Hello, fellow Mac users!

We often have Macs coming through Aim High with their owners describing the fans running constantly, the computer is hot enough to burn skin, and no observable reasons for running slow. Well, you may be overheating your Mac which could cause it to become slow, unresponsive and even damage the internal components like the battery or logic board. It is normal for a Mac to heat up when working on heavy tasks or when multiple applications are running, but if your computer shuts down because of internal temperatures reaching a dangerous point, you should not ignore it.

Below we describe some common guidelines that you should follow to avoid overheating for Mac. Most of these guidelines come directly from Apple and you can always read their Support Documentation on how to keep your Mac notebook within acceptable operating temperatures.

Stop overheating your Mac notebook now by following these easy steps:

Check Your Ambient Temperature

Use your Mac notebook where the ambient temperature is between 50° and 95° F (10° and 35° C). Also, you should only use your Mac where the relative humidity is between 0% and 95% and is noncondensing.


Avoid using your computer below 50 degrees and above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t Leave Your Mac in a Car

Temperatures in a parked car exposed to the elements can exceed 95° F and go below 50°. Don’t leave your Mac in a car!


I hope a Mac isn’t in that car!

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Exposure to direct sunlight can damage your screen and heat up the Mac beyond the recommended temperature range. Avoid working or leaving the computer in direct sunlight for extended amounts of time.



It’s best to use your Mac on a stable flat surface.

Only Use Your Mac on a Stable Flat Surface

This is a big one. You can unintentionally block the ventilation ports and trap heat in, and around the computer by not following this guideline. The primary ventilation area is on top-case and right along the hinge area for your screen. You can see many ports for air to flow and this area should never be blocked by fabrics or anything else.

We always have Mac users telling us they use their notebook computer on the bed and propped up on a pillow, blanket, or comforter. This is a big no-no and can cause hardware failures after prolonged heat damage.



Avoid using your Mac notebook on a bed, pillow, blanket or comforter. This can block ventilation ports and prevent the computer from cooling down.

Don’t Block Ventilation Openings

If your Mac notebook has ventilation openings, make sure the ports are clear of any material and do not cover or put anything inside the ventilation ports.

Make sure you never block the ventilation ports while using your Mac. Only MacBook Pro models have these under-side ventilation ports.


Don’t Put Anything on the Keyboard

Your Mac also ventilates heat through the spaces around the keys on the keyboard. Keyboard protectors and covers block this ventilation and can cause Macs, specifically the MacBook Air, to overheat. Keep the keyboard clear and if you are worried about liquid spills, the greatest protection is keeping liquids far from the computer and only using a sealed container near your Mac.

Close up on a MacBook Air keyboard

Your Mac’s keyboard ventilates through the tiny spaces around your keyboard keys. Avoid overheating issues by not placing anything on your keyboard.

Use Only Apple-authorized Power Adapters

Use only Apple-authorized power adapters. Do not use cheap, third-party power adapters purchased on Amazon and eBay. These adapters might not have the exact specifications need for your Mac and they can damage your internal hardware. We have seen a few Macs in our store where the third party power adapter damaged the Main Logic Board (MLB).

Also, follow these guidelines to avoid overheating your power adapter.

Spotlight Indexing

If your Mac notebook seems to be running hot and you are not performing heavy tasks, Spotlight might be indexing your data. Check the magnifying glass icon in the top right of your desktop in the Menu bar. If you see a pulsating dot inside the magnifying glass, Spotlight is indexing your data. Place your machine on a flat stable surface and let this task finish. It can take several hours for the Spotlight indexing to complete.

Make Sure You’re Updated

Make sure you have installed the latest Mac software updates and your firmware is up-to-date. To see if you need a firmware update, visit the Apple Downloads page and check the dates on the firmware releases to see if you purchased the machine before the latest update was released.



What if I Think Heat Damaged My Mac?

If you think heat exposure damaged your Mac notebook, set up an appointment with us to check out your machine or take it to the nearest Mac Store. We will run a complete set of diagnostics to confirm the extent of the damage and give you the best possible advice on what to do next. If you need additional assistance or have questions, give us a call at 303-271-1288 or email us at stanley@aimhigh.com.

Aim High! is an Apple Authorized Service Provider offering full service IT consulting, device management, and technology planning for small to medium businesses; and hardware repair, software training and support, micro courses, private lessons, and IT plans for everyone. Aim High! is excited to be part of the Stanley Marketplace, serving its community in Aurora, Denver, and surrounding areas.