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Question: MacBook Pro Overheating [FIXED]?

I think i found a solution and the reason to why the macbooks are overheating. The cause? The CPU is doing all the work.


I watched the cpu and gpu temeratures. My GPU never got too hot(50 c at max?), basically just the heat from everything else heating it up. Meanwhile, my CPU will be up at 80-90 degrees celcius.


System Preferences > Energy Saver > Uncheck Automatic Graphics Switching.


What happens (from my understanding) is that to conserve power, it uses the CPU to do the work of the graphics card, and of course is rediculous when running HD flash vides and such. Unchecking it will force it to always use the GPU. Which, takes a heavy chunk off that CPUs load.


Try it out, see for yourself. All it is is a simple box to check or uncheck if it doesnt do you any good.


For me - It seems to be a lot cooler now that I unchecked that.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7), 2.66 GHz i7 (1st gen) 4 GB RAM +SSD

Posted on Aug 21, 2011 9:38 AM

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Aug 21, 2011 9:50 AM in response to Thenecron In response to Thenecron

To add: My fans dont even have to be maxed out anymore. They seem fine running around 4000 RPM (fairly quiet) compared to the 6000 RPM. Watching flash videos which usually bring it to at least 75-90c, and currently its only ~60c.

And If this helps - Give it a like please and thanks 🙂

Aug 21, 2011 9:50 AM

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May 2, 2014 2:24 AM in response to Thenecron In response to Thenecron

I've been researching all day to find out why my macbook is overheating so regularly and I found a few common solutions. This thread has a lot of good information, so I'd encourage everyone to read all the way through it. I'll sum up what information I've gathered to help the next person reading this thread diagnose their problem(s).


1. Download smcFanControl first and foremost, for two reasons:

-One, is that you can easily monitor temperature and fan speed, and having these measurements will allow you to gauge whether the next steps you take to reduce overheating are actually working. Once installed and opened, you will see the measurements up on the menu bar at the top of your display.

-Two, is that you can adjust fan speed which may reduce overheating.


2. Energy Saver Preferences / Video Cards - are you running on 'higher performance' or 'better battery life?' I found that when I switched to 'better battery life' my computer is much, much cooler; it makes sense. I have a 2009 15" Macbook Pro with two video cards, a 2400M and 2600M GT, so switching preferences switches which video card I run on. You can see if you have more than one chip by going to your hardware specs and then the graphics/display specs. I'm not sure what this says about my 2600M GT card... it's never done this in the past so perhaps I burnt it out or something.


3. Activity Monitor - how much of your memory is being eaten up and by what processes? Perhaps you have a program that is eating up all of your processing capability thus heating up your computer. Activity Monitor gives you a list of processes and what percentage of your memory they are using, so perhaps you can diagnose what program is causing your computer to overheat. You can find it in your utilities folder. Drag it onto your dock so you can have a live status of CPU usage. Once open, there is a nice little graph along with some quick numbers at the bottom to give you a picture of memory usage. In my list of processes, I found that iTunes would occassionally glitch out and hog a ton of my CPU, so when I see those bars go up on my dock I restart the program. I also found that Dropbox was using a little more memory than it should have been and I changed its settings so it doesn't open automatically on startup. My understanding is that if it's not an application that is eating up CPU, and it's some natural process like kernel_task, WindowServer, or mdworker, then you don't want to mess with it.


4. Disable Flash - Running flash videos, games, or whatever inevitably requires a lot of processing power. Apparently, Macs and Adobe Flash don't work too well together. The only time I really use flash is when I watch YouTube videos, so I disabled flash and enabled html5 video playing for the site. You can get the add-on for Firefox here; check the 'disable flash' box in the preferences. If you want the choice to disable flash on any website, download FlashBlock. And on a side note, if you run Firefox, you must have Adblock Plus.


