This week, Apple released a new software update, weighing in at about 551kb, to the MacBook Air’s system management control (SMC) in hopes that it will finally put an end to frequent and annoying freezing and overheating issues that have troubled some early adopters of Apple’s newest line of notebooks.
The new update specifically fixes the speed and operation of the MacBook Air’s internal fan, which is responsible for cooling the notebook and preventing overheating issues. The fan has failed to perform properly before the update was released, which resulted in random intervals of freezing that left the MacBook Air unresponsive for 10 to 15 second periods (if not longer) at a time, according to several users who have posted on Apple’s support forums (see here and here).
In most cases reported by users, the freezing occurred when CPU-intensive operations, such as downloading, audio and video playback, and the use of resource-intensive applications such as Safari and iTunes. When a MacBook Air were to freeze, users noticed that its internal temperature would rise to abnormal and extreme levels, often causing one of the notebook’s primary processor cores to power down completely. The weight of the operations would then be directed towards the single remaining core, which would be unable to handle the operations, which eventually caused the system to stutter and freeze up constantly.
The freezing issue has occurred more often for MacBook Air owners who live in warmer areas, as the surrounding temperatures only make the overheating problem worse. Unfortunately, a couple of MacBook Air owners report that they are unable to apply the MacBook Air SMC Update 1.0 because their MacBook Airs shipped with the update already installed, even though they still experienced freezing issues with their notebooks.
Apple is expected to continue to look into the MacBook Air’s overheating issue, and many users who have been experiencing overheating issues with their notebooks are advised to install the new update as soon as possible.