Background: I use a Henge Dock for my MBPr with a headset for things like Skype. Because the Henge Dock uses an extension cable to make the audio 'Combination Output' (TRRS) port accessible, the microphone is only detected if it's plugged into the extension BEFORE the MacBook is docked. This is a very common issue and well documented.

Problem / Question: I leave my MacBook docked most of the time, but I use my headset on multiple devices each day. This means that to get the headset mic to work each time, I either have to un-dock/dock, or restart... not ideal! I would like a way of toggling the headset detection. It must be a software related function that can probably be accessed through a script.

Any ideas? Thanks!

  • It doesn't show up in System Preferences > Sound > Input without a restart?
    – dwightk
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


I've been struggling with the same issue as you and I've come up with two solutions.

  1. Dedicated headset that stays connected to the system (not really an option for you).
  2. Connecting my headset and briefly putting the system to sleep via the Apple menu. I literally wait for the screen of my Thunderbolt display to turn off and immediately wake it back up. If you require a password to wake the system and have it set to immediate, changing it to 5 seconds allows you to immediately sleep/wake the system without having the reenter your password.

That's the best I've come up with so far. For what it's worth I think the issue we're seeing is how headphone jacks work at an electrical level and how the system itself handles enabling and disabling the port when a cable is detected. My understanding is that headphones work on a closed loop system so when we disconnect the mic from the extension we're breaking that loop and the only way to fix it is by having the port disabled and reenabled (and only the system can do that when it detects there's no cable inserted).

  • Hi Thomas, thanks for the reply. I see that toggling Sleep does allow the external Mic to be detected again. It doesn't switch to the internal mic when the external mic is removed though. I'd like to leave this question open a bit longer to see if any Apple devs have ideas on accessing this functionality in system. Mar 20, 2015 at 14:55
  • Absolutely. I think the problem with the system not switching to the internal mic is because it's still detecting something that was a mic in the physical slot. I'm hoping Apple will eventually fix this too. Mar 20, 2015 at 21:39
  • I was hopeful that your answer would help with my question here, but I'm still stuck and wonder if you have any other ideas: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/267161/… Thanks!
    – Ryan
    Jan 5, 2017 at 1:49

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