Does clamshell mode reduce lifespan due to heat?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 3, 2009
Los Angeles
I been playing some games on my rMBP in clamshell mode as having 2 screens causes framerate to drop and I don't want the CPU/GPU to render a screen on laptop side that I don't use.

My main concern to this approach is the heat generated, does clamshell mode trap more heat? will the heat damage the laptop screen if used for long periods of the time?


macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
It's designed to work in clamshell mode. My last MacBook spent its life in clamshell mode without an issue


macrumors 65816
Apr 3, 2010
Heart of the midwest
After running my 2008 MacBook in clamshell mode over the course of 7 years and it being just fine. I'd say you're good to go. Apple designed it this way, otherwise it they wouldn't support clamshell mode.

I use it for the same reason. No need to run a second monitor at 2560x1600 eating up GPU resources when you don't use it. Particularly when I play Guitar Hero, it needs to be smooth :) Or Serato DJ with a smooth waveform and such. Go for it!


macrumors member
Dec 9, 2013
Clamshell mode does trap more heat. For most cases, this increase in heat is negligible for the computer's life. However, if you do more on your computer than basic tasks and run the CPU/GPU constantly over 20% usage then you may want to reconsider.

During my first year of ownership, I ran my 2012 cMBP in clamshell mode at my desk and unplugged otherwise. However, when I used it in clamshell mode I was always stressing the CPU/GPU with VMs, modeling, statistics, etc. It was quite obvious (to the touch and by looking at temperature monitors) that the battery was heating up significantly, to 38-40C. This is definitely not good for the battery, and as a result after 200 cycles during the first year I had around 65% health left. My screen is also formed faint ripples at the bottom where the two fan vents are, likely due to prolonged heat.

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
It does not trap a considerable amount of heat, no. Obviously just make sure the actual vents have a clear path of airflow and you should not run into any issues.
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