If none of that works, I'm not sure what I would recommend. Resetting the system management controller might do the trick, or running a hardware test might give you some indication of the problem. I don't know too much about that stuff though, or how helpful it might be. Maybe you need to clear the dust from your computer's cooling system? Or maybe the geniuses can help.

May 2, 2014 2:24 AM

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Aug 14, 2012 6:05 AM in response to Arbabi In response to Arbabi

I had the same problem and could not find automatic grahics switch but i found that in the Energy Saver menu if i switch the system from Increased performance to Battery Saving my MacBookPro now runs a lot cooler infact it barely even warms up any more.


Hope this helps

Aug 14, 2012 6:05 AM

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Aug 21, 2011 9:50 AM in response to Thenecron In response to Thenecron

To add: My fans dont even have to be maxed out anymore. They seem fine running around 4000 RPM (fairly quiet) compared to the 6000 RPM. Watching flash videos which usually bring it to at least 75-90c, and currently its only ~60c.

And If this helps - Give it a like please and thanks 🙂

Aug 21, 2011 9:50 AM

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Dec 21, 2011 9:46 PM in response to Thenecron In response to Thenecron

It's a 15" MBP actually - 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - not sure about two GPUs to switch between.


But I have the exact same problem, and it started right when I upgraded to Lion- I assumed it was a software issue, but Apple keeps saying they don't think it is- now, after reading this, I'm sticking to my initial thought.


I too use my MBP on my lap and it runs between 160°F-195°F with hardly anything open. It's always the CPU, and when I open Activity Monitor in Utilities, the Finder takes up most of the activity at 80-90% - as akashelby said, it's like the computer can't stop itself from running all the time, instead of stopping when there are little functions happening.


Then when I close it to go to sleep, if the cord is pluggin in, it runs hot all night- around 180°F. If I close it to sleep and unplug it, it's cool within 30 minutes or less. What's with that?


I've run a gamut of test through TechTool Pro, and today they ran diagonistic tests at the Apple store to no avail. They want me to leave it threre for a few days but I need it to work.

I hope this gets figured out because I believe it's damaging our laptops and shortening the life of the device.

Dec 21, 2011 9:46 PM

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Dec 22, 2011 5:27 AM in response to Arbabi In response to Arbabi

The 2.53GHz mid-2009 15" MBP doesn't have two GPUs either. It's the only unibody 15" model that doesn't.


If your computer isn't shutting down abruptly at CPU temperatures of about 100 C, it isn't too hot. It will shut down for its own protection before overheating. As long as it isn't doing that, it's working as designed and not overheating.

Dec 22, 2011 5:27 AM

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Mar 27, 2012 11:38 AM in response to Thenecron In response to Thenecron

I like countless others had the overheating problem.



95c-100c on a bad day, Running idle at 75c on a good day.


Changed the settings per the OP's recomendation. and have seen a significant reduction in temp's.


Now while running videos on a second screen on my MBP Late 2011 I am getting temps of around 57-70, While still being able to use the main screen for my day to day jobs.


Before doing this If i was not able to touch the top left hand side of my macbook pro while watching a video, I would have burnt my hand.


Phoned Apple care. And they didnt want to know. Told me to take it to the Genius bar to have it checked because they wouldn't take my word for it. (because i love sending stuff back to manufacturers)


This is the first and only solution I had found after 2 months of searching.



I would also recommend using ClicktoFlash Extension in Safari, plus if your a firefox or chrome user, start using safari to watch videos.


I now use Safari to watch videos on my second monitor while I use Chrome to browse and do day to day jobs.



Thank you to the OP for finding this out.

Mar 27, 2012 11:38 AM

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Apr 1, 2012 3:13 AM in response to Thenecron In response to Thenecron

I have tried al the mentioned above tricks.. but no benefit....


After searching the whole interenet and apple community forum, i am surprised to see that there is no response from anyone in apple.. dont they periodically check what apple users are facing.. ?? dont they monitor the community so that they can fix the issues before it gets out of hand.....


