Just a minute ago my iMac's fan stopped spinning (sound like it broke). I heared no noise coming out of it anymore and I quickly checked iStat which reported a fan rotation speed of 0 rpm (usually 1500 rpm). I turned my Mac off immediately.

What should I do? I am in the Netherlands so there are no Apple Stores here.

I also don't want to turn it on again because that could result in a CPU meltdown (usual CPU temperature was 42°C). Very little chance the fan turned off because the CPU was cool at that moment, since I was playing Minecraft, converting four videos and playing one at the same time.

My iMac is a model from 2010, 21 inch. What can I do?

  • That last piece of advice is a way to check your fans to see if they work or not. I was unable to get Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics to work on my (mid-2011 27" running Sierra) iMac but this has shown that my fans are alive and well. :-) Now to figure out why they weren't running...
    – unicyclone
    Oct 23, 2017 at 3:13

4 Answers 4


You should certainly request help online or through the phone - (31) 0900 7777 703 - in either Netherlands or the country where your mac was originally sold. Fans are pretty easy to diagnose remotely since it's almost always the fan unit failing (or when it's not that, the next most likely cause is simply reconnecting the fan cable) so you can often ask for a parts and labor quote to help you decide what to do.

You seem to indicate it's the CPU fan. It and the hard drive fan are very hard to replace as you have to disconnect and remove the LCD panel, the logic board and many of the other parts. The optical fan is more amenable to a DIY repair. All the connectors are very delicate and if you break them, the cost to repair can be pretty large. (Think $800 to $1100 for a whole logic board). iFixit.com has good take apart manuals and once you have a quote or two from authorized service providers, you might decide to get inside to reconnect the cables and at least look around.

My advice is don't do anything yourself until you're sure Apple won't cover it by calling them first to get a quote. The main hardware warranty has great links for getting service worldwide - since it's quite long I'll pull the links here for quick reference:

Lastly, don't be afraid to run it for short time and low CPU use to get more information and be sure which fan went out. The CPU will reduce clock rate when it gets warm, then it will go to sleep for 30 seconds if that doesn't keep it cool, next the OS will shut down (all of the above events get logged at default settings except maybe the clock rate). The CPU will also shut everything off abruptly if all of the above fail. Don't run for weeks or hit the CPU with 100% tasks and expect it to last for years with the CPU fan off, but other things will have to fail for it to be a melt / fire hazard issue. I also wouldn't run it needlessly and risk MLB failure needlessly.

  • $1100? Then it better to buy a whole new Mac :)
    – user235
    May 5, 2011 at 9:46
  • I called Apple Support, and the dude said that he couldn't help me because I have no warranty anymore, or I had to pay 49 EUR. Well if I pay 49 EUR they'd probably say I need to send my Mac to them and they repair it. This'll be a new MacBook then.
    – user235
    May 5, 2011 at 10:59
  • That's a bummer. Which fan is it? Anyone could take your serial number into an Apple Retail store and ask the genius bar for a parts and labor / non binding estimate for the repair. Then you could check in the Netherlands for alternate computer repair services armed with the part number. Apple often is the best bet as they work on the most macs, but surely some shops there are capable of getting in the iMac. It's way harder than almost any PC repair so the corner upgrade shop might be your last choice, but you're not out of options. I'd guess the US cost would be $50 to $120 for fan+labor.
    – bmike
    May 5, 2011 at 23:45

I'd try and SMC reset (remove power plug) from iMac for at least 15 seconds. Then plug it back in and see if it's fixed. If not, you're going to have to bring it to a repair centre to get sorted. I wouldn't worry about attemtping to start it again - it won't melt down that quickly and it has a thermal cutout system to prevent such issues so will shut itself off before it gets too hot.

  • I agree with this; while it sounds like something is physically broken, there's a chance it's not, and this is unlikely to hurt. May 5, 2011 at 22:28

I had fans go out on my iMac (2012) and I put a high velocity fan behind it, where the air goes into that slit along the top in the back. The iMac aluminum chassis acts as a heat sink and the fan cools the back of the iMac enough to keep it from getting hot, drawing heat away. If you have to run the mac at all, at least do that. Otherwise you will see your mac shut down on you.


You can force the fans to be always on or off. You toggle this behavior by:

  1. Shutdown Mac and unplug power for 5 seconds.
  2. Hold the power button down while you plug the power back in the Mac.
  3. Release the power. Now hit the power button again and you should hear your fans at 70%.

That's all folks.

  • 2
    The OP said that he heard something "break." Besides being a 5 year old question, how does your post answer the problem the OP described?
    – Allan
    Oct 27, 2016 at 22:10

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