Q and A: Does my MacBook Pro have a hardware issue?

Q. My MacBook Pro is less than a year old. The battery dies quickly and the fans are always on. Is it time to take it in for repair?

A. It might be, but let’s start by looking at what’s going on in your system to be sure it’s not software related. Go into the Utilities folder and open up Activity Monitor. You’ll see all sorts of processes running. Some you will recognize, some you won’t, but don’t worry about that. Above the list of processes you will see clickable column headers. Click on “% CPU” and make sure it’s listing largest to smallest in order.

What’s at the top? Is there an application that is racking up a high percentage? If it is something you don’t recognize, go ahead and google it. It is possible that it is related to an application that you will know. One problem that I see quite a bit and I hate to even say it for fear of sounding like a Steve Jobs fangirl (oh wait, I am) is Flash Player. If it is indeed Flash, try updating your flash player to the newest version. If you think you already have version 10.1, go ahead and update it anyways as it’s actually 10,1,xxxxxx. It may also be that one of your favorite web pages has a bad flash ad on it that is causing it to run wild. If your processes are all running low and nothing is spiking then it is a good idea to go see your local Apple Specialist.

On a side note, Activity Monitor is a fantastic Utility that I keep open at all times. You have an option to change its dock icon to show CPU usage. Whenever my fans kick on I immediately check to see what’s going on as heat is your computers worst enemy.

Have you had this happen to you? Let us know in the comments. If you have a Mac question that you would like answered, please email ask@macgasm.net

Apple Systems Admin for mac-fusion, which is just a fancy name for a tech. For the last 12 years I've been fixing Macs and we specialize in helping businesses run their company on a Mac. If you like Mac tweets,… Full Bio