Has your MacBook ever been burning a hole through your lap or sounded like the fans are running so hard it’s going to take flight? If your MacBook is running hotter than usual, it could be due to the cooling fans and other areas being blocked by dust, which prevents the entire unit from cooling properly. We can show you how to clean out your MacBook so you can get back to your computer work (or play) in no time.
Disclaimer: Please check your warranty on your device. Our warranty states that if a device is repaired outside of our facility, it is automatically rendered ineligible for return for any reason. However, if you’re past your warranty dates for return and you’re having trouble with your device running hot this can be helpful!
Opening up your MacBook to tinker with the inside sounds like a daunting task, however it’s actually fairly easy since you’ll only be taking off the bottom cover and nothing else. That’s all you need to do to access the main circuitry and cooling fans which are just a few screws away.
- P5 Pentalobe Screwdriver: Most Macbooks use P5 screws, if you don’t already have one laying around you can buy a kit that includes a P5 bit.
- Suction Cup: Needed if you have a 2016 model or newer.
- Guitar Picks: Needed if you have a 2016 model or newer.
- Compressed/Canned Air: Our favorite, easy way to get rid of dust.
- Cotton Swabs: Perfect for loosening up stubborn dust and dirt.
- Organization and Patience: Make sure you keep up with all the screws and take your time with this process.
Step One: Removing the Bottom Cover
Flip your MacBook over so that the bottom is face up, take your P5 Pentalobe Screwdriver and remove the screws around the edge of your laptop. Pro Tip: Keep track of each screw and where it goes because some of them are different lengths. This step is pretty much the same for any modern MacBook, except if you have a newer Touch Bar model, we’ll explain more about that below.
Once you have all the screws removed, you can lift up the bottom cover. Some MacBook models also have a few small clips that hold the back cover in place from the center but you can carefully pry up the cover to unclip them.
If you have a newer (2016-Now) MacBook, you’ll have to do a little bit extra. A suction cup will help you lift the lower edge enough to get an opening pick in and to pop open the hidden clips on either side. After that, slide the entire lower case down and you’re good to go.
Step Two: Find the Fans
When you open up the bottom cover you now have access to the internal components of your MacBook. You probably won’t have to look very hard for any dust build up. Next, try to locate the cooling fans, you may have more than one depending on the laptop model. They look like circular black turbines, this is most likely where you have the most dust buildup because cooling fans suck in air from the surrounding area. So, if you have a dusty house you might have a bit of a clean up job ahead of you.
Step Three: Blow out that Dust
Now is the time to take your can of compressed air and start blowing out any visible dust. Don’t go all out as there is a risk of damaging components, but blow the air softly to dislodge any debris.
When you do get to the fans, use your finger to hold the fan in place and keep it from spinning while you use the compressed air. Otherwise, the fan will spin faster than it’s designed to, which can damage the motor and bearings.
If you have some particularly stubborn dust you can use the cotton swabs to loosen things up but the compressed air should do the trick.
Once you’re finished, just reattach the bottom cover and make sure everything is clipped in its place. Then use the screws you’ve kept up with to fully replace the bottom of the MacBook. Now, you should be ready to work, game, or stream videos without the bottom of your laptop burning you!
If all this seems like too much work, you can always just upgrade your MacBook, we know a place.