I had a very good impression abt apple. until before upgrading to Lion...


NOTE: My MacBook Pro 13 had been thouroughly checked in apple serivce centre and no hardware issue had been found for the heat issue... so its LION only... crap my MONEY IS GONEEE

Apr 1, 2012 3:13 AM

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Apr 2, 2012 11:04 PM in response to mebyin In response to mebyin

Sorry to tell you man (or lady) [no offense 🙂] but...

I'm running a Macbook Pro 2.4 GHZ i5 (the model that came out right before the one with thunderbolt).

and I'm running OS X 10.6.8........... Snow Leopard.


And I am having the same overheating issues.


I've been using smcFanControl to control the fan speeds, but it's getting a little rediculous lately. I noticed that using VLC streamer (to stream to my ipad 2) uses up a LOT of CPU power for some reason and the temps on my macbook go through the roof.


I tried the OP's solution above but it didn't help with the streaming.


I've searched this up before. it is a hardware issue. It has to do with the heatsinks or the CPU. (BTW I'm totally making up terms because I'm too tired right now to hunt that thread down, sorry) basically the coolant (cooling) glue / gel stuff that goes on the CPU is super cheapo shtuff that looks like bird do-do. crack open your macbook pro, scrap it off and apply some high-end stuff and your macbook pro won't over heat again. (thats what people were saying anyways)


so I just wanted to give you a little good news bad news. However, since this is techically my fiance's laptop, she won't let me crack it open to fix it.


So I'm still looking for a software solution myself.... I'll try to report back here if I find anything.

Apr 2, 2012 11:04 PM

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Apr 2, 2012 11:50 PM in response to ccooluke In response to ccooluke

AFter reading this discussion i have to assume all the lockups ive been contending with are due to overheating. I got my 15 mbp in december 2010 from an apple store in tysons corner, VA. this was the second one i got in a week. The first one was devastatingly defective with a graph card on the fritz. Called ac yestereday they had me do an smc and that other reboot thing, holding down keys. Did me no good, no surprises. Typing this on my ipad, since the mbp has become useless most of the time. Will call ac again for the next rounds of tests and report back. This Overheating issue (and the apparent lack of a purposeful response may call for a user-wide response against apple computers. They have deceived us and we need to do something about it. Apple lies. Look at the foxconn event. Theyre no better than an exxon mobil or a nike. Cheapest manufacture for biggest profits. Sorry to be politicizing this but dealing with lockups on my work mpb for one year. My quality of life suffers since i spend 90% of my day with this mpb. 15 years on dells before, never had a single problem. Thinking of powering up old dell again.

Comments reach me directly at anfreelancer@yahoo.com

Apr 2, 2012 11:50 PM

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Apr 3, 2012 1:16 AM in response to Joni Chacho In response to Joni Chacho

After my last post I decided to download that smcfan software, switch off the automatic graphic switching again, not the MPB plugged into the power all the time (I guess that causes overheating, too? please confirm) and see what happens and not be such a cry-baby about it. Defects happen; what I get angry about is that Apple never ordered a recall or made any significant overtures to resolve this situation on a grand scale.


i'm just saying

Apr 3, 2012 1:16 AM

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Jun 6, 2012 2:58 AM in response to Thenecron In response to Thenecron

Thanks for this super-tip.

I have a 2011 MBP and have been experiencing this overheating issue way too much. The computer is fast with a SSD, but still hangs too often.

1-2 hrs after applying your tip, I found that the CPU (measured with iStat Pro) is down to 65-68°C from a before 79-85°C. The worst parts are always the flash animations/videos. The come up with almost every website and consume way too much computing power.

Since I use the MBP mostly on my 27" Cinema Display, it plugged in 90% of the time. Only 1-2 a month a use it not at my desk, so I wouldn't even need it for now....(this feature)


Thanks again!

Jun 6, 2012 2:58 AM

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Question: MacBook Pro Overheating [FIXED]?