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How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

In this article, I’m going to show you a few ways to get your new MacBook air to stop running so loud as it's trying to prevent itself from overheating, and these are not hardware solutions like my last article where I water-cooled the Air and used a gel pack but safe permanent solutions. These tips can actually apply to most macs in the last few years, so if you have a different MacBook this will apply to you as well and as a plus, you can gain a few hours of battery life as well.

Like most people, I was extremely excited about the new MacBook Air. An amazing keyboard that’s only found in the much larger and more expensive 16” MacBook. Twice the SSD capacity, and new 10th gen CPU’s with twice the cores and new graphics which provide way more performance for the same price.

Because of this many people are choosing the new Air over a base Pro, and I’d want to as well but the only problem is this thing runs hotter and louder because Apple didn’t give it a proper cooler.

Now if it only did that during super heavy tasks that would be fine, but I’m seeing this during normal tasks as well.

  • For example, when I opened Chrome and went to Youtube and scrolled down the Air hit 100C.
  • If you have a few tabs open and flip between them quickly it hits 100C.
  • Then I watched a 4K 60 video and not only did the Air hit 100C within 10 seconds but it stays there and the fan ramps up to an annoying 6000RPM.

Now I know many of you wouldn’t watch 4K on your Mac, but even 1080P 60 results in the CPU staying at a consistent 90C but here the fan runs quieter.

Don’t use chrome

My first tip is simple, don’t use chrome. Now Chrome is my favorite browser but it's more resource-intensive which means it puts out more heat.

Safari focuses on efficiency, and that same 1080P 60 videos played back at 65C with the fan completely off! Opening Youtube and quickly scrolling hit a max of 86C instead of 100, and quickly jumping through tabs for twice as long I couldn’t get it to hit over 67C instead of 100C.

⦿ If you’re not picky about browsers definitely use Safari on your Air, but what if you are, or what if your’re mac is running hot and loud while doing other tasks.

For example, you want to do some light photo or video editing, or say you’re streaming video in a dedicated app or even downloading and installing files and your fan is going crazy. This is where the new Air personally shocked me. I was playing back a game trailer in the Epic games app and the CPU was running at 100C with the fan being audible but not too annoying.

What really killed me was when I downloaded Fortnite. After 1 minute of downloading and installing, the Air hit 100C and fans were running at 5000RPM and after a few more, fans were at the max, 8000rpm and the CPU ran at 100C and it stayed that way for over an hour. That is absolutely ridiculous...

Let me explain exactly Why this is happening and how we can fix it.

The way Intel designed their CPU’s, when you are doing a task the CPU can at times use more than double the rated wattage to work faster.

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

For example, this 1.1 GHz processor can hit up to 3.5Ghz

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

And paired with the 10nm design this makes the MacBook air extremely snappy at normal tasks, even beating out the MacBook Pro, but doing those quick tasks uses more power and heats up the mac.

This isn’t a bad thing by itself, but when you pair turbo boost with a poor cooler and apps that are more demanding the Air gets much hotter and louder than the Pro.

> The other reason why is Apple's macOS is designed to give you maximum performance when an app asks for it and there's no power efficiency modes like windows has if you’re doing something that could be sped up by more CPU or GPU power MacOS will try to run your processor as fast as possible even if it means running hot and loud.

You can see in our cinebench test that the Air keeps trying to run its CPU as fast as possible even though the fan is really loud and the CPU is at 100C.

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

That is where the turbo boost switcher comes in. It’s a third-party app that allows you to turn off the turbo boost function that will run the CPU at much higher frequencies even if it's not needed.

Let's start with the free version.

I downloaded it and allowed it to run in the security settings, restarted, and then turned off turbo boost. I opened youtube in Chrome and quickly scrolled down and temps only hit 64C instead of 100C.

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

I then played back a 4K 60 video which is demanding, and the laptop maxed out at 85C with the fan running at its lowest speed instead of 100C with fans being loud which is a big improvement.

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

After a few min of playing back trailers in EPIC, the Air stayed silent and the CPU didn’t go higher than 75C. When downloading and initializing Fortnite as soon as I turn off the turbo boost switcher you can see that our CPU goes from trying to run as fast as possible and hitting 100C to running at a constant 1.1Ghz with a steady decline in temps and fan speeds resulting with max temps of 85C while staying completely silent.

Now since we are limiting the power that means we’re also limiting the performance of the MacBook Air which is a bummer with a brand new machine. Thankfully for normal uses I didn’t notice that much of a performance difference. And it still felt noticeably snappier than the 2019 Air. Google Chrome was still responsive when jumping through tabs and scrolling and even 4K 60 video played back fine.

The whole system is quick and responsive, and since the CPU isn’t having massive wattage spikes when you're doing these tasks you’ll end up gaining a few hours of battery life. I notice some differences in performance when opening tougher apps that need power, so I decided to run Cinebench R20. It definitely took longer but the CPU didn’t ever go higher than 70C and the fan ran silently at its lowest speed, instead of being loud and running at 100C.

The end result was a score of 630 instead of 955 which is a noticeable drop in performance, performing similarly to the 2019 Air.

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

But keep in mind, the 2019 Air has to run hot and loud to achieve that mid 600 scores when the new one with turbo off can do so while staying cool and completely silent and using less power.

Buy Turbo boost Pro

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

Which is only $10. This will allow you to schedule when to have turbo boost on or off,

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

Allowing it to toggle based on the app if you have a few that always cause your air to run hot or my personal choice

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

Auto toggling turbo boost depending on the CPU temperature, that way you can maximize performance while keeping your Mac running cool & quiet.

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

Of course, I wish Apple not only upgraded the specs and lowered the price of the air but also upgraded the cooler but they didn’t.

How to get your MacBook to run Cooler and Quieter

So until Apple gives us power modes for Macs this will make your new MacBook Air run better. So I hope it was helpful. Let me know if you guys have any questions, also share this article with others.

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