Once I plug headphones into my iMac I no longer have the option in the sound preferences panel to output audio to the built-in speakers. I have to unplug the headphones to get audio output through the built-in speakers. Since the plug is on the back of the display this is inconvenient. Does anyone know of an audio app that allows me to easily switch between built-in speakers and headphones for audio output?

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    If you don't find an app that will over-rule the hardware signal indicating to route the sound to the jack - you can get a Griffin iMic or similar product and keep things connected through USB and still retain software control of the sound. – bmike Aug 29 '11 at 22:53
  • For some reason I thought SoundSource would do this, but you're right: it's one or the other. To be clear, did this change in Lion? – Andrew Vit Aug 30 '11 at 6:07
  • No, works the same in Lion – nohillside Oct 4 '11 at 18:05
  • You should consider adding that as an answer, @bmike. – Jason Salaz Oct 4 '11 at 23:23
  • I have the same problem here, but I'm sure it can't be only due to hardware. I recently instaled Bootcamp with Win Vista and I can have sound in both headset and speakers at the same time... – user13697 Nov 15 '11 at 13:00

I think the condition has always been there. I believe plugging into the headphone jack physically disconnects the sound output from the speakers. I believe you will have to use bmike's suggestion to get the desired outcome.

  • If the speakers get physically disconnected when you plug in headphones, how does the startup chime play out of the speakers when headphones are plugged in. – user19346 Feb 26 '12 at 19:14
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    I believe this is done in software and is not just a physical re-routing of the audio. This is why you get independent volume control on each and when the system is under leavy load it might take a second or more for the audio to switch from one system to the other upon a plug/unplug. So theoretically it should be possible but this might be controlled at a very low driver level. – kLy Feb 26 '12 at 20:32

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