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Sound Not Working on Mac? Check These 5 Working Solutions

On macOS, audio is one of the simplest components to set up. A user never has to install drivers and macOS natively supports almost all external audio devices that you can possibly connect to a Mac including, but not limited to most Bluetooth audio devices.

If you dig around a bit, you will find that macOS has basic audio controls in the System Preferences app and a more advanced audio app in the form of the Audio MIDI setup app

Sound Not Working on Mac

Sound Not Working on Mac

Audio works seamlessly on macOS. At the most, you need to change the audio device that is in use if you have more than one device connected but beyond that, there is nothing else a user needs to do.

That said, a Mac may run into audio issues from time to time. It isn’t immune to hardware problems and it isn’t, likewise, immune to software problems.

Why Is My Sound Not Working on My Mac?

1. Basic checks

Before you try any of the fixes listed in this article, make sure;

  • Your volume is turned up.
  • Your device is connected (for external audio device).
  • Make sure the device’s own volume (if present) is turned up.
  • Make sure you’ve restarted the Mac.
  • Make sure the app you’re trying to play audio from is not muted.

If your system has passed the above checks, try the fixes listed below.

2. Check your audio device (external device only)

If you’re using an external audio device, e.g. a pair of Bluetooth headphones or wired headphones, connect them to a different device and check if they work. If not, it’s possible they are damaged.

On that note, if you’re using an external device, try using a different one of check if you get audio from the built-in speakers. If you do, your external audio device is most likely to blame.

3. Check active audio device

macOS allows users to use any connected audio device. It’s possible that the audio device you’re using isn’t the active one.

  1. Open System Preferences. 
  2. Go to the Sound preference.
  3. Select the device you want to use from the Output tab.
  4. Close all apps and open them again to check the audio.

Volume Not Working on Mac

4. Restart audio services

Restarting audio services, especially after you’ve connected a new device, or switched over to a new one, can fix audio problems on a Mac.

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Run this command: sudo pkill coreaudiod.
  3. Close all apps that were playing audio and open them again.

5. NVRAM and SMC Reset

If the above fixes do not work, it is possible that the audio hardware is offline. This can happen and the easiest way to get it back is to perform an NVRAM and SMC reset

NVRAM reset

  1. Shut your Mac down.
  2. Boot it back and immediately hold down Option+Command+P+R.
  3. Hold the buttons down for 10 seconds and release.
  4. Allow the system to start/restart.

SMC reset

For a desktop Mac (non-MacBook);

  1. Turn the Mac off.
  2. Wait 15 seconds.
  3. Plug the Mac in and boot it.

For a MacBook without a removable battery;

  1. Shut down the Mac.
  2. Hold down Left Shift+Control+Option and the Power button (or Touch ID button) for 10 seconds.
  3. Release the keys and power the Mac on.

Volume Not Working on Mac (Still)?

If the above fixes do not work, and it is rare for them not to, you may have to do a fresh installation of macOS, or you may need to take your Mac in for a check.

It is possible that hardware has been damaged on the system and the only way to find out is to take it in for repair. 

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