stone says:

    My fan was on constantly and the battery life had fallen to 2 hrs on a full charge. I followed the prompts and low and behold the fan noise has completely disappeared and the battery life has shot back up to over 6 hours. Fantastic! I am now wandering whether it could overheat. If so how do I switch the fan back on?

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Anthony, the fan should come back on when needed automatically. If you put your ear to the MacBook Air, you may be able to hear that the fan is in fact running all the time, just more slowly. -Taz.

  153. James says:

    I noticed my macbook air was consistently hot. This only recently started happening. I first attributed it to being summer and perhaps being warmer. I was able to disprove this when I noticed my air was still hot when I was in a temperature controlled data center in a cool zone. The one thing that I had recently changed to my Macbook air was installing Motorola Motocast for my Android phone. I decided to stop the running service and immediately my air got cooler. I have since uninstalled the Motocast application as I very rarely use it anyhow. I can completely understand the Macbook Air getting hot if running Diablo, WoW or a Windows virtual machine… but the machine should not be hot when it is virtually idle. Long story short… look at the services running on the top bar and if you don’t need them get rid of them.

  154. Rog says:

    Fixed my MacBook Air continuous fan noise by un-installing Samsung Kies, as suggested in one of the posts above. Great help , many thanks.

  155. Prashant says:

    Firstly thanks to Chris and Tasman for this useful tips. I tried everything in your post, but unfortunately it didn’t work for me in Mac Book Air 13” i5.

    So I googled a bit more and the reason for the issue on my Mac was due to “Send to Kindle” app. Because of this app the bash process (checked via App Tamer) was occupying 21.5 % of constant CPU Use, causing the temperature to go upto 80 degrees centigrade for the CPU and the fanspeed to go upto 6000 RPM. I uninstalled this app and immediately the Temperature came down to 49 degrees centigrade and the Fan Speed under 2000 RPM.

    The post that helped find this issue was

    I hope this helps others.

  156. Irene says:

    I have an MB Air Mid 2011 and I started getting problems with the fan after some month. It was running all the time…
    You mentioned the Tool Onyx… I de-installed it because I needed a password for it to run… I was using Iceclean instead.
    Today I wanted to compare these two tools, re-installed Onyx… Well, I got only 2GB more space back – but: My fan doesn’t bother me anymore…. I have 9 open browser windows, I’m watching a vid… And no fan noise…

  157. Herman says:

    Thanks Chris. That worked perfectly. I appreciate it!

  158. El says:

    Thanks so much for recommending App Tamer – this resolved my issue. My fan noise was driving me nuts! All resolved now.

  159. Judy says:

    Attached is screen shot. Not sure which temperature is significant, Will try resetting the SMC

  160. Judy says:

    Sorry – couldn’t work out how to add screen shot.

  161. Shazz says:

    Silence, finally! Thanks! xoxo

  162. Jon says:

    Man, I’ve tried all of this now. Only seems to be getting worse. Fan is running almost as soon as I start up now. iStatPro is showing the CPU temp of 73 degrees (F? No idea). I ran all of the Onyx services. No positive difference — honestly may be worse. Mac OS 10.6.8 for my little MacBook Air.

    Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

    • Jon says:

      Whoa, I was wrong. That temperature was Celsius. My CPU is currently running at 162 Fahrenheit. Fan is running at 5607 rpm. This… is bad, right?

    • Tasman Hayes says:


      Sorry to hear you haven’t had a win yet.
      73 degrees celcius isn’t that bad, and 5607rpm is in the normal range of fan operation.
      The fan always runs – it’s just at lower speeds it’s hard to hear.

      When did you buy your MacBook Air? (What model is it?)
      What’s the temperature of the room you’re in?
      What is your MacBook Air sitting on?
      Is there anything blocking the air vent under the screen at the back of the MacBook Air?

      It sounds like you have some software using CPU that runs everytime you start your Mac.

      To find it:
      Run Activity Monitor.
      Sort by the CPU column.
      What Apps are using the most CPU, and what percentage?


    • Tasman Hayes says:


      In the linked image, it shows 37 degrees celcius on the bottom of your MacBook Air case. The maximum temperature I’ve seen, reported in this article. is 41 degrees celcius.

