Audio & Sound Not Working in Mac OS X? It’s an Easy Fix
A few Mac users that update to Mac OS X discover their sound and audio output has ceased to work, leading to a completely mute Mac that does not respond to the volume keys. Fortunately, the mysterious missing sound output issue is incredibly simple to fix, and there is nothing actually wrong with the Mac.
First things first: make sure the Mac audio output is enabled and that the computer is not set to be mute. You can toggle the mute button on a Mac keyboard or use the Sound control panel to boost audio all the way up to make sure the Mac sound volume is not on mute. Sometimes the Mac is simply muted, which obviously when mute is enabled the audio output will not work and sound will not play. If you have already ruled that out, proceed with the next simple troubleshooting steps.
How to Fix Audio and Sound Not Working on Mac
Here’s how to quickly fix the missing audio output on a Mac. And yes, this applies to all Macs with all forms of speakers; internal, external, headphones, earbuds, etc:
- Head to the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”, then select the “Sound” panel
- Choose the “Output” tab
- Select “Internal Speakers” as the output device*
- Adjust the sound as usual, it will now work as intended
* If you have external speakers or headphones hooked up, you’d want to select those instead. Do note that you may need to first choose “Internal Speakers” and then select the external speaker or headphones to get the audio output to work again as intended.
Why does this happen? It’s probably a simple bug where a different audio output channel gets selected or chosen during the installation or update process. This seems to happen most often with Macs that have used HDMI output to a display or TV which has speakers. Interestingly enough, the reverse situation also can occur, where a Mac is connected to a TV and there is seemingly no audio output, at least until HDMI has been selected as the proper sound output channel.
Method 2: Fix Missing Mac Audio / Sound with a Connect & Disconnect from the Mac Headphone Jack
If the above trick failed to return your sound and audio to a Mac, then try the next tip, which requires a set of headphones or some other speaker system:
- Connect headphones to the headphone jack on the Mac
- Open iTunes (or any music player) and starting playing music or audio
- Now pull out the headphones from the headphone port on the Mac
- The audio should now be playing through the Mac built-in speakers, if it’s not then return to iTunes to start playing the song again
The above two tips should restore audio and sound output to a Mac. Usually simply selecting appropriate audio output in the Sound settings of System Preferences in sufficient, but sometimes you may need to go further and toggle a physical connection in and out of the headphone jack
This was first reported a while back by early adopters using beta releases of various MacOS versions, but it still seems to randomly happen even with installing the latest releases of MacOS from Mac OS X Yosemite onward with a wide variety of Macs. Occasionally, the same situation occurs randomly after installing an update to MacOS as well. Just remember if you experience this, it’s no cause for panic, it’s a simple fix.
Thanks to Kerry for the tip suggestion. If you have any other methods or tricks at restoring audio that is not working on a Mac computer, share in the comments below!