MacBook Air running hot due to 'kernel_task'

MacFixIt reader "Martin V." writes in to alert us about an ongoing issue with his MacBook Air. The process 'kernel_task' uses an inordinate amount of system resources causing his system to run abnormally hot.

MacFixIt reader "Martin V." writes in to alert us about an ongoing issue with his MacBook Air. The process 'kernel_task' uses an inordinate amount of system resources causing his system to run abnormally hot.

Martin writes:
"A few months ago I bought a MacBookAir1,1 (standard hard disk, no solid state) which was then hugely reduced in price (?999). Lately it has been nearly impossible to watch youtube video's (for instance). If I do the machine gets really hot and slows down dramatically. A process called 'kernel_task' uses almost all resources. Just do a search on "macbook air" and "kernel_task" and you'll see this is a widely spread problem"
This issue seems to be incredibly widespread among MacBook Air owners. Upon doing the search Martin suggests, I found a number of threads in Apple-related forums describing the issue.

Possible solution
Apple Support Discussions user "cognita" reports:

"it seems to be temperature issue, i.e. the system tries with the kernel task to avoid an overheating of the cpu/gpu.

those guys here
Plasma Design (update)
recommend a cpu undervolting to reduce this heating. they use CoolBook
you can get it for $10. i just installed it and hope that it helps."

When attempting any of the solutions provided here at MacFixIt or by anyone posting on any site, it is always best to have a stable backup of all your data.

Resources
Read this extensive Apple Support Discussions thread regarding MacBook Air heat issues caused by 'kernel_task' using system resources.
Read this MacRumors.com forum regarding the best settings for CoolBook when dealing with an overheating MacBook Air.

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Resources
  • Plasma Design (update)
  • CoolBook
  • extensive Apple Support Di...
  • MacRumors.com forum
  • Let us know!
  • Twitter!
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