Why is MBA so hot when running youtube?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by kulimer, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. kulimer macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2011
    I have tested on several of my friend's MacBook Air. The laptop becomes extremely hot when watching a youtube video.

    The heat part on the laptop is above the F1 to F12 keys.

    Browser tested:
    Google Chrome

    I tried to watch the same videos on the windows laptop, it's not hot. What is going on?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    YouTube uses Flash to embed their video:
    Adobe Flash Player is CPU intensive, thus more power is needed to feed the CPU, which results in higher temperatures and often higher fan speed(s) on mobile computers. As more power is used due to Flash, the battery life of mobile computers is shortened by a good bit.
    To check, if Adobe Flash Player is responsible for less battery time or the heat, go to Applications / Utilities / Activity Monitor and select to show ALL PROCESSES and sort by CPU.

    There are a variety of Flash blockers for all the four major browsers available.
    A Flash blocker does what it says, it blocks Flash content, but via a click on the marked Flash object, the Flash object can be activated and used.

    • Safari: ClickToFlash, for which there is an extension and a plug-in; CTF allows you to download YouTube and other kinds of MPEG-4 encoded video too.
    • Opera: has a built-in Flash blocker
    • Firefox: Flashblock is an add-on to block Flash
    • Chrome: FlashBlock is an extension to block Flash

    Also make sure to have the latest Adobe Flash Player version running, you can get it here.​
  3. Mello1me macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2010
  4. bungiefan89 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2011
    Potential factors at play here:
    1) Mac OS X does not play Flash very efficiently (I think...) and has to work pretty hard to process it.

    2) The MBA case is made of Aluminium, which naturally dissipates heat very effectively but the side effect of this, of course, is a VERY warm lap.

    3) The MBA has all its internal components squished so tightly together, it generates a lot more heat than another computer might (not sure about this)

    4) If the MBA is designed in any way even REMOTELY close to my late 2009 Macbook, then the space above and between the F1 and F12 keys is where it vents heat from.

    I hope this helps. :)
  5. Aras87 macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2011
    have you installed the new flash 11 ? Safari works great for me with the flash 11. Heat is dramatically reduced with the newest version of flash. I can watch flash videos fans running at 2k and with the temperatures not more han 60-65 degree celcius. Of course if you watch vids at 1080p, temperatures will rise a little bit more but still much less than with flash 10!
  6. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Because Flash sucks under OSX. Install ClickToFlash or ClickToPlugin and use HTML5 instead.
  7. bp1000 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2011
    I see this posted everyday and don't get why people have this issue.

    I use YouTube and flash vod / video sites everyday and don't have this problem. Using safari or chrome my CPU usage is normally around 15-20% for flash videos and never goes above about 30% on the vod sites.

    Why do people have this flash CPU intensive heat problem?
  8. kulimer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2011
    That's a pretty thorough explanation, thanks for taking the time.

    @others: I have heard it before, will try it, I just don't like the idea of installing other things to overcome this problem.
  9. kulimer thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2011
    Why are we block flash again? Don't we need flash to watch youtube?
  10. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    No, Youtube is pretty much 100% H.264 nowadays, but on a computer it loads the flash content by default. If you go to youtube.com/html5 you have option to use the H.264 encoded video by default.

    Alternatively the Safari extension "Click to Flash" is awesome as it lets you selectively load Flash content and will also let you choose H.264 when available.
  11. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Yes, Flash is needed to watch YT, but you could try the HTML5 beta of YT (www.youtube.com/html5), or if you use Safari, ClickToFlash (link in the first reply in this very thread). Flash blockers block Flash, but you can click a Flash object and enjoy its thoughtfulness.
  12. Dunbar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Click to Flash plugin makes youtube really slow to buffer on my 13" MBA (2011.) I do like the reduced operating temps from the flash content it blocks from loading.
  13. macbook pro i5, Oct 22, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011

    macbook pro i5 macrumors 65816

    macbook pro i5

    May 13, 2011
    New Zealand
  14. castillo4141 macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2011
    You can either use Flash to watch Youtube or not use it and be unable to watch the videos that are not on H.264 format.
    IF you are going to use Flash, the better option is to use Chrome, deals better with the Flash versions, since it automatically downloads and upgrades Flash to the better version avaliable.
    The temperatures also depends very much on the resolution of the video, higher resolutions cause higher temperatures.
    If you're worried about the laptop, rest assure, it is nothing abnormal. If the CPU gets to hot it can either clock itself down automatically until the temperature go down, or even complety shut down if it goes too high, all of this happens automatically if needed. If you are worried about your laps and your reproductive capacity...it's Aluminium, it's going to be always hot or warm, unlike plastic PCs, wich use the case as a way to isolate the heat.

    The MBA is more cool than any Ultrabook...but don't take it literally.
  15. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    ClickToFlash defaults to loading 720p video, which eats bandwidth like it's the only organism on the planet.

    Right click somewhere to bring up a menu, choose to configure ClickToFlash, and there you can set 360p as the default video size. Should speed things up tremendously.

    Alternatively, hover to the top left corner of the video while not in fullscreen, and choose 360p.

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