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MacBooks have been increasingly powerful machines over the last decades; however, there’s one little compromise that’s been hard to beat: a small screen. We all agree MacBook sizes save a significant amount of space, making them suitable for working on the move.
Although the small size is perfect for portability, sometimes hooking up a larger monitor goes a long way in improving productivity. That’s where clamshell mode comes in handy. Clamshell mode has been a fantastic feature in Mac for a long time. However, despite being a built-in feature, many MacBook users are skeptical about it.
Clamshell mode is convenient and straightforward to operate your MacBook with a closed lid. It’s an Apple configuration that disables your MacBook’s screen, keyboard, and trackpad so you can use external devices. If you are not familiar with this MacBook feature, don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll break it down and help you understand what it means and why you should use it. Stay with us.
- MacBooks are designed to run in a clamshell mode without causing severe overheating issues. If a MacBook gets too hot while in clamshell mode, it does a safe shut down, preventing unnecessary damage.
- There’s no harm leaving your MacBook plugged in while in clamshell mode since clamshell mode requires AC power.
- MacBooks tend to run hotter in clamshell mode than in open mode; always check the state of your internal fans and air vents.
- Using a single monitor in clamshell mode duplicates your MacBook’s display.
- What Does Clamshell Mode Mean?
- Does Clamshell Mode Cause Overheating?
- How Can You Tell If Your Macbook Pro Is Overheating?
- Why Would You Want To Use Macbook Pro Clamshell Mode?
- How Do I Fix My Mac Pro From Overheating?
- Final Thought
What Does Clamshell Mode Mean?
Mac’s clamshell mode refers to closed-display mode. This mode allows you to use your MacBook conveniently while the lid is closed. Clamshell mode is a simple way to convert your MacBook Pro into a desktop and give it a larger display.
What do you need to run a MacBook in clamshell mode? You require an external monitor, display cable (usually an HDMI cable would do), Bluetooth or USB keyboard and mouse, and a charger for your MacBook. For newer MacBooks with Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, you’ll need a Thunderbolt 3 hub/dock.
Follow these easy steps to use your MacBook Pro in clamshell mode:
- Step 1: Plug your MacBook into an external power source (Clamshell mode does not work on battery power).
- Step 2: Plug in your external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. If using USB wired accessories, plug them directly into your laptop. If your MacBook has an HDMI port, plug in your external monitor directly. Otherwise, use a compatible hub/dock.
- Step 3: while your MacBook is still open, open [System Preferences] from the apple logo on the menu bar.
- Step 4: Go to [Battery], and select [Power Adapter] on the left pane.
- Step 5: Enable the first option, “Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off”
- Step 6: Adjust [Turn displays off after] to Never.
- Step 7: Now, close your MacBook lid and enjoy your external monitor in clamshell mode.
Does Clamshell Mode Cause Overheating?
There’s a lot of misconception surrounding clamshell mode overheating MacBooks. The truth is, the clamshell mode does not cause your MacBook to overheat. It’s no doubt that MacBooks, like any other laptops, are designed to be operated in open mode. Nonetheless, you can still safely use it in closed mode as long as you keep the air ventilations clear. Doing so will not cause overheating, nor will it damage the screen.
A closed lid significantly reduces your laptop’s internal cooling system and its ability to eliminate heat and further prevent performance throttling. When open, your MacBook dispels heat through the keyboard area—closing its lid blocks this heat from dispelling. So, if you are looking to purchase a clamshell stand, ensure you get one that allows proper ventilation.
How Can You Tell If Your Macbook Pro Is Overheating?
Since MacBooks are made of an aluminum body, the most obvious way to tell if your MacBook is overheating is by touching it, especially at the bottom side of the chassis. An overheating MacBook Pro is often unresponsive or slow, has loud fans, and is too hot to touch.
When your Mac overheats, you should expect to hear loud fans trying to cool it down. This shouldn’t worry you as it’s expected under extreme load. Hardware and software problems can cause your MacBook to overheat.
Even though older MacBooks tend to run hot, newer models also might overheat when memory-intensive tasks overburden their processors. Below are a few common reasons why your MacBook pro is overheating:
- Blocked air vents – Your MacBook’s internal components produce heat and require proper air circulation through the vents. Blocked air vents will cause your computer to overheat.
- Too many running applications – Running multiple applications at once might stress your MacBook’s CPU causing it to overheat as it strains to keep up the processes.
- Faulty internal fans – MacBooks have fans that provide internal cooling. Wrong fans don’t provide sufficient cooling causing your MacBook to overheat.
- SMC failure – System Management Controller (SMC) is a chip that regulates computer hardware components, including thermal settings and internal fans. It ensures your MacBook runs at a stable and safe temperature.
- Too many browser tabs running – Each tab you open on your browser adds a load to your MacBook’s resources and eventually overloads the system causing it to overheat.
- Malware and viruses – If your Mac has a virus or other malware furtively running rigorous background processes; this could potentially cause your MacBook to overheat.
