My MacBook runs a little toasty… 109 degrees to be exact

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Date: Monday, May 4th, 2015, 20:19
Category: Hardware, MacBook

I was using my new 2015 MacBook (the 12-inch model) for about 30 minutes tonight when it got uncomfortably hot on my lap. Instead of reaching for a laptop riser/cooling stand I grabbed my favorite tool – an IR thermometer (a Fluke 561).

Here’s what I found:

My MacBook is a little toasty... 109 degrees - Jason O'Grady

An area near the center-top of the bottom, near the serial number (just above the CPU component) measured a toasty 109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (around 43 Celsius).

After a little poking around I discovered that Photos was syncing with iCloud, which is known to tax the processor pretty hard. After clicking “Pause for one day” things cooled down briefly (to around 108 degrees F in the same area), but then another test shortly after that spiked at around 111 degrees F.

Purely anecdotal findings at this point, but suffice it to say that there are tradeoffs that come with a fanless notebook computer.

What kind of temps are you seeing?

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4 Responses to “My MacBook runs a little toasty… 109 degrees to be exact”

  1. My MacBook runs a little toasty… 109 degrees to be exact – O’Grady’s Power Page (blog)

  2. I actually called Apple about this same problem with my new Macbook. It was so hot I thought it was going to burn my legs when using it while on the couch. They said “oh no..this is not designed to be used on your lap. None of the apple products are designed to be used on your should never do that”.

    I didn’t measure the heat, but I have to rest it on something….it’s too hot to rest directly on my lap

  3. Three things:
    Part of the problem is that laptops aren’t really designed to work on laps. The point of the rubber feet is to hold it a little bit above a table so there can be a touch of airflow to cool it down. Fuzzy insulating fabric gets in the way of that.
    Also, while your legs might not like that high a temperature, the processor probably doesn’t care. My Xeon can operate just fine up to 55 C, which is 131 F.
    Finally, the temperature you measured is probably a little bit low. IR non-contact thermometers assume that objects all have some average emissivity. Anodized aluminum though has a pretty low emissivity, so it’s probably even hotter than the thermometer suggests.

    Random details

  4. @JasonOGrady get yo temp. sensors going! I’ve been trying out to get a handle on how hot the little bastard is