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Charging the MacBook Pro from the left-hand side can cause temperature spikes, a report claims

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A new piece of research claims that plugging in a MacBook Pro charger on the left-hand side of the device can cause the laptop to run hot, potentially affecting its performance.

Modern MacBook Pro laptops have only USB-C ports on either side of the laptop, with users able to plug the charger in on either side of the device.

However, research published on StackExchange claims that putting the charger in on the left-hand side alongside other peripherals causes spikes in the laptop’s temperature.

The research shows that within four minutes of the laptop being charged from the left-hand ports, alongside a USB-C-to-HDMI adapter, the temperature sensor on the left-hand side of the laptop detects a heat spike. This seemingly causes a process called kernal_task to kick in, triggering high CPU usage and fans to start whirring.

However, when the charger is moved from the left-hand ports to those on the right, the temperature drops and kernel_task stops running within as little as 15 seconds.

Graphs published on the site show how CPU usage spikes every time the charger is re-applied to left-hand Thunderbolt ports.

The solution offered on StackExchange is to leave peripherals plugged into the left-hand side and the charger on the right. Plugging everything in on the right-hand side can also lead to temperature spikes, with fans kicking in to counteract the heat, although kernel_task does not kick in.

Several of the people commenting on the StackExchange thread say simply switching the charging port has solved heat problems on their devices. “Just found this answer after my brand-new MacBook Pro 16in ‘went nuts’ on me with ridiculously high kernel_task CPU usage straight after reboot, every time,” one commenter writes.

“In my case I had an unofficial PSU (Anker) feeding a Lention C13 plugged in to a left-hand side port on the MacBook. I’m now using the official PSU plugged in to the right-hand side of the MacBook and all is fine again.”

Apple is yet to comment on the findings.

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