See Also: Why Does My Mac Charger Get Hot?
Why Would You Want To Use Macbook Pro Clamshell Mode?
While MacBooks have impressive Retina displays, some with True Tone technology, sometimes
plugging your MacBook into an external monitor is advantageous over the built-in monitor. MacBook Pro clamshell mode performance significantly increases your productivity. Here are some reasons why you would want to use MacBook Pro clamshell mode:
1. Use Your Macbook As A Desktop.
Clamshell mode basically converts your MacBook Pro into a desktop, giving you a convenient larger screen to work on. This also lets you view more content, especially when browsing or using split-screen. And, of course, all your files will be in your MacBook and can still be accessed on the go.
2. Wider Screen For Graphical Applications
While MacBooks come with 13-inch or 15-inch built-in displays, clamshell mode lets you connect your MacBook to wider screens. Wider screens are perfect for viewing graphical applications such as spreadsheets, databases, design applications, editing programs, etc. Keep in mind MacBook Pro clamshell mode heat more with higher screen resolution and the number of external monitors plugged in.
3. Portrait Mode For Long Texts
Are you a programmer? Do you read long texts, reports, or these a lot? Doing this on a 13-inch screen means endless scrolling, which can sometimes be exhausting. You can hook up a larger tiltable monitor using clamshell mode and use it in portrait mode. It makes it easier to read long text or write long lines of code.
4. Bigger Screen For Movies And Games
If you are a gamer or movie lover, expanding your MacBook screen in clamshell mode takes your entertainment to the next level. You can hook up your computer to a 50-inch monitor and enjoy a higher video resolution with additional sharpness and details than your MacBook.
How Do I Fix My Mac Pro From Overheating?
As aforementioned, several reasons could cause your MacBook to overheat; either software or hardware issues or sometimes both. Fortunately, you can directly resolve the problem after you identify what’s causing your MacBook to overheat.
Follow these quick and easy steps to fix your MacBook Pro from overheating and enjoy a slick, smooth, and silent performance:
1. Check Your Internal Fans
Excessive fan noise is a sign of a faulty fan. For proper MacBook cooling, internal fans should run smoothly. Use Apple Diagnostics to check the state of your MacBook’s internal performance. Here is how:
- Step 1: Connect your MacBook Pro to a power source.
- Step 2: Disconnect all external peripherals.
- Step 3: Restart your computer. Press and hold down [D] while it boots. This should open a hardware scan. Once the scanning process is complete, you’ll see the results on your screen.
- Step 4: if there is a PFF error code on the scan results, there is a problem with your MacBook fans that requires immediate fixing.
2. Unblock The Air Vents
MacBooks require proper ventilation to prevent overheating. Always ensure your MacBook vents are clear for adequate cooling. Whenever possible, do not use your MacBook on soft surfaces; instead, on flat and hard surfaces, perfect for maintaining airflow.
3. Clean Your Macbook
Over time, dust and debris accumulate within your computer, blocking vital hardware components. In such cases, a good clean-up process is required to get your MacBook running smoothly again.
To clean your MacBook effectively and safely, open the bottom panel. Use a hand vacuum or blower to clear away dust and debris from the vents and fan. Carefully wipe any remaining dirt using a clean, dry piece of cloth. Close the bottom panel afterward.
4. Close Unnecessary Browser Tabs
Too many browser tabs running concurrently can potentially overwork your MacBook CPU. Close any unused browser tabs to prevent overload on the CPU that might cause overheating. Some browsers have a task management tool that lets you detect and close browser tabs that use up more computer resources.
5. Reset The Smc
Resetting the system management controller is a safe and easy fix for most MacBook issues. It also resolves chip errors that might cause your computer to heat up. Here is how to reset the SMC:
- Step 1: Turn off your MacBook.
- Step 2: Press and hold down [Power] + [Option] + [Control] + [Shift] keys for about 10 seconds.
- Step 3: Once the Apple logo appears, release all the keys and let your MacBook boot normally.
6. Minimize Multitasking
Usually, computers have a limited amount of computing ability. Overheating is guaranteed if you try to push your MacBook beyond its computing power by intensive multitasking. Even low-impact programs can overwork the CPU if several are running simultaneously. Minimizing the number of running applications helps regulate your MacBook’s internal temperature, thus preventing overheating.
Generally, laptops, including MacBooks, are designed to operate in fully open mode. However, clamshell mode makes it possible to connect a larger external display and run your MacBook Pro with its lid closed. Clamshell mode offers lots of benefits compared to open mode. If you are a programmer, video editor, or graphics designer, this is something you should definitely try.
We have given you all the tips you need to operate your MacBook in a clamshell mode in this guide safely. We hope you found it informative. Make sure your closed MacBook has precise ventilation and is plugged into an external power source. Also, when buying a clamshell mode stand, consider one that allows unrestricted airflow to your MacBook.