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The problem

When I use my laptop, it always heats up a lot in the center above the touch bar on top. I can feel it quite heated below as well under the top center.

The CPU is fine (no processes going crazy). Fans are not really loud at all and I suspect they are working below the speed they should be. This was an issue when I bought it as well.

SMC reset

I did (multiple) SMC resets when I first bought, as this was an issue straight away. After the reset it worked fine for a few weeks and then I'd do another reset. A year and a half later thouhg, when I do an SMC reset, I don't notice the heat going away and it's still working the same way.

P.S. Since I have been working from home, I often connect to an external monitor, no-surprise there that this causes heat. When I don't work with one, it's still warmer that it should be in my opinion.

Any idea what may be the causing the issue and how can I fix it?

My Macbook has the following specs:

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)
Processor 2.6 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7
Memory 32 GB 2400 MHz DDR4
Graphics Radeon Pro Vega 20 4 GB
         Intel UHD Graphics 630 1536 MB
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  • If your CPU performance is good, no processes are going wild; fans aren't ramping up, and it's been consistently like that since you bought it: I'd say you don't have a problem. How hot is it getting, and how hot do you think it should get?
    – benwiggy
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 17:17
  • Well, not sure hot to measure: but hands are getting sweaty and it's not super hot to get injured or smth, but it's hot enough to not wanting to touch. I only suspect an issue exists because a while back this happened and I did an SMC reset, I know it worked well and it was quite cool. Not that's not the case.
    – Newskooler
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 17:23

2 Answers 2

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An Intel CPU typically gets as hot as boiling water before 'overheating'.

Is it normal for a 15 inch rMBP to get extremely hot during use?

There are third-party utilities that can provide you with accurate temperature data from the Mac's heat sensors. https://www.google.com/search?q=mac+temperature+utility

Overheating usually involves high fan speeds and poor performance. (The Mac will ultimately shut off if the heat increases to levels that might damage the hardware.)

You can get utilities that will allow you to manage the fans, though bear in mind that Apple spends a lot of time on optimizing this. Higher fan speeds will reduce battery life and increase noise.

https://crystalidea.com/macs-fan-control/download

Note the warning on the webpage: "This program is for advanced users who know how to use it without doing harm to their macs. The authors are not liable for data loss, damages, profit loss or any other types of losses connected with the use or misuse of the program."

If it was uncomfortable to place your hands on the area in front of the keyboard, either side of the trackpad, then I would be worried. Otherwise, it's entirely normal for some parts of the Mac to get 'quite hot'.

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Once this happened to my 2017 Macbook pro and Apple serviced it to remove much dust from the fans and that returned back to normal afterwards.

Another thing you could do is to start the Activity Monitor application and see what the Energy tab there looking like. Sort by the Current Impact and 12 hrs power columns to see which applications take up the energy the most. Try shutting down one by one to see if you can get to the root cause.

Here is an example image of Activity Monitor. Notice I have sorted by the current energy impact. I ignore the Activity Monitor itself as I just now started it. After that I see IntelliJ has significant energy utilisation. But when I sort by 12hrs the Chrome takes precedence. You can expand the row to see what sub-processes (ie: Tab/website, in this occasion) takes more power. Also in Chrome's case, if you go to the browser, you can see individual tab's memory consumption (which also is an indicator, but indirect).

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