Headphones Not Working on Mac – What To Do

Macs are generally renowned for their user-friendliness, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never run into any issues. Some users report having issues when trying to apply audio through headphones or other devices that they have connected to their Mac.

Headphones Not Working on Mac - What To Do

Fortunately, there are several solutions you can try to fix this audio bug. Let’s take a look at what to do when your headphones aren’t working on your Mac.

Headphones Not Working on Mac: 13 Things You Can Do

If your headphones or external speakers don’t work when you connect them to your Mac computer, here are some things you should try to fix the issue:

  1. Unplug your headphones and try connecting them to another device like your iPhone or iPad to make sure they are working as intended.
  2. Check the headphone jack for issues. Dust or fluff is enough to block the port from recognizing your headphones or speakers. Try blowing the dust off the jack and from inside the port on your Mac to see if that solves the problem.
  3. Plug the headphones back in while holding the volume buttons at the same time.
  4. Check the volume controls on your headphones. Some models have built-in volume controls that can be turned down or turned off.
  5. Check all of the ports by disconnecting everything plugged into your Mac. That includes HDMI, Thunderbolt, and USB devices. Other devices could be channeling the sound away from your headphones. If your TV is connected via HDMI, for example, your sound is probably being redirected to the TV instead of the headphones or speakers.
  6. If you want the sound to play through your headphones or speakers while your TV is on, you need to switch to your speakers by clicking on the audio icon found in the Mac menu bar. Select your headphones/speakers there.
  7. Restart your Mac.
  8. Restart your sound controller by opening the “Activity Monitor” and locating “coreaudiod” in the process list. Terminate the process by clicking on the “X,” and it will restart automatically.
  9. Update your Mac OS.
  10. Try turning off your Bluetooth. Your Mac may try connecting to a Bluetooth device that isn’t in range.

Headphones Not Working

If you are still having audio issues after trying these steps, and you are sure that the headphones themselves are not the issue, try contacting Apple for support. You may have a hardware or software issue that can’t be resolved with a quick fix.

Choose Audio Output on Mac

You can troubleshoot for problems and fix the missing audio output by following these simple steps:

  1. Open the Apple menu and select “System Preferences.”
  2. Hit “Sound.”
  3. Click on “Output.”
  4. Choose “Headphones” as your output device.
  5. Check to ensure the “Mute” box is unchecked.
  6. Adjust the sound to your preference.

When multiple devices are connected to your Mac, your computer might try to play audio through the wrong device. By manually choosing your audio output device, you should be able to resolve this issue.

Play Audio From Mac on TV

You can also run into a similar issue when you have no sound on the TV you have connected to your Mac via HDMI. If that’s the case, here is what you can do:

  1. Open “System Preferences.”
  2. Select “Sound.”
  3. Select the “Output” tab and select “HDMI.”

In rare cases, the HDMI cable can transfer the picture but leave the sound out. That can happen if your cable is too old. Check your HDMI cable. Look for cracks or sharp bends that could prevent the audio from playing. Check the port of your cable for bent pins.

Try the same steps we described above and reset the PRAM and SMC on your Mac computer. The sound should now be working. If not, replace the HDMI cable with a new one.

Airpods Aren’t Working with Mac

If you’ve already connected your Airpods to your Mac and they simply stop working or the computer won’t pick them up, there are a few proven fixes.

  • Make sure that both Airpods are fully charged and in their case.
  • Disconnect your Airpods and reconnect them. Go to “System Preferences” > “Bluetooth” and click the ‘X’ next to the Airpods. Then, you can set them up just as you did when they were new.
  • Check your Mac for updates. If the software is too old, it may cause issues when trying to pair Bluetooth devices.Get the Sound Running Again

There are several reasons that your headphones or Airpods may not work properly. If you’ve taken the proper troubleshooting steps and your audio still isn’t working properly, you can contact the Apple Support team to assist you further.

Have any other troubleshooting tips for Mac? Share them with us in the comments below!

10 thoughts on “Headphones Not Working on Mac – What To Do”

lucas says:
nothing seems to be working. i opened garageband and plugged in my headphones only for a “interface unavailable” notification to open up, and now the sound will not work via headphone jack regardless of device or application. this has happened before but worked after restarting the computer- which no longer solves the problem. i need help.
Sealynx says:
Great article! My problem is a little different and I can’t seem to find a solution. I can set the headphones (wired quality headphones) on the main system just fine. The problem is that when I open a program, the program often does not see the headphones as a choice or sees them but the sound remains in the speakers even though the system is going through the headphones. So I can play music through the headphones but when I try to use Logic or a software instrument, they don’t work.
Charlotte says:
The headphone sound output via a tiny socket is erratic on iMac. Problem solved by using a Griffin mic/line-in USB interface. This gives both input for a mic and output to hifi or headphones. It is Inexpensive and excellent for much improved and acceptable sound quality
MRXSHMXLLOW says:
This was really helpful, all I needed to do was restart my mac and my headphones started working! Thanks!!
clevernickname says:
thanks, i just had to restart it.
Meli says:
Thanks! Had a sound problem and solved it thanks to you, great article!
Senthil says:
Wow. What a great article. I tried to switch-off Bluetooth and immediately USB-C started working again. So in my case the issue is I recently turned on Btooth which forced my samsung usb-c failed to marry with mac.

Comments are closed.

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