How to Monitor and Check CPU Temperature Stats on Mac Computers

Knowing your Mac’s CPU temperature is important to ensure it runs smoothly and avoid overheating issues. This article provides a detailed guide on the best ways to monitor and check CPU temperature on Mac computers.

Why Check CPU Temperature?

There are several key reasons you may want to monitor your Mac’s CPU temperature:

  • Avoid Overheating: Excessive heat can cause performance issues, crashes, hardware damage, and premature component failure. Monitoring temps allows you to take action before overheating occurs.
  • Identify Resource Hogs: Spikes in CPU temperature may indicate an app or process is using too many resources. Checking temps can help you identify and troubleshoot the culprit.
  • Benchmark Performance: Comparing idle temps versus load temps is useful for evaluating cooling performance when benchmarking hardware upgrades or tuning settings.
  • Extend Hardware Lifespan: Keeping temperatures in a safe range reduces long-term wear on components like the CPU and fans, helping your Mac last longer.

Check Temps with Terminal

The quickest way to check CPU temperature on an Intel-based Mac is using the Terminal app:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Enter sudo powermetrics --samplers smc |grep -i "CPU die temperature"
  3. Enter admin password when prompted
  4. View current CPU temp printing repeatedly

Pros: Simple, no installation required

Cons: Only shows CPU temp, doesn’t work on M1/M2 Macs

Monitor Temps with Menubar Apps

For ongoing stats and compatibility with M1/M2 Macs, menubar apps like Fanny and TG Pro are excellent options:


Fanny displays current CPU and GPU temps right in the menu bar.

Pros: Free, lightweight

Cons: Limited data

TG Pro

TG Pro provides extensive temperature monitoring including per-core CPU readings, with customizable alerts and fan control.

Pros: Robust features

Cons: Paid app

Check Temps in Activity Monitor

While Activity Monitor doesn’t show exact temperatures, checking CPU usage can reveal apps causing spikes.

Pros: Built-in macOS app

Cons: No direct temperature data

Ideal CPU Temperature Range

The maximum safe CPU temperature for most Intel-based Macs under load is approximately 195°F (90°C). Apple silicon Macs tend to run cooler at around 167°F (75°C).

Aim to keep your CPU temp below 176°F (80°C) under sustained load. If it reaches the maximum, try quitting apps, increasing fan speeds, or applying a CPU cooler.

Tips to Prevent Overheating

Here are some tips to keep your Mac running cool:

  • Keep fans and vents clear of dust/debris
  • Use a laptop stand for airflow
  • Adjust Energy Saver settings
  • Manage resource-intensive apps
  • Upgrade cooling hardware
  • Maintain air conditioning
  • Avoid direct sunlight


Monitoring your Mac’s CPU temperature helps avoid performance issues, hardware damage, and shortened lifespan. Use Terminal, top-rated apps like Fanny and TG Pro, or Activity Monitor to keep tabs on CPU stats. Target under 176°F (80°C) when possible for ideal hardware health. Implementing good cooling practices also keeps your Mac running efficiently.