When I plug my (HDMI) display into my laptop, the sound output switches to it. I can switch it back, but is there any way to stop this automatic switch?

(I've found many people complaining, but no answers. A script which reversibly disabled HMDI audio would be acceptable.)


I have multiple devices I connect to my mac and for some they had the same issue.

The work around (or actual fix) is to open 'Audio MIDI setup' in your Applications>Utility and:

  • Click + in the lower left corner.
  • Click Create Aggregate Device
  • Turn off/on the inputs/outputs sound based on needs.

Screenshot of Audio MIDI Setup

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Awesome! Thanks a bunch. Only problem is the sound keys and system audio slider don't work: prntscr.com/feufup . What ways have you found of adjusting volume? I have quicksilver and Karabiner so perhaps I could map some key or keystroke sequence to a script which controls the volume? – tog22 Jun 1 '17 at 22:05
  • ALoha, sorry for the delay. Just click on the configure speakers and you can adjust sliders there, cheers :) – norcal johnny Jun 14 '17 at 20:16
  • 4
    Needing to open the MIDI app just to change volume is crazy. – Matthew Read Oct 8 '18 at 17:18
  • 4
    I don't understand how this is the correct answer. You create an aggregate for multiple sound devices and then what? For me if I connect via Airplay to my AppleTV it still tries to use the speakers connected on that monitor. – JackyJohnson Mar 7 '19 at 20:47
  • 1
    I wish I had googled this a long time ago, thanks! – powerj1984 Feb 23 at 20:08

I made an app for this. It allows you to pin input/output so it cannot be changed for every particular set of connected devices.

| improve this answer | |
  • Welcome to Ask Different, and thanks for your contribution. Your duplicate answers have been flagged, so I've taken a look. It's good you've disclosed your affiliation with the app, but please be careful with how often you promote it. If users see no other contributions except for ones promoting your software, you may run into problems. All the best. – Monomeeth Oct 21 '19 at 23:33
  • Thanks, I'll check it out! – tog22 Oct 27 '19 at 20:44

You just need to specify a preferred audio device once and the Mac system will remember your choice and won't switch the next time.

  1. Open System Preferences -> Sound.
  2. Opt-in "Show Volume in menu bar", you will see a sound icon on the status bar.
  3. Connect to your monitor if not.
  4. Click on the icon and choose a preferred output device.
  5. Disconnect monitor and retry, you will see the system remembered your choice.

Select Output Device

| improve this answer | |
  • This seems to work. No idea why selecting from this menu behaves differently from selecting in system preferences, but I'll take it! – kotoole May 22 at 14:11
  • It doesn't work on Mojave. When reconnecting an external device macOS will see just that device for few seconds, stop the audio from the External Headphones (that disappears for those few seconds); then External Headphones appear again and the audio is restored. Yes, the systems remembers to re-select, but it actually switches around devices before doing so, leading to audio disappearing, switching on external device, and finally coming back to the pre-selected device. – Yes, I already tried either via System Preferences and via the Volume Icon as shown above. – Kamafeather Jul 13 at 12:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .