Macs Fan Control: What It Is and How It Works

Control your Mac's fan speed manually or use a temperature profile

Macs Fan Control is a utility app that monitors the temperature and fan speed of a Mac. The app doesn't stop there. It also provides monitoring capabilities and the ability to control fan speed to the desired RPM.

What We Like
  • Easy-to-use interface.

  • Select a temperature sensor to take control of a fan.

  • Set a static fan speed, or have the app use a sensor to control fan RPM.

  • It's free.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't indicate which sensors are associated with which fans. It's possible to select a sensor to control a fan that has nothing to do with that specific fan.

  • Lacks an automated notification system.

What Is Macs Fan Control?

Macs Fan Control provides something that only Apple developers possessed in the past: the ability to control how a Mac's cooling fans perform. This is not something that should be taken lightly. Incorrect use of this app (or similar apps) could cause damage to a Mac.

Apple used advanced thermal modeling to come up with the cooling profiles used in their fan management systems. Macs Fan Control can replace the Apple-supplied fan profile with one that you create. It is geared more toward intermediate to advanced Mac users than beginners. That doesn't mean that if you're a beginner you shouldn't use it, only that you should be careful with it.

Macs Fan Control setting fan temperature profile
Coyote Moon, Inc.

Why Use Macs Fan Control?

There are two primary reasons for creating a custom fan profile:

  • You replaced a component in your Mac (such as drives or graphics cards), and the old temperature sensors were damaged or no longer measure the temperature correctly. Use Macs Fan Control to set a fan speed limit to prevent a fan from revving up beyond what is needed.
  • Your Mac is used in a particularly noise-sensitive environment (such as a recording studio). While you can normally use the default fan control, there are a few short periods of time where you need to silence your Mac by preventing the fans from spinning up beyond a preset limit.

You don't have to use the fan speed control feature of Macs Fan Control to appreciate this utility. You can use the app to monitor the temperature sensors in your Mac, and the speed of the associated fan in RPM (Revolutions Per Minute).

User Interface

No matter how you use this app, the controls and layout easy to use and navigate. The main window uses two panes. The first shows the fans in your Mac and the fan speed. There is also a control section where you can create custom settings for each fan. The second pane shows the temperature of each thermal sensor in the Mac. This uncluttered and simple interface displays the pertinent information you need at a glance.

To take control of a fan, click the Custom button next to the desired fan to display the Fan control panel. You can then select how to control the fan:

  • Constant RPM: You set the RPM manually. The fan spins at the desired speed regardless of temperature or sensor values.
  • Sensor-based value: You select the sensor to use. Then you define the low-end temperature where the fan speed will increase and the high-end temperature where the fan is set to maximum RPM.

To return to the default settings for a specific fan, select the Auto button.

Menu Bar

Macs Fan Control can also display in the menu bar. The menu bar shows an at-a-glance view of a selected sensor temperature and a selected fan speed. You can also choose to use a black-and-white icon or a color icon for the Macs Fan Control menu bar item.

Missing Feature

The one feature that could be added is the ability to add threshold events that would generate notifications and change the menu bar display colors to gain your attention.

Macs Fan Control is available for all types of Macs, including MacBooks and iMacs. The app is also available in a Windows version for those who use Boot Camp to run a Windows environment on a Mac.

If you need an extra level of control over your Mac's cooling abilities or want to see how hot your Mac gets, Macs Fan Control may be the app you need.