Mac Cpu Cooling Fan App

When your MacBook's CPU works overtime, its cooling fan kicks in to dissipate the heat. To see which apps are using the most CPU resources, open Activity Monitor and click on the CPU tab.

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This article describes some of the commonly used features of Activity Monitor, a kind of task manager that allows you see how apps and other processes are affecting your CPU, memory, energy, disk, and network usage.

Open Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder of your Applications folder, or use Spotlight to find it.


The processes shown in Activity Monitor can be user apps, system apps used by macOS, or invisible background processes. Use the five category tabs at the top of the Activity Monitor window to see how processes are affecting your Mac in each category.

Add or remove columns in each of these panes by choosing View > Columns from the menu bar. The View menu also allows you to choose which processes are shown in each pane:

  • All Processes
  • All Processes Hierarchically: Processes that belong to other processes, so you can see the parent/child relationship between them.
  • My Processes: Processes owned by your macOS user account.
  • System Processes: Processes owned by macOS.
  • Other User Processes: Processes that aren’t owned by the root user or current user.
  • Active Processes: Running processes that aren’t sleeping.
  • Inactive Processes: Running processes that are sleeping.
  • Windowed Processes: Processes that can create a window. These are usually apps.
  • Selected Processes: Processes that you selected in the Activity Monitor window.
  • Applications in the last 8 hours: Apps that were running processes in the last 8 hours.


The CPU pane shows how processes are affecting CPU (processor) activity:

Click the top of the “% CPU” column to sort by the percentage of CPU capability used by each process. This information and the information in the Energy pane can help identify processes that are affecting Mac performance, battery runtime, temperature, and fan activity.

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More information is available at the bottom of the CPU pane:

  • System: The percentage of CPU capability currently used by system processes, which are processes that belong to macOS.
  • User: The percentage of CPU capability currently used by apps that you opened, or by the processes those apps opened.
  • Idle: The percentage of CPU capability not being used.
  • CPU Load: The percentage of CPU capability currently used by all System and User processes. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency. The color blue shows the percentage of total CPU capability currently used by user processes. The color red shows the percentage of total CPU capability currently used by system processes.
  • Threads: The total number of threads used by all processes combined.
  • Processes: The total number of processes currently running.

You can also see CPU or GPU usage in a separate window or in the Dock:

  • To open a window showing current processor activity, choose Window > CPU Usage. To show a graph of this information in your Dock, choose View > Dock Icon > Show CPU Usage.
  • To open a window showing recent processor activity, choose Window > CPU History. To show a graph of this information in your Dock, choose View > Dock Icon > Show CPU History.
  • To open a window showing recent graphics processor (GPU) activity, choose Window > GPU History. Energy usage related to such activity is incorporated into the energy-impact measurements in the Energy tab of Activity Monitor.


The Memory pane shows information about how memory is being used:

More information is available at the bottom of the Memory pane:

  • Memory Pressure: The Memory Pressure graph helps illustrate the availability of memory resources. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency. The current state of memory resources is indicated by the color at the right side of the graph:
    • Green: Memory resources are available.
    • Yellow: Memory resources are still available but are being tasked by memory-management processes, such as compression.
    • Red: Memory resources are depleted, and macOS is using your startup drive for memory. To make more RAM available, you can quit one or more apps or install more RAM. This is the most important indicator that your Mac may need more RAM.
  • Physical Memory: The amount of RAM installed in your Mac.
  • Memory Used: The total amount of memory currently used by all apps and macOS processes.
    • App Memory: The total amount of memory currently used by apps and their processes.
    • Wired Memory: Memory that can’t be compressed or paged out to your startup drive, so it must stay in RAM. The wired memory used by a process can’t be borrowed by other processes. The amount of wired memory used by an app is determined by the app's programmer.
    • Compressed: The amount of memory in RAM that is compressed to make more RAM memory available to other processes. Look in the Compressed Mem column to see the amount of memory compressed for each process.
  • Swap Used: The space used on your startup drive by macOS memory management. It's normal to see some activity here. As long as memory pressure is not in the red state, macOS has memory resources available.
  • Cached Files: Memory that was recently used by apps and is now available for use by other apps. For example, if you've been using Mail and then quit Mail, the RAM that Mail was using becomes part of the memory used by cached files, which then becomes available to other apps. If you open Mail again before its cached-files memory is used (overwritten) by another app, Mail opens more quickly because that memory is quickly converted back to app memory without having to load its contents from your startup drive.

For more information about memory management, refer to the Apple Developer website.


Dxf drawing software. The Energy pane shows overall energy use and the energy used by each app:

  • Energy Impact: A relative measure of the current energy consumption of the app. Lower numbers are better. A triangle to the left of an app's name means that the app consists of multiple processes. Click the triangle to see details about each process.
  • Avg Energy Impact: The average energy impact for the past 8 hours or since the Mac started up, whichever is shorter. Average energy impact is also shown for apps that were running during that time, but have since been quit. The names of those apps are dimmed.
  • App Nap: Apps that support App Nap consume very little energy when they are open but not being used. For example, an app might nap when it's hidden behind other windows, or when it's open in a space that you aren't currently viewing.
  • Preventing Sleep: Indicates whether the app is preventing your Mac from going to sleep.

More information is available at the bottom of the Energy pane:

  • Energy Impact: A relative measure of the total energy used by all apps. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency.
  • Graphics Card: The type of graphics card currently used. Higher–performance cards use more energy. Macs that support automatic graphics switching save power by using integrated graphics. They switch to a higher-performance graphics chip only when an app needs it. 'Integrated' means the Mac is currently using integrated graphics. 'High Perf.' means the Mac is currently using high-performance graphics. To identify apps that are using high-performance graphics, look for apps that show 'Yes' in the Requires High Perf GPU column.
  • Remaining Charge: The percentage of charge remaining on the battery of a portable Mac.
  • Time Until Full: The amount of time your portable Mac must be plugged into an AC power outlet to become fully charged.
  • Time on AC: The time elapsed since your portable Mac was plugged into an AC power outlet.
  • Time Remaining: The estimated amount of battery time remaining on your portable Mac.
  • Time on Battery: The time elapsed since your portable Mac was unplugged from AC power.
  • Battery (Last 12 hours): The battery charge level of your portable Mac over the last 12 hours. The color green shows times when the Mac was getting power from a power adapter.

As energy use increases, the length of time that a Mac can operate on battery power decreases. If the battery life of your portable Mac is shorter than usual, you can use the Avg Energy Impact column to find apps that have been using the most energy recently. Quit those apps if you don't need them, or contact the developer of the app if you notice that the app's energy use remains high even when the app doesn't appear to be doing anything.


The Disk pane shows the amount of data that each process has read from your disk and written to your disk. It also shows 'reads in' and 'writes out' (IO), which is the number of times that your Mac accesses the disk to read and write data.

The information at the bottom of the Disk pane shows total disk activity across all processes. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency. The graph also includes a pop-up menu to switch between showing IO or data as a unit of measurement. The color blue shows either the number of reads per second or the amount of data read per second. The color red shows either the number of writes out per second or the amount of data written per second.

To show a graph of disk activity in your Dock, choose View > Dock Icon > Show Disk Activity.


The Network pane shows how much data your Mac is sending or receiving over your network. Use this information to identify which processes are sending or receiving the most data.

The information at the bottom of the Network pane shows total network activity across all apps. The graph moves from right to left and updates at the intervals set in View > Update Frequency. The graph also includes a pop-up menu to switch between showing packets or data as a unit of measurement. The color blue shows either the number of packets received per second or the amount of data received per second. The color red shows either the number of packets sent per second or the amount of data sent per second.

To show a graph of network usage in your Dock, choose View > Dock Icon > Show Network Usage.


In macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 or later, Activity Monitor shows the Cache pane when Content Caching is enabled in the Sharing pane of System Preferences. The Cache pane shows how much cached content that local networked devices have uploaded, downloaded, or dropped over time.

Use the Maximum Cache Pressure information to learn whether to adjust Content Caching settings to provide more disk space to the cache. Lower cache pressure is better. Learn more about cache activity.

The graph at the bottom shows total caching activity over time. Choose from the pop-up menu above the graph to change the interval: last hour, 24 hours, 7 days, or 30 days.

Learn more

  • Learn about kernel task and why Activity Monitor might show that it's using a large percentage of your CPU.
  • For more information about Activity Monitor, open Activity Monitor and choose Help > Activity Monitor. You can also see a short description of many items in the Activity Monitor window by hovering the mouse pointer over the item.
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One common problem Mac users experience is overheating. Not when a Mac is new, but when they get older and are full of files, images, videos, and apps that slow down processing speeds, causing them to overheat.

So if you’ve been working away and your Mac is hot to the touch. Like hot enough to fry an egg? Don’t worry; this can be fixed. Or what about when the fans are running so loud it sounds like a lawnmower? Again, both are signs that your Mac is overheating.

An overheating Mac isn’t something you want to try and ignore for too long. Apart from the fact the fans are noisy and distracting, and the hot temperature is irritating, your Mac could - probably will - crash and shut down. If you are working on something and haven't saved recently, you could lose important files. Worse than that, you could risk the Mac suffering irreparable file damage, potentially erasing files, systems, and images you need and don't have backed-up.

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Try a set of solutions that help you prevent a Mac from overheating. No more worrying about your computer's health.

Why is my Mac overheating?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this. It depends on how often your Mac overheats.

Assuming this is a recent development, then it could be a sign of an overworked Mac. Too many files, taking up too much space on the hard drive, or too many systems, apps or browser tabs open at once. Especially if they’re heavy programs, consuming a lot of processing space and memory while you are running other apps, such as Spotify and have multiple browser tabs open.

