Awhile back, a pair of headphones I owned broke off inside of the headphone slot on my Mid-2012 13" MacBook Pro. I followed some instructions suggested by people online which involved using a bit of superglue with a toothpick to get the stuck piece out of the port. Unfortunately this didn't work, and I'm now stuck with the piece of headphone in my MacBook.

Naturally, OS X will not play any sound. When trying to adjust the volume I am presented with the "system problem" icon. (A speaker with an X under it, or something similar). Basically I'm assuming it's detecting an issue with the audio port. So in OS X I'm left with no sound unless I use Bluetooth headphones.

Today, I installed Windows 8.1 using Bootcamp. After installing the Bootcamp Support Software, I was surprised to hear that I could play sound through my MacBook's speakers. I have looked online in the past trying to find a way to override the headphone port in OS X. The general consensus seems to be that it's simply not possible, because the speakers are disabled on a hardware level by the piece of headphone. Obviously this is not true, since Windows is able to play sound.

Any ideas as to why this might be, or how I can actually go about bypassing the broken headphone port? I really appreciate any help that's provided. Thank you!

  • 2
    I'm guessing it's probably the other way round - that the Mac sees it as a software problem, triggered by a hardware switch; & that Windows doesn't know the switch exists. [this is pure guesswork]
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 17, 2015 at 17:42
  • OS X is definitely detecting an issue that Windows isn't. It doesn't treat it like there are headphones plugged in. It detects an issue with the audio system in general. This is almost certainly some hardware input from the fancy headphone port. The question is how to make OS X ignore that. Since Windows seems to be able to. :) Mar 17, 2015 at 17:45
  • OS X is 'correctly' detecting that something's plugged in; Windows isn't. I really don't know how to get it to ignore that 'correct' information
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 17, 2015 at 17:47
  • 1
    I'd suggest a trip to see a Genius - they could probably poke it out from the inside - or have a tool just for such an issue... bet it's not the first time they've seen it
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 17, 2015 at 17:49
  • 1
    Unfortunately, the screw extractor may not help if the tip has separated from the ring/sleeve portion of the jack. If the tip has separated from the rest of the jack then (very careful) perseverance with a cocktail stick and superglue may be your only option. The remnants can't simply be pushed out from inside as the TOSLINK optical transmitter sits at the end of the socket, effectively blocking it. A competent service technician should be able to replace the socket with one taken from one of the many "spares or repair" logic boards that appear on auction sites. Or, use a USB audio device... Mar 17, 2015 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


So with a lot of time and hard work on behalf of a much more patient friend of mine, I was able to get the stuck piece of headphone out of my Macbook. I can now use my speakers, however the headphone port itself is not working. (There may have been some super glue in it from when I previously tried to remove the piece, and it required a lot of digging and scraping to get it out)

Unfortunately this does not answer the original question I asked, but it would appear that there is absolutely no way to make OS X play sound, even though Windows has no issue playing sound. This is very unfortunate. Good luck to everyone who was in my situation, and thank you to everyone who posted their advice in the comments. I appreciate it! :)

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