Reduce MacBook Noise by Cleaning Fan

For some time my 3 year old black MacBook has been having an increasing whizzing sound from the build-in cooling fan, and furthermore the temperature seemed to be increasing more over time than normal. I was quite sure that the noisy fan and the heat sink was filled up with dust, which would be the reason for the fan to run more than usual. A couple of days ago I finally pulled myself together, and disassembled my MacBook to find out whether I was right.

I found the following guide on how to open the MacBook, and followed it precisely until step number 12:

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From step 12, it was all about figuring out how clean the fan and heat sink. In order to do so, the fan had to be removed from its location.

How to remove cooling fan

The above image shows how to do it. The two screws (marked with circles) must be removed, and the tape (marked with rectangles) must be loosened. Finally the fan can be snapped out of its connector. Removing the fan revealed quite an amount of dust beween the fan and the heat sink, and the fan itself was also covered with dust.  To clean the fan and heat sink I use cotton buds and a vacuum cleaner (be carefull using the vacuum cleaner on the motherboard). I believe the blowing compressed air on the part will be a more safe method to remove dust than the vacuum cleaner.

UPDATE: This is a complete guide on how to remove the MacBook fan: MacBook Core 2 Duo Fan Removal. From this point you can jump to my conclusion in the bottom.

After assembling my MacBook again, I found that the fan is run less that before my little operation, and also not as loud as before. It is not as soundless as when the MacBook was all new, but anyway I can recommend doing the effort of cleaning the fan and heat sink.

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5 Responses to Reduce MacBook Noise by Cleaning Fan

  1. Commentator says:

    Good tip! It’s generally better to remove dust with compressed air rather than a vacuum though. Normal vacuums can have built up static that can damage computer parts.

  2. Yes, I believe you are absolutely right, compressed air is best and most safe way to remove dust.

  3. Alkaril says:

    I used both methods: compressed air and vacuum to clean heat sink from inside and outside.
    Fan will be fixed by cotton buds during cleaning.
    Be careful and do not apply any excessive force to vent.
    Air will make the fan spin too fast and break it.
    The noise is from the shaft wearing out the bearing and it creates the noise you hear.
    Adding a drop of a blade oil into the hole in the middle of the motor will reduce noise and give to fan a long life.

  4. Sofia Milone says:

    My macbook had begun over heating this year (over three years old black macbook), and I searched far and wide for resolutions, and was sick of being told laptops aren’t made for your lap, and that’s running at 80 degrees was normal. I knew something was wrong with it, as it hadn’t always behaved so noisily and it had begun shutting down to black screen due to the over-heating issue.. Finally I decided to open it up and just check if the fan was blocked. Low and behold it was packed with dust and all sorts (yuck).

    Now it runs at 60-65 degrees with most applications open, again. So happy. Thanks for your thread of encouragement!

  5. thank you so much for the tutorial. finding specific info on the black macbook is sometimes difficult. you made it very easy for me to clean my macbook. i’ve upgraded the HD and the ram before, although, without this tutorial, i may have got lost while disconnecting the keyboard and fan connectors. thanks again!

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