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I am pretty sure I have a faulty audio jack on my 13-inch, early 2011 MacBook Pro, given that I've spilled some liquid on it a while back.

Ever since, it's been bad at detecting whether headphones are plugged in or not, and recently it got worse, to the point where it almost never detects them being in and always plays audio through speakers instead.

Is there a way to simply force audio to always go to headphones, whether it thinks they're plugged in or not? I almost never use the speakers anyway, so this would make my life significantly easier while I wait for the new MacBooks to come out.

To clarify a bit: I've tried a bunch of solutions that attempt to repair the hardware, but I've given up on that. I'm just looking for a way to force the driver to send stuff to the jack regardless of what it thinks is happening.

  • I'm also waiting for the new MacBooks to come out. I must say that waiting is kind of a pain... – Munesawagi May 7 '16 at 0:29
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There are a few things that could have happened to your headphone jack.

You may have a stuck headphone port switch, in which case you'll need to try to pop it out using one of these methods:

  • Insert and remove your headphone plug a few times to reset the switch
  • Blow compressed air into the headphone port to clean it out
  • Gently insert a stick, like a cotton swab stripped of cotton or a toothpick, into the port and gently move it around to dislodge the switch

Official drawing of the headphone port switch on a Mac

Above: The official headphone port switch diagram for a Mac computer.

Your MacBook could also have trouble detecting the sound output device. Try option-clicking the Sound icon in the menu bar and slecting your headphones in the Output dropdown, or navigating to System Preferences > Sound > Output, and then selecting your headphones from the list.

If these tips don't work, it's a good idea to bring your MacBook into the Apple Store to have somebody look at it. If you have AppleCare, this kind of thing should be covered by warranty. If not, you may have to fork over a bit of money. It's up to you to decide if that's worth it or not.

In conclusion, there isn't any built-in way to force the audio to always go to the headphone jack besides selecting them in System Preferences or from the menu bar.

  • Thanks, but I'm not really looking for a way to fix the hardware (I've tried all that stuff before); I'm looking for some way to force the driver to think they're just always plugged in regardless of the faulty switch. – houbysoft May 7 '16 at 0:31
  • @houbysoft Maybe this Apple Support Communities article could help you – it's supposed to force a 'reset' of the headphone jack. discussions.apple.com/thread/3195726?tstart=0 – Munesawagi May 7 '16 at 0:35
  • hm, tried it, doesn't work either. It seems to force a reset but that doesn't force the driver to change its mind about whether it's plugged in. – houbysoft May 7 '16 at 0:40
  • Hey, where did you find that image containing the official diagram? (Looks like it's from a patent submission document.) It could be useful for future reference re: similar information(s). – tjt263 May 7 '16 at 3:46
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    @tjt263 I just looked up "Mac headphone port switch". – Munesawagi May 7 '16 at 12:31

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