MacBook not playing sound through speakers/headphones?

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Step-by-step guide to fixing your MacBook sound through speakers or headphones

If you’re having issues with your MacBook playing sound through headphones or a speaker system, have a look through our top tips on resolving the issue, starting with the most common fixes and working our way down. 

Unplug and plug in

Tried and tested method, unplug and plug in a few times to see if you can get your system to pick up on the output signal. 

Hold down volume button

Disconnect your headphone lead, hold down the volume up button (F12) and reinsert your headphones. 

Try them on a different device

Plug your headphones into a phone, iPod or other device and try playing sound on that device to check if it’s a speaker fault. If it is, look into troubleshooting for that equipment. 

Check speaker controls

Have a look at your speakers or headphones and check if they have a volume controller of their own. If they do you’ll need to turn them up. 

Disconnect everything

Take out any other leads that are connected to your MacBook, including the charger, HDMI leads and USB. Occasionally your MacBook may get itself confused and route sound to another device.

If you are trying to use speakers while having a HDMI connection, the speakers will need to be plugged into the TV as all your MacBooks output signals are directed straight through the HDMI. 

Turn it off and on again

The tech support mantra, turn your MacBook off and on again, sometimes restarting the system solves any malfunctions in the software. 

Restart the sound controller

Click the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your screen, search Activity Monitor and select it from the search results. A new window will open and you need to search for ‘coreaudiod’ in the list of processes, click it and then click the X to restart it. 

Check for Update

If nothing has worked so far, the next thing to check is wether you have any outstanding software updates for you operating system, if you select the Apple logo in the top left corner you will have a notification number next to system preferences if there is one outstanding.

Although it may not seem like something that will help, some firmware and software patches in the updates address the hardware of your Mac, things like the keyboard, trackpad and most importantly, outputs! 

Reset SMC

Resetting SMC (system management controller) reboots many of your macs core functions, it may not always work but it’s worth giving it a go if you’ve got to this stage to no avail. To reset your MacBooks SMC follow these instructions:

  1. Shutdown your MacBook or let the power drain.
  2. Connect the charger
  3. Hold Shift+Control+Option and the Power button at the same time for approx. 10 seconds
  4. Release the keys
  5. Reboot your Mac and test the keyboard. 

If you cannot get passed the loading screen after this, you can try a very similar process resetting the PRAM.

Reset PRAM

Resetting Parameter Random Access Memory puts system settings like brightness, sound, contrast back to factory spec. This may just kick start your speakers if they’ve been confused by something. Do this as follows: 

  1. Turn off back
  2. start your Mac and hold Command+Option+P+R before the gray screen appears.
  3. Once you hear the Mac chime release all keys.
  4. Check keyboard once Mac has booted up

No luck?

If your sound still isn’t working after following these tips, we’re sorry to say that you may have hardware issues on your MacBook like bad output connectors or faulty connections.

Fear not, we are Apple Repair Specialists and offer free pick up, free diagnosis and free drop off all across Hampshire and parts of Dorset including Bournemouth. We even give free advice over the phone and via emails.

Get in touch and we’ll do everything you need to get your MacBook back to normal.

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Greg Doulton

Greg Doulton

Greg is an Apple repair specialist and has wealth of knowledge within the industry. Follow the blog for more news and tips.

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