      Nice try, but no cigar. 😀


  163. Heatwave says:

    I’m sorry. But if we’re still having to reset anything to stop fan noise, the issue is not solved (by Apple).

  164. Corbin says:

    Hey Tas, just wanted to show you this, I let it cool off for about 5 minutes before taking this picture (since I didn’t have the status widget and had to download it first) after playing Limbo for about 20 minutes.

  165. Beth says:

    That helped! Thank you. Still happens now and then but today didn’t turn off, was in my bag for 8 hours and was very hot. Wouldn’t turn off or on but fan was running. Was able to plug it in and get it going. Immediately cool and quiet!

  166. azadeh says:

    Dear Tasman,
    I have a mac book air 13″ was bought in middle of 2011.I had the problem of noisy and high speed fan even when i dont work with several programs simultaneously .seems the fan running in depends on processors situation.
    i entered to monitoring menu and found that one program “(for me was: adobe synchronizing),The program occupied 80% of cpu even no work with programs .in result , any work /open any program could lead to speeding fan!in monitoring section quite the “program with high occupation on CPU” the fan noise gradually will less and stop!thank you for your support and attention.

  167. . . . this fixed my issue! Thanks Chris! After trying a NVRAM reset with no success I got pretty worried . . . thanks for posting the fix

  168. Bernard says:

    Hi Tasman
    I have the same problem with my Mac Mini. I swap my original 5400 HDD to a Seagate Momentus XT. Took care with the 2 heat sensors (checked with a magnifier) Checked the fan too. Yesterday i removed the battery. At the first reboot the fan speed decreased and return to full speed. From the time i swapped the HDD my fan blows at full speed. The last thing i did’nt made is to switch back to the original HDD. I look to order a replacement fan too… any idea?
    The SMC reset seems to do nothing in my case… (very obscur processus i think)
    Can you tell me the RIGHT way please?

  169. Kim says:


    Have similar issues but different results to SMC reset.

    My MBA 2011 13″ i5 has its fans running at >6500rpm, when cpu temp is <35 and <5% activity. I just turned on without any apps running. Not Charging sign and neither green nor amber light on adapter. Tried plugging off for a bit as well. After SMC reset, problem continues.

    Have a thesis to submit in hours and hoping something simple other than SMC could help? Pressed control shift option with power button several times before turning on yet no signs of repair.

    Please any wise words?


    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Hi Kim,

      That is strange.
      Your CPU temperature is nice and cool, you’re not pushing the CPU, you’ve done an SMC reset, and still the fan is running at maximum speed.

      Wise words: Plug in some noise isolating headphones and listen to some great Bach? 😀

      Try starting the Mac in safe mode (push power button, then hold down SHIFT), and see if it still happens.
      Safe mode will prevent any startup items from running.

      Failing that, you could try resetting your PRAM.
      Disclaimer: I have never had to do this to my own MacBook Airs.

      1. Shutdown your MacBook Air.
      2. Push the MacBook Air’s power button.
      3. Hold down the Command-Option-P-R keys. For this to work, you must press this key combination before the grey screen appears.
      4. Hold these keys until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for a second time.

      Let me know how you go.


  170. Cesar Trujillo says:


    Thanks a lot for the SMC reset solution to stop the MacBook Air fan from, running constantly at high speeds. It had become like Chinese Torture for me. It now runs at a very low speed and is almost inaudible.

    You are a genius….

    Thanks again for sharing.

  171. Olga says:

    The system management controller was clearly confused and now it is not!
    Thanks for the tip.

  172. Calvin says:

    Thanks I talked to our tech people and many others. Such a simple fix fo my fan problem
    Thanks again

  173. BEK says:

    SMC reset has worked for me so thanks for the tip. However, I also wanted to add the iStat Pro dashboard widget you referenced. I went to their site but when I started the download, Trend Micro Smart Surfing for Mac declared it to be Dangerous and blocked it. I know I can override this and install it, but wanted to know if you have any advice here.


  174. Danny says:

    Hi Tasman,
    I have MBA 13″ and the noisy fan was really frustrating.
    Downloaded iStat and AppTamer, like Tim Backman the culprit for me was Samsung Kies Wifi Agent, the fan speed immediately went back to normal (barely audible 2000rpm).
    Thanks for your helpful article!

