When I plug my headphones into my MacBook Pro or when I return to my MacBook Pro after the headphones have been plugged in for a while, sometimes I get no sound, the Sound icon in the Menu bar is greyed out and when I click the Sound up button on the keyboard I get the below icon (see screenshot). If I take the headphones out and wait a couple of seconds then replug them in they work again.

Headphone wise I've seen this happen with a range of headphones from Apple EarPods to Bose noise canceling headphones.

I've seen this happen on two Mid 2012 MacBook Pro models, a 15" and 13", both running OS X 10.10.

Any ideas what's causing this and how I can be resolved?

Just in case any one mentions it, I'm plugging the headphones into the 3.5 mm headphone jack not the cinema audio port.

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1 Answer 1


The next time it happens please option-click (hold 'option' while clicking) on the volume icon in the menu bar.

There you should see all available sound cards and headphones.

Please let us know what entries you can see.

I get to very same response if I plug in a USB mixer.

  • Great. You can also see the menu right now. Once you insert headphones you will see them as the output device (and as the input device if it has an inline mic).
    – oa-
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 18:25
  • This should be entered as a comment on the question and not an answer.
    – fsb
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 18:26
  • Seems the issue was it was trying to play through my external display's monitors via the thunderbolt to hdmi cable. I updated the sound preference to play through the headphones so hopefully thats it sorted, thanks
    – sam
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 11:32

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