Macbook overheating

Bug #921714 reported by mdgill on 2012-01-25
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
linux (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Macbook running Ubuntu 11.10 overheats to the point that it will go into sleep mode or sometimes simply crash.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.10
Package: linux-image-3.0.0-15-generic 3.0.0-15.26
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.0.0-15.26-generic 3.0.13
Uname: Linux 3.0.0-15-generic x86_64
AlsaVersion: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version 1.0.24.
ApportVersion: 1.23-0ubuntu4
Architecture: amd64
 /dev/snd/controlC0: michael 1695 F.... pulseaudio
 Card hw:0 'Intel'/'HDA Intel at 0x90700000 irq 45'
   Mixer name : 'Realtek ALC889A'
   Components : 'HDA:10ec0885,106b3600,00100103'
   Controls : 34
   Simple ctrls : 21
Date: Wed Jan 25 12:50:11 2012
HibernationDevice: RESUME=UUID=9d79cd0d-0bc3-48be-9735-8d03f949ed6b
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" - Release amd64 (20111012)
MachineType: Apple Inc. MacBook4,1
 PATH=(custom, no user)
ProcKernelCmdLine: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-3.0.0-15-generic root=UUID=40ab3461-d76c-40dd-b47b-0b2b02e903f6 ro quiet splash vt.handoff=7
 linux-restricted-modules-3.0.0-15-generic N/A
 linux-backports-modules-3.0.0-15-generic N/A
 linux-firmware 1.60
SourcePackage: linux
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install) 02/09/08
dmi.bios.vendor: Apple Inc.
dmi.bios.version: MB41.88Z.00C1.B00.0802091535
dmi.board.asset.tag: Base Board Asset Tag Mac-F22788A9
dmi.board.vendor: Apple Inc.
dmi.board.version: PVT
dmi.chassis.asset.tag: Asset Tag#
dmi.chassis.type: 2
dmi.chassis.vendor: Apple Inc.
dmi.chassis.version: Mac-F22788A9
dmi.modalias: dmi:bvnAppleInc.:bvrMB41.88Z.00C1.B00.0802091535:bd02/09/08:svnAppleInc.:pnMacBook4,1:pvr1.0:rvnAppleInc.:rnMac-F22788A9:rvrPVT:cvnAppleInc.:ct2:cvrMac-F22788A9: MacBook4,1
dmi.product.version: 1.0
dmi.sys.vendor: Apple Inc.

mdgill (michaelgill1969) wrote :
Brad Figg (brad-figg) on 2012-01-25
Changed in linux (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Phil. V (philip.v) on 2012-01-25
tags: added: kernel-therm macbook
Joseph Salisbury (jsalisbury) wrote :

Do you know if this issue happened in previous version of Ubuntu, or is this a new issue?

Would it be possible for you to test the latest upstream kernel? It will allow additional upstream developers to examine the issue. Refer to . If possible, please test the latest v3.2 kernel[1] (Not a kernel in the daily directory). Once you've tested the upstream kernel, please remove the 'needs-upstream-testing' tag(Only that one tag, please leave the other tags). This can be done by clicking on the yellow pencil icon next to the tag located at the bottom of the bug description and deleting the 'needs-upstream-testing' text.

If this bug is fixed by the mainline kernel, please add the following tag 'kernel-fixed-upstream-KERNEL-VERSION'. For example, if kernel version 3.2-rc1 fixed the issue, the tag would be: 'kernel-fixed-upstream-v3.2-rc1'.

If the mainline kernel does not fix this bug, please add the tag: 'kernel-bug-exists-upstream'.

If you are unable to test the mainline kernel, for example it will not boot, please add the tag: 'kernel-unable-to-test-upstream'. If you believe this bug does not require upstream testing, please add the tag: 'kernel-upstream-testing-not-needed'.

Once testing of the upstream kernel is complete, please mark this bug as "Confirmed".

Thanks in advance.


tags: added: kernel-da-key needs-upstream-testing
Changed in linux (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
mdgill (michaelgill1969) on 2012-01-26
Changed in linux (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
tags: added: kernel-bug-exists-upstream
mdgill (michaelgill1969) wrote :

Tested using v3.2.1 upstream kernels for 64-bit found here:

Same problem - if I do a heavy task, like file transfers to/from external drive and internal drive, the Macbook goes to sleep and I must log back in, repeatedly. This problem also occurs, for me, when viewing flash video in Firefox and sometimes with Dropbox (which occassionally consumes 100% of one of the CPUs).

It did fix a problem with the b43 wifi driver (non-standard b43-fwcutter driver) so now I get graded signal bars whereas before it was on full bars or off no bars.

Should I uninstall this kernel?

tags: removed: needs-upstream-testing
mdgill (michaelgill1969) wrote :

The report says I'm using 11.10 Oneiric, but I am actually using Maverick. I don't know if there is a difference.

Joseph Salisbury (jsalisbury) wrote :

Hmm, one think you might want to try is upgrading to a newer release, since Maverick is EOL as of April 2012:

mdgill (michaelgill1969) wrote :

OK, I'm an idiot. I am using Oneiric 11.10, not Maverick 10.10. I was thinking that Oneiric was the name for the next LTS. So, I have a fresh install of Oneiric 11.10, now upgraded to the 3.2.1 upstream kernel, which has the same overheating issue as the standard 11.10. I had the same issue with 11.04.

