If you’ve just installed OS X Lion, the latest operating system from Apple, then you’ll notice a variety of new features. Amongst these are Launchpad, AirDrop, and of course, a bizarre sensation in your fingers if you’re a MacBook Pro owner, as your machine begins to heat up to temperatures reminiscent of CPU use only associated with complex programs or gaming.
Why does this happen? Well, it’s nothing new to Macbook Pro owners. After all – Lion’s only been out for a little while, and a Macbook Pro will heat up considerably regardless. However, even when running nothing at all, a fresh install of Lion when just booted up while heat up to noticeable levels.
This is because Apple haven’t made it obvious to you that your Macbook Pro is actually re-indexing every single file for Spotlight, whether it’s your work project files or your www.o2.co.uk bookmark. If you check your processes, you’ll notice one called “mdworker” and another called “mds” that are, in fact, Spotlight working away to figure out where everything is sitting on your hard drive.
It should finish after an hour or so, but if your Macbook Pro runs hot regardless, here’s a couple of tips. One: buy a cooling pad. From experience, it seems cumbersome as a concept, but it’s comfortable, it keeps your legs cool, and it keeps the MacBook well air-conditioned.
The other tip is to resist messing with your fans, and accept this simple fact – your Macbook Pro’s innards aren’t going to cook themselves if you’re below 100 degrees C. Games will run at 70/80 degrees C, and this isn’t anything to worry about. Idle with no programs running, you’d ideally want to see it sitting at 40 degrees C.
The problem with installing plugins like smcfancontrol (though I strongly recommend it) is that you may become slightly paranoid. “Seventy? Why aren’t my legs falling off? This case is metal!”
Don’t fret. Computer parts are less sensitive than the skin on your thighs, and you’d be hard pressed to push it so hard that it melts the inside of the computer. So allow Lion to settle in, use a cooling pad (if you want, but don’t swaddle the thing in a duvet if you don’t – be smart), and enjoy a cooler MacBook Pro in a little while. The things we do for Steve Jobs.