The Best Method to Keep Your MBP Cool. (IMO)


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 7, 2009
I just thought I'd share these tips in one place in case anyone else is in the pursuit of keeping your Mac cool. I don't think I've seen one of these suggestions too many times. I have a 2011 15" MBP, so hopefully you can understand my quest for lower temps and hopefully an extended MBP life.

I've tried everything from drilling holes in the bottom cover to all kinds of external cooling solutions like cooling stands and the like. Nothing seemed to make more than a 1-2 Celsius difference.

The MOST effective ways of keeping my MBP cool have been a combination of.
  • SMC Fan Control - I use SMC to keep my minimum fan speeds at 3,000 at all times. This is almost inaudlble unless the room is absolutely silent. I could set them to run at 6,000rpm all the time but I value my sanity.
  • Turbo Boost Switcher - Using this App to disable turbo boost makes the single most BIGGEST difference in temps. In most usage situations, turbo boost is completely unnecessary. I'll occasinally re-enable turbo boost if I need to render something in a hurry. You can use Intel Power Gadget in combination with TBS if you want to see TBS at work.
  • GFX Card Status - This app allows you to manually select which GPU you are using which can also help quite a bit in controlling temps. One drawback with this is that you can only power an external monitor with your DGPU.


macrumors 6502
Nov 19, 2012
Thanks for posting these excellent tips.

I've recently decided to use my rMBP 15" (2014 dGPU) as a desktop replacement for my Mac Pro tower however, noticed that the fans ramp up rapidly with the slightest consistent usage (i.e. ~25% CPU utilization by a VM). Further, the temps seem to rise upwards of 90*c quite quickly.

As a result, I sought to use a fan control app which has a "fan curve" feature so as to automatically increase fan speed with an increase in temperature. Some of them that run on El Capitan include:
  • MacsFanControl (Linear fan ramp functions as you'd expect. It is also the easiest to use.)
  • TG PRO (AutoBoost Feature - create rules for when to increase and by how much %)
  • SSD Fan Control (Only seems to allow a fan curve on the left fan based on SMART data from the SSD)

What definitely made the most impact was your suggest to use TBS to disable Turbo Boost. The system now seems to be running IA @ =< 2.5 GHz with GT @ = 0.2GHz under the same VM light use conditions. The fans also don't ramp up both as quickly, and to the same extent.

I did have a plastic case on the unit which when removed, resulted in a temperature decrease of about 3-4*C on CPU PECI. Being a plastic case, it tends to restrict the dissipation of heat from the bottom case of the unit.

It would have been nice to try out the TILT Retina as I've been waiting quite a while for it however, they recently cancelled the KickStarter campaign. Haven't through of using any other laptop cooling pad as they don't meet Apple users' expectation of design, quality, etc.

The last thing I can think of that would make the unit as silent as a Mac tower is to replace the thermal paste. It is widely known that Foxconn applies low quality and excessive amounts of thermal paste to the CPU/GPU. I would consider replacing it with something from Arctic Silver, only if it doesn't void AppleCare (likely would unless the Genius bar did it for you which, I doubt they would). Does anyone have insights into this?


macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
No the best way to keep your Mac cool is to set up apps so they don't overtax the system, and use the appropriate computer for the job you are doing.


Staff member
May 3, 2009
I've used SMC Fan Control, but I find the other steps a bit unnecessary and not really having that much impact - at least with my usage.
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