Macs are well-built computers, and they’re usually quiet. But on some occasions fans can overact. Loud fans, in themselves, aren’t a bad thing. But if the sound is erratic and crackling, you might face some hardware issues.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of things that will make your Mac fan crazy. We’ve also added fixes to causes that don’t have a clear solution.
1. Demanding Software
The number one reason a fully healthy Mac has loud fans is because the CPU or GPU is working really hard. When you use software that puts a strain on your Mac’s resources, it starts to heat up because it has to do more calculations to keep up.
Therefore, video editing and 3D rendering software—or even games—can cause your Mac’s fans to work hard so your laptop doesn’t get too hot to work. Hot computers have to “slow down” their processes (this is known as thermal throttling) until it cools down enough to maintain speed.
You can always quickly force quit apps using the Force Quit option in the Apple menu. And if you want to end a process, you can do it with Activity Monitor.
2. high ambient temperature
Have you noticed that your Mac’s fans have been working extra hard since you took your Mac on vacation to a tropical location? You noticed that your fan is working overtime to compensate for the extra heat in your area.
Usually, this kind of heat can be bad for your Mac, and it can get to a point where the fans can’t do much to help.
The ambient temperature range for using your Mac shouldn’t exceed 27 degrees C (80 degrees F), and as long as your Mac doesn’t go over 70 degrees C (158 degrees F), it should be fine. You can learn more about PC operating temperatures in our dedicated guide.
It’s a good idea to use your Mac in a temperature-controlled environment so as not to damage it and prevent fans from whistling so loudly. And always try to avoid direct sunlight.
3. Running multiple apps or browser tabs
We mentioned earlier that demanding software can cause your Mac to overheat and the fans to be too loud. But you should also note that multiple instances of non-demanding apps running at the same time can cause your CPU and GPU to overwork and, in turn, make your fan buzz even louder.
The same applies to browser tabs. Browsers can be very resource-intensive apps, and having so many tabs open at once is like having multiple instances of your browser open at once. So, if you’re in the habit of not closing things after you’re done, this could be the reason why your Mac’s fans go crazy when you use it.
4. Poor ventilation
Using multiple displays is taxing on your Mac’s GPU, which is much more apparent when using a high-resolution display. Therefore, it’s best to unplug one of the monitors when you hear your Mac’s fans spinning so loudly – especially for long periods.
5. Background Processes
If you’ve stopped all applications from closing, and your Mac doesn’t seem to have anything serious open, but your fans are still spinning like crazy, it might be a background process eating up your computer resources. Doing.
The best way to check for them is to launch Activity Monitor (from Launchpad or using Spotlight search) and click on the CPU tab. Here, you’ll see what’s draining your PC’s resources.
You can end the process by selecting it and clicking the X icon at the top of the window. Be careful not to stop any vital processes, and make sure you know what you’re ending before you end it.
6. SMC and PRAM/NVRAM issues
Intel Macs store hardware instructions in SMC and PRAM/NVRAM. How does your computer know it was silent when you turn it on after shutdown.
If the instructions on them affect your fan, it could be causing it to spin loudly for no reason. There are different ways to reset it depending on what type of Mac you use, but we’ve listed all the methods in our guide on resetting the SMC and PRAM/NVRAM.