  175. Misty says:

    Wow, thanks for the SMC reset tip! That was just the fix I needed, and it worked perfectly and immediately!

  176. shiba says:

    Hi tas thanx for the smc reset.but in my case it was only partially in my mba just wouldn’t come on and the fans were constantly roaring.after the reset it switched on only uptill the point of the apple sign.
    Helllllllp pleeeeeeease. As there is no apple store here.

  177. Claudio Scazzocchio says:

    Thanks, it works!! (for the time being), the noise was so loud that it was impossible to use the computer. It disappeared on its own, it started again. Rang the Apple service, they told me a few other manoeuvres pressing several keys different from the simple one suggested by Chris. No joy. A couple of hours later, switched on again NO NOISE! I used the computer for a few hours, no problem. Next time I switched it on, terrible noise again. Tried what is suggested by Chris and it stopped straight out!!!! Lets see if the noise starts again next time, and if the trick always works. Will let you know!!!! And many thank, many thanks.

  178. glenn says:

    Thanks a million Chris

  179. Michelle says:

    SMC reset fixed it! , for 2 minutes… let me try the others..

  180. Chris says:

    Thank you so much!!! So far, so good.

  181. Martin says:

    The “Cause #5: System Management Confused / Needs Reset” solution worked perfectly!

    Easiest tip ever! Thank you so much!

  182. Mariana says:


  183. Caroline says:

    Thank you for this advice. Issues with. Battery and noisy fan were resolved immediately

  184. Kina says:

    Thank you so much for your feedback, I had the same problem with my fan running like crazy with no applications open or videos in the background. The ctrl-option-shift-power button method worked. I was going crazy with the noise!!! Thank you for your solution to this problem, I have a MacBook Air I bought in Oct 2011.

  185. Nora Mantell says:

    Your solution to my Macbook Air’s suddenly noisy fan worked like a charm. Thank you, Chris!

  186. Sandra says:

    Thanks so much for this information. It was very useful to understand why the fan gets so loud with my fairly new (May 2012) i5 MacBook Air. I tried most suggestions and they seemed to work although as soon as I’m running a few applications at the same time, the fan just gets going, which at least now I know why. I tried App Tamer and it worked fairly ok, although I was wondering if you knew of any freeware version of it.
    Thank you!

  187. Priscilla says:

    Thank you So much for this! After watching a movie for about 45 minutes, the fan noise was loud like crazy. The battery percentage wouldn’t show and i couldn’t even charge my computer. Thank you so so much!

  188. George says:

    Thank you very much Chris. My 2012MBA began making loud fan noises about 3 weeks ago after being on for 15 / 20 minutes and surfing the web and checking email. Now it is real quiet again. THANK YOU!!

  189. seth says:

    Hi I tried the SMC reset a couple of time. It seems to work for a day or so but then it starts up again. Any suggesetions?

  190. George says:

    My 2012 Macbook Air is noisy again — the fan’s come on after 25 minutes of being on an surfing the web

  191. Graeme says:

    Thanks – that fixed a very loud fan – no other symptoms at all.

  192. Michael says:

    worked perfect! thank you

  193. Gary says:

    My 2012 MacBook Air fan was running continuously. Chris fix worked. THANK YOU!

  194. I have an i5 Air, and I started getting high fan rates – an extremely noisy fan at high speed indefinitely. I tried Chris’s tip about resetting the SMC, and it worked for 15 minutes or so, then the fan went crazy again.

    I finally isolated the problem to It was stuck indexing files, and the %CPU usage in Activity Monitor was hovering around 102%. Unlinking / relinking Dropbox seems to have solved the issue (after successfully syncing, now only uses around 3.5% CPU).

  195. Sammylou07 says:

    If you use google chrome, install the extension ‘AdBlock’ then you won’t get those annoying animated ads, and they won’t be using up all your CPU 🙂 – some video websites will make you disable it once in a while to watch videos, but it’s better than having to watch a tonne of ads on youtube/catch up services, and having banners on every website permanently!

  196. Rohit Sharma says:

    Thank You very much for this post !! It really helps me a lot.

  197. George says:

    Thanks Chris, The SMC worked perfect , great ! My macbook air doesn’t have the fan loudness anymore .

