First let me say this is my first Mac so i know nothing of anything as far as Macs go.

I notice that the Macbook Pro, unlike any Windows laptop I've ever had, from what I see, doesn't have any air vents. Is this possible or am I missing something?

I'm a bit tense because when I travel I put it in a tight sleeve case and I'm paranoid that it'll suffocate and burn out if it can't breathe when its on.

Does it have vents somewhere to dissipate heat? If no, can it be put in a tight pleather case and it be ok or should I still turn it completely off when in a case?

2 Answers 2

  • Four vents exist on the retina Macbook Pro 15".
  • Two vents exist on the non-retina Macbook Pro 15", 17" models.
  • One vent only on the Macbook Air 11" & 13" and non-retina Macbook Pro 13".

The outflow vents are located right 'between' the display and keyboard on the vertical rear face of the unibody frame. Shine a light on the display hinge from above and below and you can see the little holes best when looking down along the display from a very steep angle.

While the non-retina MBP take all of the inflowing air from the remaining space next to the outflow vents of the display hinge - the retina Macbook Pro has an additional two vents for air intake on the side where external ports are located.

Apple has done an amazing job at the dB noise they make when idle (~2000rpm).

When the fans kick in because of heavy CPU/GPU usage you'll definitely hear them. They will go up to ~6000rpm. Tracking fan RPM with software will be your best method to know if the case you have is insulating the frame. Increased idle fan speed will compensate for a case that insulates the frame and traps heat from below. The unibody frame in in close thermal contact with the CPU/GPU so a good proportion of the idle heat actually escapes through the keyboard and topcase.

You might also be interested in Apple's advice for Mac care.

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[picture from ifixit]

  • 1
    lmao i would've NEVER found the vents...and i looked too lol. thanks for the info.
    – somdow
    Apr 4, 2012 at 13:08
  • 2
    Note also that due to the unibody aluminum construction, unlike those crappy "aluminum coloured" plastic netbooks, a significant amount of heat dissipation occurs through the metal body.
    – ghoppe
    Apr 4, 2012 at 17:08
  • I'll second @ghoppe - in clamshell mode (closed display) a large amount of heat can no longer escape from the palm rest / keyboard area. Covering the bottom with a case will further insulate things - the fans of course can keep the mac cool even in this case. If your insulation gets too effective, look for sleep events where over temp is logged to /private/var/log/system.log if the Mac can't keep itself cool with maximum blower speed.
    – bmike
    Apr 5, 2012 at 0:02

With no video connections activating clamshell mode, your Pro will sleep when you close the screen. Out of the dozens that I've sent out into the field I've never had one die from overheating.

  • nice thanks for the reply. good to know. This MBP looks very reliable....glad i bought it. i wanna take care of it hence the ? lol
    – somdow
    Apr 4, 2012 at 13:08

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