Why isn't this video playing with sound on Youtube on my Macbook Pro?


Ya'll are downvoting this post for no reason.

The sound on that SPECIFIC video does not work. All other videos seem to have sound, just not that one. I have tried opening this video in all browsers on my Macbook Pro (mid 2014), but it doesn't work on any of my browsers. The browsers I have are Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and FireFox. I tried opening that video in Incognito mode/private browsing and it still doesn't have sound.

Here's a video I recorded and uploaded to Youtube showing my issue:


  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 1:43
  • Answers should be in the answer section, please. An answer saying it plays is fine. An answer saying how to isolate this is fine. Dozens of comments trying out answers and troubleshooting doesn't work - just vote to close if the question is not clear.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 1:44
  • Welcome to Ask Different. Arlen - I'll assume you're still kind of new. See How to Ask if this gets closed - show your research so we can meet you at the level of troubleshooting you're done.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 1:44

2 Answers 2


That's an interesting question! There's a pretty simple answer - there's only sound recorded onto the left channel.

You should first check your sound output settings and see if you have the balance set to the center. Go to System Preferences--> Sound--> Output tab. Then check your balance. You can play around with dragging left or right and anyone can recreate the issue by dragging the Balance all the way to the "right" when playing that video.

If you have your sound output in the center on the Balance, then you should try playback of your audio through your internal speakers instead of through the HDMI connection to your display (or other sound output). That way you can isolate if the problem with your Display itself or in its settings.

If you find the problem only happens on your external display, see if you can adjust the sound settings on it and see if there's different audio selections.


Like some who have commented, I also can hear the audio track that accompanies the video. I think it's very difficult to troubleshoot a problem if you can't duplicate the problem. I did think of one thing you may want to try to help narrow the range of possibilities - that will be my "answer":

Before reading further note that this requires use of a 3rd party app (youtube-dl), the Terminal.app and iMovie - both native apps on recent versions of macOS.

1. Download the youtube video to your mac as a file.

You will need youtube-dl to do this. If you don't have a copy of youtube-dl, download it to your Mac. There are instructions on the website, or you can get it through MacPorts, and maybe through Homebrew.

Next, open a Terminal.app window, and do one of the following:

  • IF your default shell is zsh (i.e. if your OS is Catalina):
% youtube-dl -F https://www.youtube.com/watch\?v=8e1ld1uGpXA
# --OR--
% youtube-dl -F 'https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e1ld1uGpXA'
  • IF your default shell is bash (i.e. if your OS is NOT Catalina):
$ youtube-dl -F https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e1ld1uGpXA

*NOTE: The difference between zsh and bash is that the ? character in the URL must be escaped in zsh, but not in bash.*

In either case (bash or zsh), the output will be:

[youtube] 8e1ld1uGpXA: Downloading webpage
[info] Available formats for 8e1ld1uGpXA:
format code  extension  resolution note
249          webm       audio only tiny   53k , opus @ 50k (48000Hz), 1.70MiB
250          webm       audio only tiny   69k , opus @ 70k (48000Hz), 2.21MiB
140          m4a        audio only tiny  130k , m4a_dash container, mp4a.40.2@128k (44100Hz), 4.56MiB
251          webm       audio only tiny  131k , opus @160k (48000Hz), 4.19MiB
278          webm       256x144    144p   97k , webm container, vp9, 30fps, video only, 3.25MiB
160          mp4        256x144    144p  109k , avc1.4d400c, 30fps, video only, 2.70MiB
242          webm       426x240    240p  222k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 5.23MiB
133          mp4        426x240    240p  271k , avc1.4d4015, 30fps, video only, 6.22MiB
243          webm       640x360    360p  405k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 8.58MiB
134          mp4        640x360    360p  616k , avc1.4d401e, 30fps, video only, 11.95MiB
244          webm       854x480    480p  658k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 12.08MiB
135          mp4        854x480    480p  869k , avc1.4d401f, 30fps, video only, 14.44MiB
298          mp4        1280x720   720p60 1179k , avc1.4d4020, 60fps, video only, 22.57MiB
302          webm       1280x720   720p60 1314k , vp9, 60fps, video only, 25.27MiB
247          webm       1280x720   720p 1496k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 31.26MiB
136          mp4        1280x720   720p 1975k , avc1.4d401f, 30fps, video only, 36.28MiB
18           mp4        640x360    360p  538k , avc1.42001E, 30fps, mp4a.40.2@ 96k (44100Hz), 18.93MiB
22           mp4        1280x720   720p 1160k , avc1.64001F, 30fps, mp4a.40.2@192k (44100Hz) (best)

This list shows you the various available formats for this particular video.

NOTE: Many of them are labeled video only --- in other words, they have no audio content!!

Note also that the file numbered 22 is identified as (best). Since we've gone to all of this trouble, you should have the best :) Download it as follows:

  • IF your default shell is zsh (i.e. if your OS is Catalina):
% youtube-dl -f 22 -o ~/Downloads/TheBestVideo.mp4 https://www.youtube.com/watch\?v=8e1ld1uGpXA
  • IF your default shell is bash (i.e. if your OS is NOT Catalina):
$ youtube-dl -f 22 -o ~/Downloads/TheBestVideo.mp4 https://www.youtube.com/watch\?v=8e1ld1uGpXA

Very shortly, you should find the file named TheBestVideo.mp4 in your Downloads folder. My guess is that you will hear the audio when you play this file. But if not:

2. Open the Downloaded File in iMovie

I won't go through all of the steps for opening the file in iMovie, but if you need help, post a comment (here or in Chat), and I'll cover that.

With the file in the Timeline area of iMovie, you should see two tracks: video and audio. The audio track is in blue - example:

enter image description here

  • If the (blue-colored) audio track is missing - I'm astonished beyond words. Please provide details as you're able - by editing your original question.

  • If the (blue-colored) audio track is present, then it would seem that your syste is suppressing audio for some reason. Please let us know what you see (and hear).

From the Edited Question (my time: Jun 5, 2020)

I just clicked on the link of the video you uploaded to YouTube, and I can also hear the audio in that version.

I assume you do hear other audio tracks for YouTube videos?

  • There is absolutely no need to differentiate the commands for zsh and bash, as the zsh variant will also work with bash and you can avoid the whole issue by putting the argument in single quotes. Also only newly created Catalina users have zsh, migrated ones may still have bash.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 7:29
  • Having unnecessary options presented in the answer makes it difficult for users who are not used to Terminal and may not even know nor care which shell they are using.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 7:30
  • @nohillside: I guess we have a difference in philosophy. I feel it's important that users learn the difference - they become better users for it. This seemed like a good place to do that - to let users know there are differences in the shell. If they look closely, they'll see the difference, and learn something. If they don't know or care about which shell, this answer is never going to work for them anyway. I really do appreciate your edits, but I spent time covering both cases, and I'd like to share that.
    – Seamus
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 7:41
  • As a plain user I probably would argue that there might be better places to show the differences, as a moderator I would tell both of us to take it to chat :-)
    – nohillside
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 11:39

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