  198. Rita says:

    Thank you Chris 🙂 This issue happened to my father-in-law’s Macbook Air while my daughter was borrowing it while she was in for a long hospital stay. She used it to play games, but mostly watched episodes of Sailor Moon *groan, poor Mom had to listen to it*

    I was really worried that we toasted Dad’s laptop, not good :/

    But your very simple trick of pressing the shift+control+options key at the same time as the power key, worked like a charm 😀

    Really saved my butt big time.

    Thank you.

  199. RR says:

    SMC reset worked on my 15 MBA – one year old Dec 2012, thanks so much. The fan issue had just started, twice in one day when I found this tip !!

  200. Neen says:

    I’ve had heat marks on my legs for days !!!
    This was an instant fix…thank you sooo much for sharing.

  201. Jgroot says:

    My MB Air was on a Flash-induced heat-and-fan-craze. Everything seems back to normal now. And I did it without breaking anything (by the look of it). Highly recommended!

  202. Karen a says:

    Thanks so much, smc reset worked. Awesome thanks mate!

  203. Lili C Sanchez says:

    This really helped! My MacBook Air was overheating and the fan was really loud. I had various apps open, including Adobe flash player, and the fan was really loud. My screen and keyboard froze and I closed my laptop. When I opened it, the power key wouldn’t respond, so I followed the instructions provided on this site and it fixed my problem! Thank you.

  204. Jenny says:

    Thank you so much!!!!

  205. firez17 says:

    Thanks dude..u r marvellous

  206. tina says:

    yayyyy control shift option power and letting go at the same time worked ! thanks so much

  207. Mohamad Hesham says:

    Thanks a Lot. this was a fantastic tip!!

    the MBA is now quite like a baby and heat is decreased.

  208. Tom says:

    Thanks so much for this article! I had fan noise early on in my MacBook Air’s life and I’d disabled flash from running automatically in my browser, which had helped.

    But over the last few months, the fan noise had been starting to come back. Last night, the fan just kept running at around 6500rpm regardless of how many applications I had open. I ran the Activity Monitor to see what were the CPU-hungry apps and java was using over 100% of CPU, which was weird – over 100%?!

    I saw your article and decided to download and run Onyx. It detected that I needed to run Disk Utility to repair my HDD. So I did and now the fan noise has stopped.

  209. Tom says:

    PS I’d also tried a SMC reset and that hadn’t worked.

  210. Tom says:

    I spoke too soon. Running Disk Utility to do a disk repair worked for a while but the problem returned. I tried everything: SMC reset, downloaded latest Mac OS update, reduced the items to open at login to a minimum, NVRAM reset, turned off Time Machine auto back-ups, stopped using the smcFanControl app and more.

    I then discovered that the problem stops if I turn off wifi. I thought back to the Java load on my CPU and isolated the problem to running backups on CrashPlan, my cloud-based back-up service. If I run a CrashPlan back-up, the problem returns within minutes with the fan running at over 6000 rpm and the CPU temp at around 84 C.

    I went to the CrashPlan support forums and ended up downloading the latest Java release. This seems to have fixed the problem (fingers-crossed). I can still run CrashPlan backups and the fan is a little under 2000 rpm, the CPU temp at 65 C and the java CPU load is in the single digits.

  211. Nathan says:

    The SMC reset seems to have solved the constant fan activity on my late 2011 13″ MacBook Air. Thanks!

    • Nathan says:

      So as a follow up, the SMC reset was only a temporary fix. It turns out that I had an application running constantly in the background. Once I pulled up the Activity Monitor app, I quickly realized it was using 92% of my CPU. After removing the app, my fan speed slowed down to normal within 30 seconds.

      Finally, I believe the problem has been solved.

  212. Bill says:

    Thanks a lot. The SMC fix got rid of the windstorm from my fan!

  213. zachtimms says:

    Very helpful tip to make the fan run slower. I had nothing open but the fan kept running as if I was live streaming a HD video. It is fixed now, but is this a one-time process, or will it need to be done regularly?

  214. Ian says:

    Hi Tasman,

    FINALLY … A SOLUTION!!! But a very mysterious one!

    Almost a year ago, on May 16th 2012, I asked you about the problem of my MacBook Pro 13″ overheating, which happened following the update of Microsoft Outlook for Mac. We had several exchanges subsequently, also with many suggestions from kind people, but unfortunately none of them actually helped.

