Are you frustrated with the noise coming from your MacBook Air fan? There are several reasons why your MacBook air is making these noises. Often, it can be easily fixed. But it might also require some specialized hardware or software information to keep this from happening again in the future.
In this article, we break down the most common fan noise problems, their causes, and what you can do about them.
Reasons Why Is Your MacBook Air Making A Fan Noise
There could be multiple reasons why your MacBook Air fan is making noise. Here are a few of the most common scenarios.
Your MacBook Air Has Dust Buildup Inside Its Case
Your MacBook Air has a fan that is designed to cool off its internal components. This fan will spin up when your CPU and GPU are working hard.
The fan will also spin up whenever the temperature inside the laptop gets too hot. Sometimes, though, you might hear this fan even though you’re not putting it through its paces.
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The fan inside your Mac is designed to pull air in through the bottom of the laptop and push it out through the side or back.
If there’s dust buildup in your Mac’s vents, there won’t be enough airflow to cool down the machine and keep its components operating at an acceptable temperature.
When this happens, the computer will spin up the fans to full speed, which can create a lot of noise.
Dust buildup inside your laptop case can block airflow and cause your laptop to overheat, forcing its fans to run more loudly than they should.
To clean dust out of your MacBook follow these steps:
- First, shut down the computer and unplug it.
- Then flip the laptop over and remove any screws on its underside that would allow you to remove the bottom panel of its case.
- Remove the panel and use gentle blasts of compressed air to clean dust out of your laptop.
- You’ll want to be careful not to damage any components with the air, so don’t push too hard.
If your MacBook Air is old enough that its fan has been running for years, it could be wearing out — at least, if it’s a mechanical fan. If this is happening, you may hear a grinding or clicking noise along with the loud fan noise as parts in.
Your MacBook Air Is Getting Hot & The Fans Are Trying To Cool It Down
When your Mac gets too hot, the fans try to cool it down and make their presence known. If this is the case, then turning down the heat inside the Mac should have a direct correlation with how loud the fan noise is.
If your MacBook Air is making fan noise, then there might be something wrong with it or it may just be the fans spinning up because it’s overheating.
The best thing to do is to keep an eye on your MacBook Air and see if you can correlate any particular task with the fan noise. If you can, then you know what’s causing it to get hot. If not, then there may be something more serious happening with your computer’s hardware or software.
How to Fix MacBook Air Making A Loud Fan Noise?
Here are some steps you can take to fix the loud fan noise problem on your MacBook Air.
1) Reset SMC settings
- First, shut down your MacBook and plug it into your charger.
- Press the Shift-Control-Option keys on the left side of the keyboard and then hold down the power button as well.
- Hold all of these buttons for 10 seconds and then release them at the same time.
- Then press the power button to turn on your MacBook.
Reset SMC settings if your fan is still noisy after a soft reset.
2) Free Up Some Space on Your MacBook Air
The first thing to do whenever your computer is acting up is to free up some space on your hard drive. You can check the available storage capacity by clicking on the Apple icon and selecting ‘About This Mac’.
Next, check for any software updates that may be available for your version of macOS. You can do this by clicking on the Apple icon and selecting ‘Software Update’.
Updates will usually include bug fixes and performance improvements that may help with your noisy fan problem, as well as other issues you might be experiencing with your MacBook Air.
If you’re still hearing loud fan noise, there’s a chance that some background apps are using up too much CPU power. This could cause the fans to run more often than normal in order to prevent overheating.
Click the Apple icon and select ‘Force Quit’. Look through the list of apps to see if any are using up a lot of CPU or energy, and quit any that aren’t necessary.
If there are still no improvements, you should restart your machine. Click on the Apple icon and select ‘Restart’.
3) Test the Cooling Fans
Sometimes a loud fan noise means that the Mac has detected an issue with the cooling fans or one of them has failed completely. The best way to test this is to boot your MacBook Air into safe mode.
To do this, press and hold the Shift key and then press the Power button until you hear the chime. Once this is done, release the keys and let your computer boot up in safe mode.
If you don’t hear any fan noise when booted in safe mode, then it’s likely that a software problem is causing this issue. You may have an app that is causing excessive heat build-up on your computer or there may be a process running in the background that is causing this issue.
4) Disable Heavy Memory Consumers
Another possibility is that you have a program that runs automatically when starting up your computers, such as iTunes or Dropbox.
If the fan on your MacBook Air is constantly running and making a loud noise, it’s possible that there’s an app running in the background which is using up too much of your computer’s memory.
To check this, you can open the Activity Monitor (Applications -> Utilities -> Activity Monitor). This app shows what apps are currently using up resources on your Mac.
If you notice any processes using a significant amount of memory, then you should close these programs.
5) Improve Air Circulation
When your MacBook Air is running at a high temperature and you hear loud fan noise, it is a sign that your computer is struggling to cool down. The airflow through the MacBook Air vents has become restricted.
The first step to restoring the cooling function of your MacBook Air is to make sure that air can circulate freely through the vents.
- If you use your computer on top of a blanket, carpet, or other soft surfaces, the air vents can become blocked and cause your computer to overheat.
- Place your computer on a hard, flat surface that allows air to circulate under the computer.
- You can also place your computer so that it is not blocking the ventilation slots.
- If you use an external display with your MacBook Air, make sure that the vents on the back of the display are not blocked by placing the display too close to a wall or other solid object.
- Improve air circulation in the room.
- Download smcFanControl, which allows users to manually set their fans’ minimum speeds. This software gives users more control over how their laptops handle the heat, which can result in quieter operations for some users.
If your MacBook Air happens to start making loud fan noise, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with the machine. Macs are designed to run hot, but there are some steps you can take (and some things you can try) to deal with the noise.
Before taking steps to deal with the noise, be sure that there isn’t an actual problem by checking the fans inside of your MacBook Air.