We’ve all been there. You’re on your laptop and all of a sudden you start to hear what sounds like a fan going into overdrive. Panicked, you pick up your device and it’s super hot. Your computer starts working slower than usual, the battery drains, and you even get the dreaded ‘spinning wheel of death’.
Laptop overheating is a very common issue these days, especially considering how many things we now use our computers for. Work, study, online shopping and even binge watching TV shows and movies – it’s no wonder our laptops get hot! Good news is that there’s a lot you can do to make sure your laptop stays as cool as a cucumber – we detail what you can do to keep it cool and more below.
Why do laptops overheat?
It’s pretty simple: laptops overheat due to a lack of airflow to the machine. An older model laptop might overheat because it’s trying to run too many programs at once, but most newer laptops start building heat simply because their vents are covered or something is blocking the internal fan.
Another cause of laptop overheating is a dying battery. We know this sounds dramatic, but many PC style laptops and older Macbooks have removable lithium batteries that can overheat. A key tip here is to always use the battery until it has almost no charge left, then recharged it. Keeping it plugged into power isn’t great for its longevity and can also attract unwanted heat.
How to check if a laptop is overheating
If you notice the bottom of the laptop heating up, place your hand by the vents and check for hot air. If it’s warm to hot, chances are it’s overheating. If it’s cool or neutral, it’s likely to be working as normal. However, if there’s very little air or none at all (and your computer is running slower than normal) there might be dust clogging the fan or it might’ve stopped altogether.
Cleaning the fan in your laptop is a tricky task, especially if you haven’t done it before. We don’t recommend you fix this issue yourself unless you know what you’re doing, get in touch and we can hop on the case!
How to fix an overheating laptop
There’s one sure fire way to fix an overheating laptop: cool it down. It seems simple enough, but your computer won’t necessarily get damaged if it overheats (unless it continues to stay hot). One of the easiest ways to stop a laptop overheating is to keep it on a hard and flat surface. That way, air can continue to flow underneath your laptop and reach the vents.
Another tactic is to invest in a laptop cooler or cooling pad. These handy stands help keep the air flowing while you’re using your laptop, but make sure you get the right one for your computer otherwise it might make the problem worse.
Ways to reduce laptop heat
As the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than a cure’, so let’s take a look at a few ways you can stop your laptop overheating before it can start.
Keep your laptop out of the heat
This one might sound obvious to some, but one of the best ways to keep your laptop cool is to keep it out of the sun. While it might be lovely to sit next to a sunny window while you write emails or stream your favourite shows, your laptop will struggle in direct sunlight. Your laptop is likely made of a combination of metal and plastic, both of which absorb heat easily. Save yourself the headache and stay in the shade.
Don’t block the air vents
Computer and laptop fans help to keep your device cool – but they can’t do their job properly if the air vents are blocked. Often, the air vents are on the base of a laptop, so if you like to use your laptop in bed or on your lap, they can become obstructed. Not only are the vents blocked, but more dust can find it’s way in.
So, if you like to use your laptop in bed or while kicking back on the couch, invest in a lap desk. They’re great because they often have a cushioned base and a hard surface top, perfect for keeping your laptop away from the heat of your body and that air circulating in and around it.
Placing a laptop stand underneath your device can do wonders for reducing overheating – and that’s not the only benefit. Lifting your laptop higher into the air can also help to make it more ergonomic, as you want your screen to be at eye level.
Get the fan checked out
It might not be anything you’re doing by using the laptop that’s causing the heat: it might be something inside the computer. As mentioned above, dust, pet hair and more can get into your device and stop the fans from working as intended. This will heat up your laptop, make the battery drain faster, and slow down overall performance.
If it’s overheating regularly and you’ve followed the steps above, give our Geeks a call and book your computer in for a checkup. We can take a look at the fan, clean it and make sure there’s nothing else funky going on in there.
Don’t use programs that push your computer
Certain programs can make your computer hotter than others, if they use up a lot of your CPU power. Photo and video editing software are known to really take a toll on your device, so if you find it overheating while using certain applications, you may need to invest in a new laptop that can handle your commonly used software. Of course, this isn’t always the case, so its worth chatting to a Geek before going out and buying a new device. We can even give you recommendations!
Let it rest
If all else fails, turn your computer or laptop off for a while. This is the most sure-fire way to cool it down, and it completely shuts off for a while and drops down to a normal temperature. We all need rest every now and then, and your laptop is no different!