The MacBook Air 11'' (Mid 2012) I am currently using has a fairly loud cooling fan. It doesn't help that it's on most of the time.

Are the cooling fans in more recent MacBook Airs and Retinas significantly quieter?

The question is not about how often they activate, I understand that newer, faster machines are likely to require less cooling. It's all about the cooling fans noise at full speed.


The MacBook Pro with Retina Display received an overall update to pretty much most of the internal architecture. According to Apple the fans, vents and many other internal parts underwent redesign and development.

  • Apple => High-efficiency fans: Asymmetrically spaced impeller blades and back and side airflow vents work together to move the maximum amount of air while reducing tonal impact.

Personally, I have not had any extensive experience with the Retina models, but according to the statement on Apple's website it can be assumed that the noise should be dramatically reduced in comparison to other previous models.

The MacBook Air has, to my knowledge, received this update. Even after a quick Google search I could not find any 'fan noise' changing events or developments. However, working occasionally on an Air, I cannot complain about any extensively loud fan noises in comparison to my mid-2012 MacBook Pro (non-Retina).

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    The 2012 MBA did receive a new asymmetric fan, and it is quieter than the 2011 and earlier ones. However, I don't believe there have been fan updates since 2012. – Alan Shutko Jul 22 '14 at 15:11

I just got a new retina display 15" last week . Yes, it does not activate as frequent as the older one. Still when i am doing something performance intensive like Lightroom photo editing or facetime call along with browsing with music playing in the background... The fan gets activated and is loud enough to notice.

  • Nothing wrong with your answer, but is there more evidence than a 1 user experience? – CousinCocaine Jul 22 '14 at 11:53
  • Actually, individual user experience is what I want. I know that Apple improved the fans a while back, but I wanted to know how noticeable it is. – Gabriel R. Jul 22 '14 at 16:04
  • @iGameRam When it does activate, is the fan less noisier than the older ones? Thanks. – Gabriel R. Jul 22 '14 at 16:05
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    @GabrielR. My personal previous mbp is from mid- 2010 . I have used the 2012 retina for an year, but that was before 6 months. The new one is certainly quieter than my mid-2010 :-P.. but frankly I can't tell any difference between the noise of mid 2012 retina and the current one i have, coz it still is noticeable clearly ... :-( – iGameRam Jul 23 '14 at 18:03

I hope that this works as an answer to your question. But my Macbook Pro Mid 2010 has stopped making all those horrible noises after over-heating for quite a while now since I discovered there are certain processes calling that issue; i.e. Shockwave Flash Player that's mostly used with Chrome which apparently seems to have the only purpose of draining the battery, overheating the CPU and overusing the fan. Kill that process from Activity Monitor app and that fixes the problem! It's helped me for quite a while now and it's been like a year that I do not get that noise nor the overheating issue anymore.

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