Cleaning dust from a Mac is more difficult than cleaning dust from a PC, but it is doable. Here’s what you should know.
Dust accumulation can be a serious issue for all types of electronic equipment. Not only that, but if you leave the dust for too long, it can turn into gunk, which is more difficult to clean and can cause more problems.
You’ve seen the filth that can accumulate on your keyboard and mouse, right? Consider what is going on inside your computer. If at all possible, you should practice good maintenance skills to keep it from becoming that bad.
Cleaning dust from a Mac is more difficult than cleaning dust from a PC, but it is not impossible. Here’s what you should know.
Three Symptoms of a Dust Problem
Before you open up your Apple device and void any warranty you may have, know that unless you live in an environment with a lot of dander, pet hair, smoke, carpets that are rarely vacuumed, and so on, you probably don’t have a dust buildup problem.
If you’re still concerned that your system is in danger, here are the three most common signs of a dust problem that needs to be addressed right away.
1. Unanticipated shutdowns
Dust accumulates on various internal components, affecting air circulation. Heat cannot escape if air cannot circulate. If the heat cannot escape, the internal equilibrium temperature will continue to rise until it overheats.
Overheating, at its worst, can permanently damage CPUs, GPUs, hard drives, and other components. Modern systems, on the other hand, are adept at detecting overheating and shutting down your hardware before things spiral out of control. Your Mac may be overheating if you experience unexpected shutdowns or restarts.
2. Inadequate System Performance
Another feature of modern computer parts, particularly CPUs, is the ability to throttle performance when temperatures rise too high. Throttling prevents the CPU from working too hard, resulting in less heat.
Few things are more annoying than a throttled CPU because it slows down everything on your system. Overheating may be indicated if apps take too long to load or if your overall system feels slow or choppy.
3. Excessive Fan Noise
As your Mac ages, you may notice that its fans become increasingly loud. You may also notice that your Mac’s fans are constantly spinning at full speed. This could be due to a faulty system setting, but it’s more likely due to overheating.
If your Mac sounds like it’s about to take off, it’s time to learn how to clean your iMac or Macbook fan.
Doesn’t that make sense? The fans are programmed to spin faster as the temperature rises, so if they’re constantly spinning at full speed, it could be due to excessive heat. Cleaning out dust may be a simple way to reduce fan noise.
These are simply indicators! Other problems can cause high temperatures, so make sure you go through the proper troubleshooting steps and diagnostic channels. Macbooks are more susceptible to dust accumulation than iMacs.
If you’ve determined that dust is the source of the problem, keep reading to learn how to get rid of it.
How to Remove Dust from a MacBook
Unlike iMacs, MacBooks must always rest flush against a surface while in use. As a result, their vents are always close to potential dust sources. The problem is exacerbated for laptop users who use them on beds, blankets, carpeted floors, blankets, and other soft surfaces.
We recommend cleaning on a regular basis, at least once every six months in low-dust environments and more frequently in high-dust environments.
1. Fundamental Macbook Care
Before diving into the actual cleaning of internals, it should be noted that a basic maintenance routine can significantly reduce the frequency with which you need to open your Macbook. Keep these suggestions in mind!
Always use a hard surface: I know it’s tempting to use your laptop in bed or on the ground—I do it against my better judgment on occasion—but you’re just exposing it to more dust that way. At the very least, use a laptop tray! Hard surfaces also promote better air circulation.
Keep your home and surfaces dust-free: It’s amazing how many people overlook this one. The more dust that accumulates in your home, the more dust that accumulates in your Mac. Also, avoid using your MacBook in dusty environments.
Blast the fan speed for 15 to 30 seconds: You can manually set your fan speeds with a program like Macs Fan Control. Some users suggest running them at full speed every now and then to dislodge dust particles before they become caked in.
With that out of the way, here’s how to manually clean dust from a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro.
2. DIY MacBook Cleaning Procedure
To thoroughly clean your MacBook, open it up so you can reach all the nooks and crannies where dust can accumulate. It should be noted that opening a MacBook can be dangerous, so do so at your own risk. If something goes wrong, we accept no responsibility.
Always turn off your MacBook before opening it, and remember that doing so will void your warranty, including AppleCare.
Choose your MacBook model from the list of iFixit repair categories to get model-specific instructions for opening the case. Look for instructions on how to open the Lower Case in particular. Use compressed air to blast dust from every open crevice on your Macbook Pro or Macbook Air to clean it. This is going to be a sloppy situation, so take the laptop outside if possible. Never perform this task with a vacuum cleaner.
Reassemble the device, and you should be fine.
How to Clean an iMac of Dust
Warning: There is no easy way to access the internals of an iMac 2009 or later, so you’ll have to disassemble the entire thing. Not only will this cause damage, but it will also void any warranties you may have. You do so entirely at your own risk!
Fortunately, iMacs do not collect as much dust as MacBooks, so you do not need to be concerned. In fact, many iMac users have never cleaned the dust from their machines, and everything still works perfectly. Your results may vary.
1. iMac Basic Maintenance
You can effectively prevent a lot of dust from getting inside your machine in the first place if you follow a basic maintenance routine.
- Wipe the circulation vents: There are vents along the iMac’s bottom edge, as well as a larger vent in the back where the stand meets the iMac. Never use a vacuum because it can cause static electricity, which can damage your electronics.
- Vacuum your carpets or rugs on a regular basis: They tend to collect and produce a large number of small particles, which can be kicked up into the air and settle somewhere else, such as on your desk.
- Once a month, clean your desk: That dust may appear to have settled, but all it takes is a sneeze, a breeze, or even a fist pounding to dislodge some of it, allowing it to be sucked into the iMac.
2. DIY iMac Cleaning Procedure
We’d like to remind you once more that opening up your iMac is a dangerous procedure that can cause significant damage if done incorrectly. If you decide to go ahead with it, we will not be held liable if something goes wrong.
3. Always turn off your iMac before opening it!
Choose your iMac model from the list of iFixit repair categories to get teardown instructions for that model. Make sure you carefully follow the instructions! Even minor errors can be costly in this situation.
Blast the dust out and clean your iMac fan and air vents with compressed air. Again, avoid using a vacuum because static electricity can cause electronic components to fail. Only use compressed air!
Reassemble the device, and you should be fine.
Apple Service Center
If you’re certain that your iMac’s internals needs cleaning but aren’t confident in doing it yourself, take it to a local Apple service provider. The Apple Store may even clean it up for free.
However, even if it does cost something, it may be well worth it. Not only do you eliminate the risk of damaging your machine, but a simple cleaning could end up significantly extending its lifespan.
Other Mac Maintenance Suggestions
If you’re serious about taking good care of your Mac, make sure you invest in AppleCare, which includes free service, assistance, and fixes for specific types of defects and issues.