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My parents tell me that if I use my MacBook on the bed for a long time, it will get very hot and start a fire, is that true??

asked May 13 '11 at 12:58

iTechnologyz's gravatar image


You could damage your Laptop if its unable to get proper air flow. But no, It should not cause a fire. Just make sure not cover the vents and be sure to allow air to flow under it.

answered May 13 '11 at 13:21

Adam%20Hageman's gravatar image

Adam Hageman

edited May 13 '11 at 13:22

All modern computers have a temperature sensor. If the manufacturer of the computer's motherboard and BIOS were smart enough they will use that temperature sensor and prevent the computer from starting on fire. Some PCs allow changing the warning and danger temperature in the BIOS. With a Mac I would assume the EFI should be smart enough to turn off the computer if it's too hot. Call Apple if you want an official word about that feature.

Also it takes a lot of heat to start a fire. As long as your bed isn't getting singed or too hot to touch you should not be worried about a fire.

BUT, heat can shorten the life of a computer by a lot. Dust or lint along with the restricted air flow can increase the temperature quite a bit. If you can get a hard surface for your laptop that would be much better. I use a seat from a broken chair that has a flat wooden surface for the laptop and padding on the other side for when I do want it on my lap.

answered May 13 '11 at 19:14

Joel's gravatar image


If the soft surface was a pillow stuffed with crushed phosphorous soaked in kerosene, then I would have to say using your laptop on that surface would have a high fire risk.

However, just the fact that a surface was soft in itself would not be terribly risky. Most modern computers have temperature sensors built in so if they exceed a certain temperature (like, 200F) the machine shuts off automatically.

Really it would require some kind of open spark or faulty wire to actually cause such a fire as you describe. I doubt you have anything to worry about, but if you feel your computer gets excessively hot you might check out one of the many laptop stands with built-in fans. I'm using one from Targus that's very nice.

Also, laptops seem to be hottest when plugged in. If you use it without the power brick, it won't be anywhere near as hot.

answered May 13 '11 at 20:01

Duodave's gravatar image


It probably won't start a fire but the fan may suck up some lint and bed fuzz and clog the cooling area. Why not get a cheap chill pad or piece of cardboard and lay that down first then set it on that instead?

answered May 13 '11 at 13:23

The%20Kingfish's gravatar image

The Kingfish

There are a few ways for a laptop to set something on fire, all of which are unlikely. But setting one on a bed or floor is not one of those things unless you soak everything with gasoline or something more flammable.

answered May 13 '11 at 15:51

Josh_M's gravatar image


depends on the comptuer...for a Mac I can't see that happening but for any other type you could over heat the hardware and ruin it if there isn't enough air ventilation to cool it down. Someone I know would leave there computers on their bed and it would get so hot you couldn't touch it.

answered May 13 '11 at 22:23

ambysasa's gravatar image


no way, that would never happen

answered May 13 '11 at 13:11

Zlpha's gravatar image


No. There is a youtube video test to see if one could fry/cook an egg on their laptop (underneath part) when the temp. got extremely hot. Didn't work.

answered May 13 '11 at 13:02

itmacpro's gravatar image


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Asked: May 13 '11 at 12:58

Seen: 3,185 times

Last updated: May 13 '11 at 22:23