There’s nothing worse than hearing your MacBook Air make a fan noise. The sound is so distracting and can interrupt your workflow, but don’t worry! There’s a very good chance we can help you to diagnose the fan noise problem and ultimately fix it.
Fan noise is often a sign that your device’s processor is working on intensive tasks. When this happens, the fans run faster to provide additional airflow and cool-down components within the system. The surrounding ambient temperature also affects how fast these fans spin.
In the majority of cases, fan noise can be fixed and you will have no problem with your MacBook Air overheating or slowing down.
In this blog post, I will tell you what are the possible causes and what to do if you hear the fan on your Macbook Air running louder than usual or just spinning up for no reason.
Why Do Laptops Have Fans?
All laptops and especially Macbooks are equipped with small, yet powerful fans that circulate the air within the case. They’re usually located near a vent on one of the edges or top of your device.
When these fans spin, they create an airflow that carries heat away from internal components such as CPU and GPU to the outside where it can be safely dissipated.
If hot air is not removed from the case, these components can overheat and eventually break down. This is why it’s crucial to ensure there’s enough airflow inside your MacBook Air during intensive tasks that create a lot of heat, or when you’re using it in an environment with high temperatures.
What is Fan Noise?
Fan noise is the sound that your Macbook Air’s fans make when they start spinning faster to cool components down. This can happen during intense multitasking, prolonged gaming, or charging. It’s usually a low whirring or buzzing sound that doesn’t last long and eventually fades away.
What are the Possible Causes of Fan Noise?
There are several causes of fan noise. Each requires a different solution that’s grouped with similar symptoms.
You can determine what the problem is by paying close attention to your device’s behavior, so you won’t have to open it up and void your warranty (if it’s still valid). Here are some scenarios that may be causing the issue:
1. Your Macbook Air Starts Making A Fan Noise When You Charge It
What causes it:
Charging your Macbook Air heats its internal components. This can cause it to slow down and the fan to start spinning.
Moreover, if you try to charge your laptop while using it, its battery will drain very quickly and the fans might start spinning even faster.
If this is happening, make sure you place your device on a flat surface with enough ventilation so that hot air can be released from underneath. Also, don’t use it while charging if possible. This way you won’t speed up how fast the fans spin.
If the fan noise takes too long, unplug and let it cool down. The fans should turn off automatically when the components aren’t getting hot anymore. If not, press and hold the power button for 6 seconds or until your Mac shuts down. If that doesn’t help, you might have to reset your SMC.
2. Fan Noise When Playing Games or Watching Videos on Your Macbook Air
What causes it:
If you’re playing games or watching videos, chances are that your device is working harder than usual and requires cooling down. This, in turn, results in the fans spinning faster to provide enough airflow.
When certain programs use your graphics card (GPU), cause your CPU to work on intensive tasks and heat components, they cause the fan noise as well.
In fact, most games have an option that lets you set your Macbook Air to “High Performance” mode or “Maximum Performance”. This way, the fans will spin faster and you won’t have to worry about your experience being affected by overheating.
To prevent this from happening, take your device out of Game Mode (if enabled) or switch to low-power mode in macOS. This will slightly disable some features on your Mac so it doesn’t overheat during gameplay.
3. Your MacBook Air Gets Hot When You Use It And The Fans Are Spinning Loudly
What causes it:
Your Mac may also heat up if you’re using it at the same time, so be careful where you place the device as contact with soft materials such as a pillow or blanket can block airflow inside the casing and cause it to overheat.
If you’re experiencing issues such as your Macbook Air overheating or slowing down during intensive tasks, it might be a sign of poor ventilation.
Let’s take a look at the components inside your MacBook Air to find out how it heats up and why this happens.
The majority of laptops (including Macbooks) have a CPU, storage devices like HDD or SSD, chipset (a small printed circuit board that contains various components), cooling assembly containing heat sink and fan(s), battery, and wireless/wired networking devices. All these elements generate heat and have to be cooled down to function properly.
Since space inside your MacBook Air is limited, manufacturers often use heat sinks with a highly conductive liquid or gel that absorbs the heat from components and transfers it to the cooling assembly where the powerful fan(s) blow it outside of the casing.
A single fan isn’t enough for most laptops, so Macbooks usually have two fans to provide the necessary airflow.
Poor ventilation can cause your MacBook Air to overheat during extended use, and when this happens, the cooling system may not be able to keep up with the load.
If you notice significant throttling or your computer slows down significantly while under a heavy workload, it may be time to clean the internal components and make sure there’s enough room for air to pass through.
This is a difficult procedure that requires opening up your device and voiding your warranty, so only attempt it if you’re comfortable working with small electronic components. If not, bring it to an expert. They can also check for other possible causes of overheating, clean your Mac’s internal components and perform a thorough diagnostic.
If you don’t notice any issues and your Macbook Air is still under warranty, use the Apple Support app to set up an appointment with an expert. They can run tests on your device to make sure it has enough space for air to pass through and check if other factors prevent proper cooling.
Even though macOS has a lot of useful built-in features to prevent overheating and keep your Macbook Air working smoothly, there’s always a chance that it can overheat during intensive tasks such as gaming or watching videos.
When this happens, you may hear the fans spinning faster than usual and notice significant throttling, which will make your Macbook Air slow down.
In this article, we’ve described why your Mac gets loud and hot when you use it and offered some possible solutions on how to fix the issue. If you notice that your computer overheats a lot, be sure to check all of these factors before attempting any DIY repairs or taking it to an expert as this may void your warranty.