The M2 MacBook Air, announced in June 2022, marked the introduction of the M2 chip to the MacBook Air lineup. The design was revealed to be different from previous MacBook Air models, more like the MacBook Pro.
The new MacBook Air is slimmer than its predecessors, and while it has received positive reception, there have been reports of users complaining about their MacBook Air suffering from overheating and limited performance. Let’s take a look at why this has been happening and what you can do to prevent it.
The anatomy of the MacBook Air M2: Why does it overheat?
There are plenty of good reasons to buy a MacBook Air M2; it’s blazingly fast, as long as you’re not doing too intensive tasks, and it has a sleek, slim design. That slim design is due in part to the fact that there are no fans inside (which also makes it slimmer than the MacBook Pro).
The absence of built-in fans means there’s no way to cool the system when it gets hot. This inability of the MacBook Air to cool itself is what leads to limited performance. There is no way for you to know when your Mac is starting to overheat until you start to experience a drop in performance.
There are two essential cooling components in a laptop that the MacBook Air M2 lacks:
- A heat sink – A device used to dissipate heat from the processor to another large surface area.
- A heat sink: A cooling device that uses fans to disperse heat.
Another issue is that according to iFixit’s YouTube video below, the 256GB MacBook Air only has one NAND chip (due to chip supply shortages), which negatively affects system performance. If you want faster performance, you have no choice but to buy the 512GB model, which is twice as fast precisely because it uses two NAND chips.
How can you prevent your MacBook Air M2 from overheating?
If your MacBook Air is constantly overheating, then you are probably not the intended user. The MacBook Air is the most affordable product in Apple’s line of laptops and is designed for basic tasks like browsing social media, watching Netflix and using productivity apps.
If you don’t plan on using your MacBook Air for editing raw media files and playing hi-fi games, then it’s perfect for you and you’re unlikely to run into any issues. But it’s not the best replacement for the MacBook Pro because you can’t perform resource-intensive tasks on it.
That said, there are some solutions. Installing a thermal pad on your MacBook Air is an effective and inexpensive way to prevent your system from overheating. Thermal pads are thermally conductive sheets that are placed between CPU parts to keep them from getting hot. Testing by 9to5Mac has shown that the MacBook Air M2 performs much better with thermal pads installed.
The problem with this solution is that you risk voiding your warranty if you open your laptop, and you could end up damaging its parts if you do something wrong. There are many YouTube tutorials that will teach you how to do it, but we suggest you get it done by a professional.
Another solution is to invest in a laptop cooling pad and stand, which will help your system breathe better. A laptop cooling pad might not be portable, but it’ll be fine as long as you don’t intend to push your MacBook to its limit when you’re on the go.
Is the MacBook Air M2 worth it?
The MacBook Air M2 is an amazing piece of hardware. Seeing as it’s the most affordable laptop in Apple’s laptop lineup, it’s clear that the number of people buying it will continue to rise. So it’s even more puzzling why Apple would choose not to include a proper cooling system in the M2 MacBook Air.
Despite all the issues, the MacBook Air M2 is a great laptop that’s perfect for people who just want to surf the web and watch Netflix on it.