My Mid-2010 17" MBP seems to be running warmer than normal recently; I've read that fan failure is not unheard of on systems of this age, but I don't know how to verify whether one or both fans is operating correctly.

I have removed the cover and checked that there is no obvious buildup of lint, etc., in the fans and they spin freely.

  • Using an infrared thermometer, the surface termperature is between 110 and 115F when processing a video in iMovie. The surface runs just above room temperature when the computer is idling with the screen off. – TomG Jun 9 '16 at 2:55

You can use the freeware application Macs Fan Control to monitor both your current fan speed and your internal temperature. It also allows you to set a minimum speed for your fan(s), which you could use for stress testing your fans by temporarily jacking up the speed, or for permanently increasing the minimum fan speed somewhat if you feel like your Mac is running a little too hot.

It also has a diagnostics mode, which I haven't used yet, but which could be useful in your situation.

  • I wonder if it shows the actual fan speed, or the speed it's being commanded to run at. I would assume that if it's failing, it would run at a lower speed than commanded. – TomG Jun 9 '16 at 2:57
  • It looks like my fans are working, and Macs Fan Control shows the actual speed. When I put my hand over the vent, the indicated fan speed dropped. I'm experimenting with settings to speed them up a little bit. – TomG Jun 10 '16 at 0:36

Another 3rd party utility, iStat Menus, gives you a way to see all the readings of your system's internal temperature sensors as well as the fan speeds (among many other things) and what might be causing the system to run hot- including potentially runaway background processes that could be eating CPU cycles.

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