7 Fixes for an Overheating MacBook Air M1

Do you know your MacBook Air M1 has no active cooling system like a fan? MacBook is designed to be energy-efficient generating little heat. However, it still overheats and gets pretty hot sometimes, mainly due to intensive tasks or workload. Moreover, MacBook Air’s overall thin and compact design gives it less space to dissipate heat leading to overheating. We have created a list of all the measures and methods to fix an overheating MacBook Air M1.

1. Reduce Multitasking

You need to reduce some of the load on your MacBook Air. Even though it is a highly efficient system, multitasking and working on multiple software simultaneously can overheat the MacBook.

The best way is to close those unused browser tabs and inactive software you may not currently need to work on. For example, look at the number of apps open on your system currently in the dock. If it looks something like this, you need to close a few of them to let your Mac take a breather.

Not all apps are made equal. Some apps are heavy and require more system resources like Steam and image editors like Photoshop.

2. Check Background Processes

If closing down resource-intensive apps does not solve your MacBook Air M1’s overheating issue, the problem might lie with an app or background process consuming maximum CPU power.

With the help of Activity Monitor, let’s evaluate the processes that might be causing the MacBook Air M to overheat.

1. Press Command + Space on the keyboard to open Spotlight Search.

2. Type Activity in the search box and open Activity Monitor.

3. Click on CPU at the top menu bar.

4. Check the %CPU column to see the resource-intensive processes.

The list could also consist of background activities that are responsible for running the system smoothly. Hence, make sure you do not close those processes. A good rule of thumb is that if you do not recognize an app or process or understand what it does, better leave it alone.

5. Check the Energy tab.

A;so check the Memory tab on the menu bar as well.

Once you have analyzed all these aspects, you can then select the processes that are taking up the maximum power, energy, or memory and quit the process.

6. Click on the process and choose the (x) at the top.

7. Select Quit to stop the process.

Now, close the Activity Monitor and wait some time to see if the system cools down.

3. Reset the SMC

The SMC or System Management Controller is responsible for power and thermal management on your MacBook Air. Hence, resetting the SMC might help if you’re experiencing temperature-related issues.

Here is how you can do it.

Considering your MacBook Air M1 is heating and this is an Apple-silicon chip Mac, you simply need to restart the system. If unsure, we have a guide to help you find out your MacBook’s system specs in no time.

1. Go to the Apple menu at the top-left corner of your desktop.

2. In the drop-down menu, choose Shut Down.

Keep the lid closed and the system shut down for at least 30 seconds. Now, click on the Power button again to start the system

4. Clean MacBook’s Vents

An easier solution you can try is cleaning the vents on your Mac. Dust and debris can accumulate over time, obstructing ventilation and causing the Air M1 to struggle with cooling.

For this, make sure MacBook is shut down, and you have removed all the wires connected to it. Get a soft linen cloth to clean the vent and wipe the area. Or else, you can even get Compressed Air from e-commerce sites and gently blow away the debris. Don’t use a hair dryer or blower because the warm air can damage the circuits and chips inside.

Let the system remain shut down for some time after cleaning the vent. Use it as you would and check if the overheating still persists on the Mac.

5. Allow Proper Ventilation

Have you been using your Mac on your laptop bag or a pillow? Well, you need to stop now. Your M1 Mac does not have a fan and needs proper ventilation to dissipate the heat, if any.

Hence, keeping MacBook on a surface that blocks those vents can cause overheating. So, make sure you are keeping it on a flat surface, such as your study table.

Furthermore, you can slightly elevate the back of your MacBook Air to allow better airflow. This can be done using a laptop stand or even a book, which might help.

6. Update macOS

Apple frequently releases updates that include performance and thermal management improvements. Hence, you need to ensure that your macOS is updated.

If you are not sure, follow the steps below to check and update the system.

Make sure to save all your work before proceeding with the update.

1. Go to the Apple Menu at the top-left corner of your desktop.

2. Now, click on System Settings.

3. Go to General on the left sidebar.

4. Now, click on Software Update on the right.

5. Wait for the system to check for any updates.

6. Choose Update Now.

Mac will now begin updating and restart to save all the changes made to it. Wait for the process to complete, and then start getting back to work.

7. External Cooling

Now, if none of the above methods seems to be working for you, you can try external cooling. Well, firstly, make sure the environment around you isn’t too hot or other devices on the table are not making the system hot.

Apart from this, you can get a Cooling Pad from any e-commerce website. This cooling pad will eventually keep your system cool even when you are working on intensive tasks such as video editing or multitasking.

Keep it Cool!

Overheating issues on MacBook Air M1 are pretty common these days, but you can fix it easily. All you have to do is simply close down 10s of tabs or apps you have been using simultaneously.

However, if nothing works for you, you can take your MacBook to an Apple service center to check for any internal hardware issues, such as your battery. 



is Senior Writer DZ-TECH, where he covers the world of technology, hacking, cybersecurity, surveillance and privacy.

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