Reliable performance is something that people look forward to when upgrading to MacBooks from Windows laptops. Even though Apple almost always meets the promise, you cannot ignore certain significant factors. The temperature of your MacBook is one of them, especially considering how Apple has made use of thermal throttling over the years.
In other words, you should check whether your MacBook is running at the normal temperatures. In this short guide, you will find different ways to check MacBook temperature, including the options for M1/M2/M3 Macs.
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How to check the internal temperature of intel MacBooks
If you have an older MacBook powered by Intel processors, you are in luck. There is a built-in way to check the CPU temperature of your Mac: via Terminal. So, if you are concerned about the internal temperature of your MacBook CPU, you can use the following steps to determine the temperature.
- Open Terminal on your MacBook using Spotlight or Launchpad
- Paste the following command, followed by the Enter key
sudo powermetrics –samplers smc |grep -i “CPU die temperature”
- The Terminal will ask you to enter the Mac’s administrator password
- Once you have entered the password, you can view the CPU temperature on the screen
There are a couple of limitations, though. One, this method works only on Intel-based Macs. If you have an M1/M2/M3 Mac, this Terminal command won’t do any good. Two, this command shows you the temperature of only the CPU die. While it is enough to estimate the system load, you may need to know the temperature of other components like RAM and SSD. In those instances, Terminal won’t help you.
On the bright side, you can use many third-party apps to check the temperature of Intel-based MacBooks. For instance, our pick for M1/M2 Macs, TG Pro, works with Intel-powered MacBooks as well. We will discuss these things in detail later.
How to check the internal temperature of MacBooks
As of now, there is no built-in option on macOS to check the internal temperature of your MacBook. The Terminal command does not show the CPU die temperature, either. Therefore, we have to rely on third-party apps to monitor the internal temperature of MacBook components. On the bright side, you have quite a few options to choose from.
Using TG Pro
TG Pro is a popular utility that helps you monitor the temperature of your Mac’s internal components. It is advertised as a tool to help you increase the lifespan of your Mac by diagnosing hardware issues. It also has some powerful features like fan speed control and auto-cooling algorithm. While these additional features are optional, getting to know the MacBook internal temperature using TG Pro is easy.
- You have to download the TG Pro installation file from the official website
- Once you have completed the installation, you can open the TG Pro app using Launchpad or Spotlight Search
- As soon as you open the TG Pro app, you can see a real-time chart of internal components and their temperature.
There is also an option to filter the results you see on the screen. For instance, you can click CPU if you want to know only the temperature status of individual CPU cores. In the same way, you can focus on the different components on your MacBook.
It is also impressive that TG Pro lets you set up notification triggers. For instance, you can get notifications when the temperature of a specific component exceeds the limit. These notifications will help you stay away from thermal throttling and improve the health of your MacBook eventually. Read our full TG Pro review for more.
Other options to check temperature
Please keep in mind that TG Pro is one of the many options you can choose from. For instance, if you want an app that shows advanced system information, you can go for iStat Menus or Sensei. You should also check out our comprehensive guide on the best system monitor apps for Mac.
Since these apps are designed to analyze the overall performance of your Mac, they will definitely have a component to monitor the current temperature of your Mac’s internals. And, most of these apps work with both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs.
Now, you know how to check MacBook temperature for both Intel and Apple Silicon models. But you need some more context on the recommended temperature levels for MacBooks before making any diagnostic or repair-related decisions. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
About the recommended temperatures for MacBooks
There are two temperature levels that you should consider while dealing with MacBooks: the ambient and the internal temperatures.
- Ambient Temperature of MacBook
Ambient temperature refers to the temperature in the place where you have kept your MacBook. According to Apple, you must keep the device within the acceptable temperature range if you need maximum speed and performance. This particular range is between 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius.)
You have to make sure that you do not leave your MacBook in a parked car or block its ventilation so that the device stays in the recommended temperature range. But, as you can guess, the whole point of maintaining an acceptable ambient temperature is that ambient temperature can impact the internal temperature of your Mac.
- Internal Temperature of MacBook
Internal temperature refers to the temperature of the internal components of your MacBook, including the CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD, etc. However, Macs are equipped with far more temperature sensors for components like the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth controllers. These components also need to remain within the recommended temperature range for optimal performance. And some of them are more important than others.
For instance, the CPU temperature of your Mac is one of the most important figures. It will have an impact on whether your MacBook is thermal throttled. While the temperature of other components may not be a huge problem, you cannot ignore an always-hot SSD or RAM. But the problem is that there is no universally recommended CPU temperature for MacBooks, as the number varies based on the device model.
- Some Temperature Recommendations
As a general rule of thumb, it is great if your MacBook CPU keeps in sync with the room temperature, which is between 70F and 85F. But you should keep in mind that the CPU temperature will rise when the system is handling hefty tasks. For instance, you should expect the CPU temperature to rise by 10F or 20F when you render a video file on iMovie or FCP.
However, if you find that your MacBook maintains a higher temperature range even when it is idle, you need to take some action. It is also important to note that the apps we have covered will check only the internal temperature of your MacBook, not the ambient temperature.
Therefore, you have to take care of the ambient temperature on your own!
Can you check the temperature of your MacBook Pro?
Yes, you can check the temperature of your MacBook Pro effortlessly. If you have an Intel-based MacBook, you can use a Terminal command to check the temperature. On the other hand, if you have an M1/M2/M3 model with you, you may need a third-party app.
Does Mac have a temperature monitor?
All MacBooks are equipped with a number of temperature sensors. These are placed alongside components such as the CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD, battery, Wi-Fi, and Thunderbolt modules. However, macOS does not show the raw temperature from these sensors. To access this data, you need third-party monitor apps or a command via Terminal.
How do I know if my MacBook is overheating?
If you have a MacBook with a fan, you can check the movement of these fans to check whether your Mac is overheating. In the event of overheating, your MacBook’s fans will blow at the highest speeds. However, if you have a MacBook with no fan (like the M2 MacBook Air), you need to check the MacBook temperature using one of the methods we have covered.
How can I cool my MacBook?
You can follow a number of methods to cool down your MacBook. First, you have to maintain an accepted ambient temperature for the device. Second, you should not put the device under a lot of pressure. These two actions alone can help you keep the MacBook temperature under control. You should also check if the ventilation spots on your MacBook are left unblocked.
The bottom line
We believe we have covered everything you should know about checking the MacBook temperature for all available models. You have an option to build a habit of checking these temperatures or automate the whole process. Either way, you must ensure that you know when your MacBook starts overheating or throttling.