Redditor mnsl0826 decided to save some space by standing up his M1 Mac mini vertically at the base of his monitor, rather than laying it flat. It worked for him, but posting about it on Reddit generated heaps of concern about whether you’re supposed to do that.
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The way mnsl0826 set it up, he stands up the Mac mini with the front side down and the bottom of the machine backed up to the stand for the 27-inch LG UL850 display. He hid his cables behind the Mac. And that leaves room for his Bose SoundLink Mini just in front of the Mac and plenty of open space around his Magic Keyboard in the setup.
Think vertical: Is it safe to stand up a Mac mini?
“Aren’t you blocking the air vents for the fans by doing this?” asked one concerned commenter.
“Aren’t the vents at the back which in this case is now facing upwards?” asked another.
“Not really, the intake is at the bottom of the Mac mini and exhaust is at the back so putting that vertically makes the intake at the back and exhaust on top. Plus, M1 chips is pretty silent and cool to run!” mnsl0826 replied.
And he’s right. The Mac mini normally sits flat on a raised bottom that lets air into the unit, though it doesn’t look like it would. Warm air exits through vents in the back of the machine. The person who mentioned the back vents face upwards in mnsl0826’s configuration is correct, but it’s not a concern so long as air can move.
Don’t block air intakes or vents
So, as long as you don’t block the bottom or the back, the machine is likely to operate normally in a vertical position. Just don’t set it on its back, where vents are, or you might impede exiting exhaust, which could heat things up. Don’t back it up to a nest of cables or a lot of fabric that might block the air intakes.
In the interest of full disclosure, one commenter said they saw an Apple tech on a forum saying don’t stand up your Mac mini.
“I like it and know others do it,” said the commenter. “However, an Apple tech on the Apple forum says not to do this. He stated it is not how it was designed and the heat dissipation is not optimal.”
However, other commenters found no undue heating or other issues. On this topic it’s not hard to find people citing an Apple service provider and even Apple itself running minis vertically, suggesting it can be done safely if you don’t block airflow, and as long as there is airflow in the room. People seem to agree orientation should not effect the mini’s fan.
Or, mount the Mac mini
Of course, another issue could come up. If you stand up your mini without using a stand or something that holds it in place, you run the risk of tipping it over. That’s another reason mounting it might be the better solution.
Several Redditors suggested mounting the Mac mini behind the monitor or under the desk.
One suggested this mini bracketed mount, designed for another computer, would work for the mini. Or this one, designed for mounting minis under desks. Another commenter sent a pic of a Mac mini mounted to the wall under a desk, truly out of the way. And here’s another example of under-desk mounting done quite well.
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