over 10 years on 2008-04-01


the thing that frustrates me the most about my macbook air is that the thing seriously overheats. it is casually annoying to have it in your lap on an airplane and get to the point that your legs are sweating… but what really kills me is that the thing clearly seems to turn off a core or two when it gets close to combusting and gets un-usably slow. this has annoyed me the most when watching video on it and/or videoconferencing. the air gets really slow and unresponsive to the point that movies are jerky to the point of unwatchable. the video and audio get out of sync. it sucks.

a while ago i got totally fed-up with the problem and started engineering my own solution… first, i realized that it helped a little to sit the box up on top of a small little cap to give it more breathing room on the bottom. that bought me a bit of extra time before crippling overheat, but it wasn’t a long term solution… so i had to get a bit more creative.

ultimate success requires:

a. a small prop: something to give you 2-3 inches of clearance below the computer
b. ice: cubed would be ideal, crushed will suffice
c. water: tap is fine, fiji if you are a ridiculous person
d. a ziplock bag: fancier the better
e. some tin foil: generic


1. prop the macbook air up on your small prop
2. fill the ziplock bag 1/3rd full of ice
3. add water until ice is submerged
4. close the ziplock bag and double check it is sealed
5. wrap the ziplock bag in tin foil
6. place the wrapped bag under the back left of the air
7. replace every 2-3 hours

great success!!!! laptop stays cool and keeps running… note: you are risking the bag breaking, but gravity helps out here – my belief is that if it were to break it might kill whatever is below your air, but probably not the notebook itself.

i have yet to figure out a portable or airplane version… perhaps igloo (the cooler company) will develop some sort of i-attachment to help out… i knew when i bought the air that certain usually standard things, like an ethernet port, were accessories for the computer… who knew that a cooling system to keep the thing running was also an add on.

direct link: http://drop.io/swl/asset/air-overheating

original swl blogposts and letters 2007-2010