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I am running macOS 10.12.6 on a Mid 2010 MacBook Pro. I can connect to my television (via HDMI) and my headphones (via Bluetooth) just fine. Video is sent to the TV correctly.

However, no matter what audio device I select the audio always comes out of the internal speakers. It lets me select whatever device I want in sound preferences, tells me it's selected, tells me the TV doesn't have audio controls... then sends the sound to the internal speakers anyway. I have rebooted twice. All of this worked fine yesterday and I'm not sure what could have changed.

I'm at a loss for how to fix this. Error messages I can Google but I don't know what to do about a computer flat-out lying to me.

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  • HDMI is a mess. Try unplugging your HDMI cable first, select a different output, plug in your HDMI and re-select it as audio output. Did that fix it?
    – Allan
    Jun 24, 2023 at 0:48
  • It's not unique to HDMI, I am having the same issue with my bluetooth headphones. But I tried what you suggested and am afraid it did not work. I have also tried disconnecting from all devices and rebooting entirely. Jun 24, 2023 at 0:53
  • I should have told you to also cycle the inputs on your display/TV (all of this is based on experience). However, if you leave HDMI unplugged, does it switch audio output to BT?
    – Allan
    Jun 24, 2023 at 0:56
  • I did that, as well as power-cycling the TV itself and switching the HDMI port. I am confident that this is not an HDMI issue as that would not explain why I am having difficulty connecting to my headphones. Jun 24, 2023 at 0:58
  • macOS is set to automatically switch to the last device connected. The HDMI signal could be pulled high showing it's connected, but no audio signal present so your speakers take over. Let's disconnect it from the TV and get it working with BT first.
    – Allan
    Jun 24, 2023 at 1:02

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I downloaded and ran the legacy version of SoundSource and let it automatically install its Audio Capture Engine and now the problem is fixed.

Still no idea what caused it or what SoundSource did to fix it. Thank you to Allan for their commented suggestions and to Tetsujin for pointing me towards SoundSource in their answer to another question. Also thank you to SoundSource for both creating the software and continuing to provide legacy versions for those of us running ancient hardware 🙏

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