I was wondering if there was a way to access the computer fan speed through terminal. I've heard that you can use software like smcFanControl, but I was wondering if there was a way to do it without any third party software.

Another way i've heard of is using the spindump command, but from what I remember it can take a bit for it to finish.

Is there a way to get the info from terminal almost instantly without using third party software?

Also, is there a command I could possibly use to adjust the fan speed using terminal without any third party software?

I'm using a MacBook Pro 2015 running macOS High Sierra.

  • Should we get your post linked with apple.stackexchange.com/questions/117391/…? ? (I guess not since you just dropped a bounty on this) It would be nice to pmset -g something to get that with other thermal status for sure.
    – bmike
    Nov 9, 2017 at 20:19
  • I'm curious as to what your aversion to 3rd party software is.
    – JMY1000
    Nov 12, 2017 at 2:46
  • @JMY1000 I don’t have an issue with 3rd party software, I mostly want to know if they’re any built in ways to get and set the fan speed
    – Matthew
    Nov 12, 2017 at 2:55
  • AFAIK there's no built in utility, but at their core, they're just reading SMC data.
    – JMY1000
    Nov 12, 2017 at 5:54

2 Answers 2


macOS command /usr/bin/powermetrics

sudo powermetrics -i 200 -n1 --samplers smc


**** SMC sensors ****

CPU Thermal level: 0
GPU Thermal level: 0
IO Thermal level: 0
Fan: 1199 rpm
CPU die temperature: 56.30 C
GPU die temperature: 79.00 C

sudo powermetrics -i 200 -n1 --samplers smc | grep "Fan" | sed 's/Fan: //g' # -> 1200 rpm

You can use smcFanControl from the terminal. I written a complete script who analyse the temperature of the Mac to trigger an external fan with it (arduino).

alias smc="/Applications/smcFanControl.app/Contents/Resources/smc"

List all

smc -l

Get the temperature

smc -k TC0D -r

List Fans

smc -f

More info on GitHub: smcFanControl: smc-command

  • 1
    smcFanControl is a third party software, and in the question I said a way that is fast and doesn't use a third party software.
    – Matthew
    Nov 9, 2017 at 20:27
  • Effectively, but your question is ambiguous (use the terminal without third-party software), precise that you want to get the info with a built-in or native macOS command, that I think is not possible, even less with the system integrity protection. As I know, the smc program is the faster (and only?) way to read and write to the SMC.
    – Atika
    Nov 14, 2017 at 15:57
  • If SMCFanControl can read and write SMC settings, then anyone who knows how can do so as well.
    – WGroleau
    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:15

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