All of that activity can slow a Mac down and cause it to overheat. So most people won’t need to see an expert; this is something that can be fixed at home or wherever your Mac is overheating. Remember, even MacBook Pro’s are relatively compact devices. Excess heat doesn't have many places to go, so when a Mac is overworked, it will start to get hot. What you want to avoid is when it gets too hot, the fans get too loud and processes slow down.

We’ve put together this guide to help stop a Mac overheating and avoid it in the future.

How to stop a Mac from overheating

Firstly, you need to know what is causing the Mac to overheat.

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You can get iStat Menus for the job, a handy app to monitor your Mac system stats, control the speed of fans in your Mac, and quickly identify what’s absorbing so much CPU processing power.

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iStat Menus can’t lower fans below the speed the SMC would normally use, but it can raise the fan speeds.

If you’re notice issues with fans, resetting your SMC should resolve the problem.

Close all of the apps running in the background and anything else that is using more computing power than looks wise. Unlike Activity Monitor, iStat Menus provides users with more data and insights, making it easier to manage to overheat. You can get this from Setapp, along with hundreds of other apps for Mac customers, all for one convenient monthly price.

Once you know what was causing it to overheat, you should be able to carry on working as normal. If it happens again, you may need to look at over solutions. We have a couple in mind.

The first thing to do is to declutter your Mac. Older Macs are going to be full of documents, apps, images, videos you don't need. Just like a house, when all of that clutter gets in the way, you can’t find what you do need. Your Mac struggles the same way, causing it to overheat.

If while you’re tracking your Mac’s performance with iStat Menus you start noticing signs that gravitating towards overheating, try another app from Setapp collection, CleanMyMac X, a cleaning software.

CleanMyMac comes highly recommended, as the easiest, most efficient way to identify problems, applications, and settings that cause Macs to overheat, then clean them. Both apps are available on Setapp subscription and you can use them for free for a week.

When you’re running a drive cleanup, you might find that the files that take up the most space on your Mac are actually quite important to you. Large video files and huge image folders, 3D projects or movie renders, all kinds of important and increasingly megabyte-hungry items.

Consider moving large files into the cloud. It’s a win-win because if they’re important, this way you won’t lose them and at the same time they won’t take up space on your Mac. Whichever cloud hosting provider you choose, there’s a really handy app to manage and share all your files from the cloud, it’s called Dropshare. It feels like a native part of your macOS and works as a single platform for all cloud storage accounts that you have.

Another way to reduce heavy CPU usage is to fix system issues or lighten up heavy apps. CleanMyMac X has a couple of tools for that. For instance, you can open its Maintenance tab and see Reindex Spotlight, Repair Disk Permissions, and Run Maintenance scripts. Simply select these tasks and hit Run.

After that, run a scan on System Junk and when it’s ready, find the apps with the largest cache (usually browsers and messengers) and clean up their cache.
Important: depending on the app, you might lose histories and preferences, but if it’s the reason your Mac overheats, it’s worth it.

Assuming shutting down browser tabs and apps, decluttering and cloud storing didn’t work; you need to look at any physical reasons for an overheating Mac. Check the following:

  • Are you working on a flat surface? Macs more effectively displace heat when on a flat surface, not bed covers or other uneven surfaces.
  • Are you outside in the sun? As tempting as it can be when it’s hot, working outside is one of the quickest and surest ways to experience an overheating Mac. In some cases, they will simply crash.
  • Are your vents/fans covered? Are you using any third-party devices to manipulate the fans? In either scenario, you risk overheating and need to unplug anything that could influence the fans.
  • Are you in a dusty environment? Macs don't do well in dust. Once it gets in the fans, it could cause serious overheating problems.

Assuming you’ve done/checked all of those options and your Mac is still struggling, it’s time to look at an alternative solution. Your Mac could be too full of things that are slowing it down.

How to keep a Mac from overheating

To begin with, you need to define overheating and catch early it when it happens. To monitor the temperature of your Mac, use iStat Menus that we mentioned earlier. It looks into your system and gives you timely updates on CPU temperature, which is a key indicator you need to prevent overheating.

iStat Menus can’t lower fans below the speed the System Management Controller (SMC) would normally use, but it can raise the fan speeds.

Then, you can get timely notifications from iStat Menus when your Mac is near dangerous temperature. This will help you mitigate potential damage or data loss and tone down CPU usage before anything crashes.

That’s about it on the subject of Mac getting hotter than it should. We hope this guide has been of help and if you want to make sure your favorite computer stays cool, get iStat Menus with monitors and CleanMyMac with maintenance tools in Setapp, that should cover your needs.

Prevent Mac overheating

As your Mac is getting older, don't let it get hotter. Here's a toolkit for keeping a computer in a good shape.

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In case after both fixes and manual troubleshooting, your Mac is still overheating, you might need to book in with a Mac specialist. More extensive problems may require a trip to a certified Mac Consultants Network retailer, or Mac support from your nearest Apple Genius Bar. Apple Support can also offer help online or over the phone - you just need to book an appointment first. Take care of your Mac and have a good day. Cheers!

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