How to Check MacBook Temperature

Figure out if your Mac is overheating

What to Know

  • Use Terminal command sudo powermetrics --samplers smc |grep -i "CPU die temperature" to view your temperature at a glance.
  • Alternatively, download Fanny to view temperatures more attractively. 
  • Keep your Mac cool by avoiding covering it with anything.

This article explains how to check your MacBook's temperature, including looking at Terminal commands and a third-party app that simplifies the process. It also looks at what to do if your Mac is overheating.

How Do I Check the Temperature of My MacBook Pro?

If you want to check the temperature of your MacBook Pro for a moment or two, it's easy to do via the Terminal app. Here's what to do.

  1. Open Terminal on your MacBook Pro.

  2. Type in sudo powermetrics --samplers smc |grep -i "CPU die temperature"

    MacOS Terminal with sudo command open on it
  3. Enter your Mac's password.

  4. Wait for Terminal to display your CPU temperature.

    MacOS Terminal with CPU temperature displayed

    Terminal will continue to update the temperature until you close the app. This command doesn't work with M1-based Macs.

How Do I Monitor the Temperature on My Mac?

If you'd prefer to monitor the temperature on your Mac regularly, there's a much simpler way than using Terminal commands, and it looks more stylish too. However, it requires downloading a separate app. Here's how to use Fanny to check the temperature via the Menu Bar.

Fanny needs to be downloaded, but you don't need to install it to your Mac to use it. 

  1. Download Fanny from the Fanny Widget site.

  2. Open the app, and it's automatically placed in your Menu Bar.

    MacOS desktop with Fanny app highlighted
  3. Click the Fanny icon on the Menu Bar to view your CPU and GPU's current temperature.

    MacOS desktop with Fanny app open and displaying temperatures

    Fanny also provides information regarding how well the fans perform on your Mac which can help you troubleshoot any potential issues.

How Do I Know if My Mac Is Overheating?

If you're worried your Mac is overheating, there are some simple precautions you can take to avoid the issue. Here's a look at some of the key ways to prevent your Mac from overheating.

Not all of these fixes will work if there's a hardware fault on your Mac. 

  • Make sure your Mac is up to date. Apple releases regular firmware updates for Macs, and it's essential to keep up to date, so your device runs optimally.
  • Avoid using it in hot locations. Don't leave your MacBook in a parked car when the weather is hot outside, and avoid using it in high humidity situations.
  • Use your Mac on a stable work surface. Ensure your Mac has good ventilation at all times and avoid using it on your bed, a pillow, or under covers.
  • Don't cover it. Don't cover your MacBook with anything that could block its fans or cause it to overheat.
  • Only use Apple-authorized power adapters. Avoid using unofficial power adapters that may be unsafe. 
  • Restart your Mac occasionally. If your Mac seems to be struggling and you can hear the fans whirring a lot, try restarting it or switch it off for a time to give it a break.
  • How do I check the CPU temperature of a MacBook Air?

    The methods listed above will work for checking the CPU temperature of a MacBook Air. Alternatively, download the iStat Menus app to monitor your Mac's stats, including CPU temperature, continuously.

  • What is the highest safe temperature for a Mac CPU?

    There's no one-size-fits-all answer for safe operating temperature, as "normal" CPU temperatures vary by processor, outside temperatures, and whether the device is idle or working at full load. Generally, if your MacBook has the M1 chip or the Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, the CPU can safely reach temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius. Apple advises that the ideal ambient temperature when using a MacBook can range from 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider testing your MacBook's temperature when it's idle and then under a full load.

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