Macbook Pro Fan Clicking: Possible Solution

** Update – 12th September 2013 – In the interests of full disclosure I should say that though this solution cleared up my clicking fan problem for a few months, I eventually took the laptop to get the fan replaced. The ball bearings were shot somehow and no amount of fan revving was going to fix it. It was under Apple-Care and was handled with no fuss.**

Those of you that follow this blog regularly (ha, I have delusions of grandeur) will probably have no interest in this post. Yes I know I haven’t written anything for months, but life has been rather busy. When I next get angry about something digital culture related I’ll get back to it.

For now this is just a note that I hope might save some people some time and stress.

This morning I found the left fan in my new Macbook Pro (specifically mid-2010 unibody, but may work for other models) was making a low clicking noise. The feeling of dread kicked in as I expected to be driving over to the local service shop and losing my laptop to the bowels of their workshop for a week. I realise that a clicking fan isn’t that big a deal for some, but when a computer is new (and as overpriced as Apple’s are) you expect a degree of perfection.

Anyway, a quick Google search brought about some DIY answers.

1. Blasting the fan vents with compressed air. I’ve never used compressed air before due to horror stories of the pressurising liquid in some cans spraying out all over your nice shiny silicon. Also one individual who tried this found that during the blasting their laptop made a distinct cracking noise…. not good. Keep away.

2. Open up your Macbook (doesn’t void warranty as long as you’re careful, you’re allowed to open it for harddrive and RAM replacements) and clean and re-grease the fan. I’m not averse to cracking open laptops, done it plenty of times before, but I was hesitant that I should be the one cracking open a brand new laptop and I wasn’t too confident that I wouldn’t end up accidentally greasing up more than the fan. Guide is here if interested.

3. So my SOLUTION which WORKED, for those of you screaming ‘Save me from the clicking!’ is this. I grabbed smcFanControl and used it to force the fans up to full speed, left it running for 30 seconds and then let the speed drop again, result, clicking is gone, leaving me to conclude that it was probably a hair or bit of dust gunking up the fan blades. Laptop is redeemed, my laptop hygiene standards are not.

This may not work for you but try it before submitting to the service shop where time stands still.

Disclaimer: Obviously you do this at your own risk. Also don’t feed the laptop after midnight.


12 thoughts on “Macbook Pro Fan Clicking: Possible Solution

  1. {I hate MacBook because you can’t double tap click on the mousepad, unlike PCs. Is there a way to fix this?|How do I reset my Macbooks password without the start up disc. I have a Black Macbook with leporead. I have typed rm /var/db.AppleSetupDone and it doesn’t work. Please help me!|I really want a regular white MacBook. But apple doesn’t make them anymore, and my next choice is a 13″ MacBook Pro. I was wondering if there is any major difference between a regular MacBook and a MacBook Pro.|I am selling my unibody macbook pro but was wondering how I go about setting it back to factory settings so that all my data is erased and the new user gets it as they would if it was new? I have 3 discs; OS 5 installation disc, applications disc and OS Snow Leopard disc. Could someone explain what I have to do. Thanks.|I have the samsung t220hd connected to my white macbook. I want to be able to work on my macbook while watching a video on the samsung moniter. What do I need to do to make the samsung’s image in full screen while I work on my laptop?|I would like to play games that are on my macbook pro on the tv since it’s bigger and it’s in high definition. Also, doing daily tasks like microsoft office would be cool to do it from my mac. I want the same material from the macbook screen to show up on my lg hd tv. Thanks! apple macbook

  2. The below time We read a blog, I am hoping that this doesnt sadden me just as much as that one. I am talking about, I recognize it turned out my choice to learn, although I truly believed youd have some thing interesting to state. All of I hear can be a lots of whining in relation to one thing that you can fix in case you werent too busy in search of focus.

  3. I just tried this on a 3 year old 3ghz/8 core pro tower which sounded awful and alarming with the fan clicking…clicking…clicking.

    So, I turned it all the way up, with smcfancontrol and holy crappola – scared the heck out of me because I couldn’t get it to stop! Tried changing the settings back to default low, but no go. I thought – I’m toast – screwed.

    I put it to sleep. Woke it up and it’s running on normal fan speed – whew. And yep, no clicking. Thank you for this wonderful trick. Very appreciated!

    Miles McNamara (Apple user/consultant, blah, blah, blah, since 1984)

  4. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through
    Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing.

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