Joseph Salisbury (jsalisbury) wrote :

Was there a version of Ubuntu that did not have this overheating issue, or have you always see this?

nshiell (nshiell) wrote :

Confirmed, it seems as though the CPU Frequency is locked to the highest setting?
BTW I have installed a unity applet that allows setting a lower CPU speed, this seems to allow things to cool down allot while still being usable. It is not a fix as the apps are not reliable and rely on user intervention to prevent possible hardware damage, they are mainly for extending battery life if your away from your charger etc.

Anecdotally I don't remember my laptop manifesting this power frequency bug with Ubuntu 11.04 and Ubuntu 10.10 and 10.04, so I believe it is a bug introduced in 11.10?

I also have an intermittent issue where by folding my MacBook 2,1 up while on battery fails to put the laptop to sleep. I had this last week when I found my rucksack was warm and found my laptop had been left fully powered (CPU frequency at max) while stowed away in my bag without any ventilation (for about 2hrs)! I'm not sure whether this should be part of this bug or a new bug?

mdgill (michaelgill1969) wrote :

This problem began for me with 11.04. I just upgraded (which I didn't want to do) to 11.10, hoping the problem would be fixed.

There was no overheating problem with 10.04 LTS. I tried to roll back and reinstalled 10.04, but then I remembered the Network Manager problems and the problems with trying to get the Macbook third speaker to work in that version. 11.04/10 are much better despite the overheating. I have been using Ubuntu since about ver. 8 and the only time I had problems with overheating was when I was leaving Boinc running in the background at 100%. Anyway, Ubuntu versions have improved for Macbooks with every new release, so I would like to get this problem fixed before 12.04 LTS final, but I guess I am now using the latest Precise kernel because I installed the wrong upstream kernel.

My partial fix now has been to limit Dropbox using cpulimit. Unfortunately, plugin-container (for flash and html5 video) does not work well running under cpulimit. I would like to limit file copies using cpulimit, but I don't know how. I am hoping I can figure out how to cpulimit dejavu for backups.

Regardless, the Macbook is uncomfortably hot even when running at 50% of both CPUs. Macbooks have a problem with the batteries puffing up and interfering with the trackpad, I guess when the batteries get hot. My battery is now not only puffed, but the casing has completely split apart and now falls out of the enclosure when I pick up the Macbook! I would like to get this problem resolved before investing in a new battery.

Joseph Salisbury (jsalisbury) wrote :

Instead of rolling completely back to 10.04, you could run just the 10.04 kernel(Until this bug is fixed), if it resolves the overheating issue.

You can download the 10.04 kernel .deb file from:

mdgill (michaelgill1969) wrote :

Tentatively, I think I have this beat. Using the steps below, my system has not gone into sleep mode as a result of overheating. I tested with Dropbox consuming 100% of one of the CPUs and by copying a 30 GB file from an external USB drive to my Desktop. The file transfer averaged 78 degrees and did not cause the system to go into sleep mode; before, temps would go into the 90s and trigger sleep mode or a crash. Without the big CPU hogs running, my system averages in the lower 60s; before, it averaged in the 70s and 80s. I will certainly be doing future installations using grub2-efi.

1. In order to get your fan speed to adjust correctly, first be sure to purge applesmc-dkms and macfanctld using apt-get or "Mark for Complete Removal" using Synaptic. Then, steps 1 through 9 here - - and be sure to purge applesmc-dkms and macfanctld using apt-get or "Mark for Complete Removal" using Synaptic. Then, to monitor my temperatures and fan speed, I downloaded psensors from the Ubuntu Software Center instead of the remaining steps.

2. In order to get the system to stop generating so much heat in the first place, configure grub2 to boot from EFI. As explained in many posts here - - the MBR grub seems to cause the overheating issues (perhaps due to the video drivers in Macbooks with integrated+discrete graphics - - but my MB 4,1 seems to have only an integrated GMA X3100 GPU and I did nothing to it after switching to the grub2-efi). How to do this depends on how your system was installed. For reference -

The preceding applies to Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric on a Macbook 4,1 (early 2008) although the references should explain the procedure for other configurations.

Changed in linux (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged

mdgill, this bug was reported a while ago and there hasn't been any activity in it recently. We were wondering if this is still an issue? If so, could you please test for this with the latest development release of Ubuntu? ISO images are available from .

If it remains an issue, could you please run the following command in the development release from a Terminal (Applications->Accessories->Terminal), as it will automatically gather and attach updated debug information to this report:

apport-collect -p linux <replace-with-bug-number>

If reproducible, could you also please test the latest upstream kernel available (not the daily folder) following ? It will allow additional upstream developers to examine the issue. Once you've tested the upstream kernel, please comment on which kernel version specifically you tested. If this bug is fixed in the mainline kernel, please add the following tags:

where VERSION-NUMBER is the version number of the kernel you tested. For example:

This can be done by clicking on the yellow circle with a black pencil icon next to the word Tags located at the bottom of the bug description. As well, please remove the tag:

If the mainline kernel does not fix this bug, please add the following tags:

As well, please remove the tag:

Once testing of the upstream kernel is complete, please mark this bug's Status as Confirmed. Please let us know your results. Thank you for your understanding.

Changed in linux (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Incomplete
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

[Expired for linux (Ubuntu) because there has been no activity for 60 days.]

Changed in linux (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Expired
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