I'm on a MacBook Pro (2013) running OS X El Capitan 10.11.6. The speakers work as usual, but when I plug in headphones, the audio stops working. When I remove the headphones, the speakers work again as before.

With headphones plugged in, the only output device available is "Digital Out - Optical digital-out port", and when I try to change the volume there is a disabled symbol (and no volume bar is displayed).

I have tried rebooting, using a different set of headphones, resetting the PRAM, and cleaning the port, all to no avail. I do not see a red light in the port as many other questions have mentioned.


Do you have a pair of OEM Apple headphones (from an iPhone or so)? There are some cases, that only the OEM headphones work, and 3rd party do not. If they do work, try the following:

  • Plug your headphones back in.
  • Play a bit of sound through them (e.g., a song), then stop the sound.
  • Make sure Preferences is quit.
  • Launch Preferences and open the Sound pane.
  • While the Sound pane is open and set to Headphones, pull out the headphone plug from the jack.
  • It will reset itself to "Internal Speakers" and you are good to go.
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  • I ended up getting a replacement through my IT dept. Thank you for the replies though, hopefully they'll help somebody else in the future. – MattDs17 Jan 11 '17 at 14:09

Please try plugging the heaphone jack more than 20 times fast in and out. I had the same issue, it might be, that the spring, that detects a plugged in headphone, is defective and it detects the wrong kind of plug. Or maybe the following will help you: Under Sys Pref> Sound > Click on Internal speakers. Then at the bottom set audio port for "sound output."

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  • If you're going to do that, do it with the machine switched off. – Tetsujin Jan 10 '17 at 7:26
  • No luck on the first suggestion. The second one I cannot do as the speaker output disappears when the headphones are plugged in. I think it's probably a hardware issue. – MattDs17 Jan 10 '17 at 13:58
  • @Tetsujin : Why should the machine be turned off? This should not harm any Soft/Hardware in my opinion. It's a common "repair" technique amongst Apple premium service providers. – Daan van Hoek Jan 11 '17 at 10:54

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