I just got my macbook air and installed some apps on it. But it started to get hot and I don't know why. The ram usage is 5 GBs out of 16 GBs and CPU usage is about 7%. But still the bottom of my computer is hot as hell. I ran diagnostics but it told me that nothing is wrong.

Is there anything I can do?

  • 2
    "Hot as hell" is a subjective term and impossible to quantify from one person to the next. There are a number of Apps that can give you temperature values so we can objectively look at the issue. Try iStats X or iStats Menu (popular). – Allan Aug 25 '20 at 13:07

Is your fan kicking on to high speed?

Many computers get "hot" but the cases are plastic (so they blow hot air out of a vent). But the plastic case does not conduct away the heat (which isn't good) but they compensate with the stronger fan and vent. Users get the illusion that the computer isn't hot because they don't feel the heat directly.

The macs use aluminum cases because the entire case can be used to help dissipate heat. This means it is normal for it to be "warm" ... but "hot" depends on how hard the CPU cores are working. The variable speed fans normally run on low speed but will start running faster and faster as needed to help with cooling. The aluminum case cooling design means the users do feel the heat. But the design is better for cooling the machine because entire case effectively becomes one big heat-sink.

You can launch activity monitor to determine which applications or processes are using the most CPU.

My personal MacBook Pros tend to get "warm" (if using them on my desk, I use a riser that props up the back of the mac so that the bottom doesn't sit flat on the desk. This helps it cool from the bottom side of the case (specifically I use something called the "Lazy Couch" by Just-Mobile).

My work MacBook Pro... tends to run much hotter. The (mandatory) security software that my company installs is ... not great. That machine's CPUs are pegged so hard during the first 10 minutes after booting that it's basically non-responsive.

My suggestions are:

  • If you think your machine is hot (and apparently you do) make sure the machine is able to dump the heat through the case. This means you maximize the amount of surface area that has contact with air (especially the bottom).

  • Use Activity Monitor to determine which process(es) are responsible for driving the highest CPU utilization. You may have things running that don't need to run.

  • There are 3rd party utilities (e.g. iStat, Fanny, etc.) that will report the actual CPU temperature. You might consider installing one of them and checking the temperature.

Farther down the list:

  • Are your fans working? They are normally fairly quiet ... but if the machine is "hot" (really hot) then you should certainly hear the sound of the fans running at high speed. If you do not hear the fans, contact Apple for diagnostics and/or service. (E.g. computer may be running especially hot if the fans aren't working correctly)

  • This isn't likely if it's a newer mac ... but if older ... possibly an accumulation of dust may be responsible for poor air circulation and your mac may benefit from a cleaning.


The device runs internally at the boiling point, so a hot case only implies the CPU is able to run at full capacity. I’ve described it to many people that a proper device often is considered uncomfortably warm by reasonable people that aren’t familiar with how thin and power hungry the internals can be and how efficiently the heat is channeled to the metal case.

This review covers it well. The i3 version should run the coolest and run the blower less urgently than the i5 or i7 but if you are not doing a stress test like this, I would still engage Apple. Unless your CPU measurement is not showing all the processes, less than 10% CPU should be an idle temp and not a loaded CPU temp of precisely “hot as hell”

To validate your CPU be sure to show all processes in the menus and also look at energy usage over time.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .