The M2 MacBook Air has generated buzz for its redesign and its performance, but it’s also getting attention because of reports of CPU throttling. It’s not unexpected: Just like the M1 model, performance slows down during heavy processing in order to maintain a proper operating temperature since the MacBook Air has a fanless design. However, that hasn’t stopped reviewers from using benchmarks and video demos to hype the issue.
One YouTuber has found a clever fix for the MacBook Air’s CPU woes, though. Max Tech placed thermal pads on the MacBook Air’s motherboard, based on the theory that the pads would help disperse the heat away from the CPU so it won’t throttle and be able to maintain its performance.
And based on Max Tech’s testing, the thermal pads worked. Benchmarks taken in the video show that the MacBook Air improved upon the results recorded before the pads were installed, Better yet, the modded MacBook Air actually surpassed the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro in benchmarks. Max Tech also showed that it took longer for the CPU to reach hotter temperatures.
Max Tech’s fix is quite enticing–thermal pads are cheap ($15) and they’re relatively simple to install (you only need to open the laptop which is easy to do). But long-term effects, such as how exposure to the heat affects the pads’ durability over time, are not known. (This leads to the question of why Apple didn’t implement such an easy fix in the first place.)
There’s also the fact that doing this modification to the MacBook Air will almost certainly void Apple’s warranty. So if you want MacBook Pro performance a MacBook Air, you can try installing thermal pads yourself. But you’ll be doing it at your own risk.