MacBooks forum

General discussion

MacBook Pro grinding/buzzing noise

by anonymousjoseph / October 4, 2009 7:11 PM PDT

Let me preface this by saying I am probably taking this to the Apple Store about an hour away from where I live tomorrow. For A while my MacBook Pro 13" has been making a loud spinning/grinding noise on occasion. Normally, I'd just shut down, boot up, and it would be fixed. Well, yesterday, that didn't work. After being told by the support guy that my free phone support expired 14 days ago (Mac bought in June), he said he'd do what he could to help. I told him about the noise and held the phone up to it (it is coming from the right of the trackpad). He said he had never heard that before and said to take it in to the Apple Store. I've found an Apple Support article, but it doesn't shed a lot of light on the situation. ( )

So what I'm asking about is:

1. What is making the noise? To me, it sounds like an overactive/misaligned fan. The MacBook Pro also vibrates, and the sound changes volume and tone when I tilt the laptop iv various directions.

2. Is it safe to use my Mac with the noise?

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: MacBook Pro grinding/buzzing noise
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: MacBook Pro grinding/buzzing noise
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
A guess
by anonymousjoseph / October 5, 2009 10:51 AM PDT

I've been pondering the problem, and I have an uneducated guess. It sounds like a fan noise to me. That being said, after having a look at the iFixit teardown, (here: ) it feels like it is coming from the hard drive. I was checking around and I noticed an anomaly in my iStat temperature readings. Heatsink A shows 32 degrees F and doesn't change. This leads me (as does my wallet) to believe it is a bad temperature sensor on the heatsink sending the fans into overdrive. However, due to the location of the noise, that doesn't seem likely. Any guesses would be appreciated, no matter how remote. It doesn't look like I'll get into the Apple Store until the weekend, so any guidance as to if it is safe to use would be great. I am backed up.


Collapse -
My guess,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 6, 2009 2:21 AM PDT
In reply to: A guess

based on your description of the location of the sound, is the Hard Drive.

The HD takes up the space to the right of the trackpad while the optical drive occupies the space above it, under the right end of the keyboard.


Collapse -
by anonymousjoseph / October 10, 2009 1:39 AM PDT
In reply to: My guess,

I took my computer to the Genius Bar yesterday and it turned out it actually was the fan. The guy there said the bearings were faulty and he replaced it, and voila! the sound is gone.

Collapse -
I'm glad to have been proved incorrect.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 10, 2009 6:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Update

Fan, HD, Fan, HD, which would you rather fail???

No Brainer.


Collapse -
by Jerrajerra / January 29, 2010 8:15 PM PST
In reply to: Update

Well you're lucky then! I purchased my macbook pro 18 months ago and took it in to my apple store for a diasnosis.... HDD is a broken. It's outside warranty by 6 months. The guy at the tech desk said that this was a common thing for HDD's to need replacing.Hmmmmm, I think thats rubbish!!! Anyhow, now I'm looking for a 200gb HDD replacement. Soooooo angry!

Collapse -
Not good,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / January 30, 2010 12:32 AM PST
In reply to: HDD

but fortunately those drives are not as expensive as one might think.

They are also very easy to replace and with the aid of your backup you can be back in business in no time.

Unfortunately, the days of hard drives lasting forever, seem to have gone.

I have lost 3 500Gb drives in my iMac but have a 40MB drive in an SE/30 that has been running since 1988

Go figure


Collapse -
by milesdavishatesu / October 14, 2010 1:35 AM PDT
In reply to: HDD

Of course you think it's rubbish. You know nothing about computers.

All hard drives fail. As someone who owns a recording studio and therefore has terabytes and terabytes of the most high-quality drives, both internal and external, I can say from experience, that they all fail after a while.

But yeah, keep assuming someone is trying to rip you off. great way to go through life.

Collapse -
Useful info
by Clover Graves / January 6, 2016 9:35 PM PST
In reply to: Re: HDD

This problem has occurred on my macbook pro. I switched out my HDD a year ago for a SSD, noises occurring most likely from a fan not the Disk. You must have this problem in order to understand further about what is going on. If this has not happened to hardware that you own or have inspected, then any information provided by you is useless.

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

The Samsung RF23M8090SG

One of the best French door fridges we've tested

A good-looking fridge with useful features like an auto-filling water pitcher and a temperature-adjustable "FlexZone" drawer. It was a near-flawless performer in our cooling tests.