How to check your Mac’s temperatures

Learning how to check the temperature of your Mac can be a great step in extending the life of your computer, especially if you’re using an older Intel-based model. So far, Apple Silicon Macs and MacBooks run cool enough that overheating isn’t a big concern. At the same time, it can be quite satisfying to check exactly how cool your new Mac is keeping.

If temperature readings are rising to higher levels, it may be time to spring clean your Mac to clean out the vents, or consider upgrading components to better handle the current workload. In this guide, we will describe how to accurately determine the temperature on MacOS for Intel and Apple Silicon. It is possible to check on the spot, as well as continuously monitor the temperature.

Check Apple Silicon Mac processor temperatures with the Hot app

iMazing has developed a free and open source application, Hot, to provide quick and easy CPU temperature monitoring on a Mac or MacBook. This works on both Apple Silicon and Intel based systems. There are other solutions for Intel Macs, listed below, that also provide GPU data, but for any M1- or M2-based Mac, the Hot app is a free app that’s always visible in the menu bar at the top of the screen for the first look lightness.

Step 1: You can download the Hot app from the iMazing website and it’s about a third of the way down on the free app page.

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Step 2: Open a Search engine window and select Applications map. Then drag the Hot app from Downloads folder in Dock according to Applications map. The application can be launched from Launchpad or Applications map.

Drag the Hot app to the Applications folder
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Step 3: Check the menu bar at the top of the screen for the Hot app icon that looks like a flame. The average processor temperature will appear next to it. Open the Hot Apps menu to see more options, such as choosing between Fahrenheit and Celsius to display the temperature.

The Hot application can display CPU temperatures in Celsius or Fahrenheit.
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Get a temperature snapshot for Intel Macs with a terminal

If you’re primarily interested in quickly checking your CPU temperature, there’s an easy way to do it on Intel-based Macs without having to download any additional tools. It’s a special command you can use in Terminal — macOS’s version of the command line — that will start monitoring your CPU temperature. Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Open Terminal application You can find it by going to Dock and selection Applications. Here, look for a folder called Utilities and open it. The terminal should be in these applications.

The Terminal application icon is located in the Utilities folder on MacOS.
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Step 2: With the terminal open, type (or paste) the correct sequence of commands:

sudo powermetrics –semplers smc |grep -i “CPU die temperature”

Now choose input to enter a command. At this point, you may need to enter the login password for your macOS account. The Terminal app can be a bit tricky with this as it usually won’t display the characters you’re typing, so you’ll have to enter the password blindly and then select input again. You do not need to re-enter the command after entering the password.

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The terminal monitors the processor temperature after a successful command.
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Step 3: Give Terminal a moment and it will start producing logs for your CPU temperature. The terminal will continue to create a log every few seconds to show how the temperature changes over time and will stop when you close the application.

Note that the temperature readings will be in Celsius. This is a common format for computer temperature readings, so you’ll need to do a quick conversion in your head to get the Fahrenheit numbers, or just type the temperature into Google for Fahrenheit translation if you’re not used to working with Celsius.

You can use this command whenever you want to read the CPU, but it gets a bit tedious for frequent checks. Let’s look at an alternative option that will work better for long-term temperature management.

Track current Intel Mac temperatures with the Fanny app

What if you want a continuous view of the temperature of your Intel Mac without having to use the command every time? What if you want to monitor the GPU temperature separately from the CPU temperature to help diagnose specific issues or focus on just a specific piece of hardware?

In this case, we highly recommend installing the Fanny app. It’s free, lightweight, super easy to use, and provides constant monitoring of your Mac’s performance, including CPU and GPU temperatures:

Step 1: Visit the Fanny Widget page here and select download files button.

Fanny Widget download screenshot.
Mark Coppock / Digital trends

Step 2: Fanny will download as a zip file to your Mac. Find and select the zip file to open it, then select it Fanny to download it. Confirm that you want Open it.

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Fanny widget icon on MacOS.
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Step 3: Fanny will not open a new window that you can use. Instead, it will add a small icon to the top right corner of your Mac, Three dashes which show Fanny working. Select that icon and a new screen will open.

Fanny widget showing CPU and GPU temperatures on MacOS.
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For Mac desktops and Intel-based MacBooks, CPU temperatures should be below 45 to 50 degrees Celsius when idle and with no applications running. The machine’s temperature will rise quickly when more applications are open, and more demanding workloads result in more heat. Intel Core chips can withstand temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius without any damage.

Macs and MacBooks running Apple Silicon typically idle at a much cooler 20 to 35 degrees Celsius, but can also climb as high as 100 degrees when running demanding applications. Examples include those that process 4K ProRes videos or display large 3D graphics scenes. This is to be expected, and every MacOS computer is designed to increase the fan speed and/or slow down the processor speed to protect against damage.

However, a faulty fan or a blocked vent can become a problem, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it. Ultimately, upgrading components and PCs to newer, more efficient models helps make more difficult tasks easier while keeping computers cooler. We also have a guide on how to speed up your Mac, where most of the solutions discussed can also help cool your CPU and GPU.

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