    Finally I have stumbled on a “solution” inadvertently. Our university wished for colleagues to use Outlook to share calendar information … so I tried switching back from Apple Mail, and immediately the CPU activity increased drastically and the computer started to heat. But then I shared my Outlook calendar with a colleague and instantly the CPU activity dropped … and for the past two weeks my CPU activity has been very low, and there has been no overheating! I informed the university computer section and the Apple dealer here, and they were glad to hear it but had not the slightest inkling as to why this should have solved the problem!

    Best wishes, Ian

  215. f says:


  216. Lea says:

    Yep. It worked. Thank you!

  217. Josh says:

    SMC reset worked like a charm on my mid 2011 Macbook Air – 1.8GHz i7

  218. Joe Szostak says:

    I have got a 2007 MacBook running Snow Leopard. I’ve read everything I could find regarding the fan issue, but nothing seems to address my problem.

    My fan seeds have been reset in the bios by a tech to come on almost immediately at high speeds. (He did this to keep the machine cool after the logic board when out and he fixed it by remelting the solder around the video chip. He is now unreachable).

    Now I can find no way to return the Mac to the original defaults. No fan control program I’ve tried works because they seem to only allow for more cooling, not less. A SMC reset didn’t help. Would anyone have ideas? Thanks

  219. Pietro says:

    Hi guys. Thanks for this amazingly helpful post.

    I found, with the help provided here, that a Samsung Mobile service was causing my 2011 13′ Macbook Air to overheat. It also drained my battery life, that is currently at 75%. The service was provided with my Galaxy Note, and it’s called Samsung Kies Wifi or something like that.

    If you have Kies on your computer, you may want to stop it on your Activity Monitor and uninstall Kies software. My cooler is running at 1/3 speed that was required when Kies was running, now that I removed it.

    Thanks again for the help, and I hope if someone is having the same problem I had can fix it as well.

  220. Joyce says:

    Thanks so much! SMC reset worked on MacBook air running Windows 7 under bootcamp. Thank you SO MUCH!

  221. MelD says:

    Another mid-2011 Macbook Air rescued by SMC reset – thanks, Chris!
    (also encouraged me to actually check my battery saving status… ;o)

  222. Pratik says:

    Thanks – its been a few minutes and the SMC reset seems to have worked

  223. Maniyeri says:

    It did work Tasman!! Thanks a ton 🙂


  224. Mongyan says:

    Dear Chris,
    Thank you so much for sharing, I just tried and it seems worked, at least no fan sound for now, thanks soooo much!!

  225. Renata says:

    Thank you very much for the help. Totally worked 😉 Deeply appreciate it!

  226. rj yj says:

    Thanks for the help. I was able to fix the fan issue I had with my macbook air, by simply following the instructions on this site…Thanks again!

  227. Samantha says:

    Helped!!! Thank you very much 🙂

  228. Jason says:

    Hey, thanks for sharing how to reset the SMC! You saved my hearing and nerves from going over this issue.

    (Why is this reset not widely known? We have three other MacBooks in the office with the same issue.)


  229. Dale says:

    SMC reset was the answer for me. I SO appreciate your help!

  230. Bianca says:

    THANK YOU MUCH!!!!!! I though my daughter had done something to my macbook air and i was going crazy. Followed your steps and the fan noise is totally gone silent as it was.

  231. Ekow says:

    I did the SMC Reset for my macbook pro retina 13″ (Yosemite) and I think it solved the problem. I am running within 2000 rpm. I hope it is better and does not go back to the same old problem.


  232. Kenny says:

    Chris, Thanks so much , it was a perfect fix!


  233. RACHEL EAST says:

    My fan is blowing and it’s loud. I tried to shut it down and re start it twice. It also won’t charge for some reason

  234. Kofi says:

    Thank You very much

  235. Pretesh says:

    I can’t thank you enough for putting up this comprehensive information online!
    Awesome and a Big Thank you. I feel My MAC is back to being the nice quite one!
    I Removed Adobe Flash, the noise of Fan + Heat reduced by Half
    I did the SMC reset, and the Noise is almost ZERO!! and heat is very very LOW.


  236. Cathy says:

    Thanks! This worked great. No more loud air sounds!

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