I'd really like to be able to play sound through both the headphone jack and my internal speakers on my MBP. Is this possible? If so, how?

  • 1
    FWIW, I've tried to do this in the past to and the answer always came up as no. As soon as you plug in the headphones into the 3.5mm jack, it replaces the internal speakers as the default output. I have, however, managed to get something working with USB headset/headphones and the internal speakers working simultaneously. Its not quite what you've asked for, but if you've not already discovered this and are interested (as a workaround), I can post it as an answer.
    – binarybob
    Apr 16, 2012 at 15:50
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    @binarybob If it is a viable answer, I'd be interested in it, though I don't have USB headphones/speaker.
    – daviesgeek
    Apr 17, 2012 at 2:04
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    See also this question and the answers: apple.stackexchange.com/q/6510/14994
    – iolsmit
    Apr 18, 2012 at 10:32
  • windows just trumped mac. This is soooooo easy to do in Windows. You just select the output device in the app you are using. Jul 9, 2019 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


In my experience, the answer is no. As soon as you plug in the headphones into the 3.5mm jack, it replaces the internal speakers as the default output (and vice versa when you unplug them). There are several discussions around as to whether this is actually a limitation in the hardware or the software, but the end result always seems to be the same.

Now this may not answer specifically what you're asking, but for interest, the only time I've had any success with simultaneous headphone and speaker output is when using a USB device, such as a headset or USB speakers. In order to get this to work, you'll need to plug in the USB device, then do the following:

  • Start the Apple "Audio MIDI Setup" utility (/Applications/Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup)
  • Select the "+" in the bottom-left and select "Create Multi-Output Device"

    enter image description here

  • Select the Multi-Output Device that has been added and in the right-hand pane, select both the "Built-in Output" and your USB device. That should look something like this:

    enter image description here

  • Start "System Preferences" → "Sound" and click the "Output" tab. Select the "Multi-Output Device" that's now there.

    enter image description here

  • An unfortunate side-effect of this, as "The selected device has no output controls" eludes to, is that you now can't control the volume in the normal manner. To do this, you'll have to go back to Audio MIDI Setup and do it from there for each of the outputs. So be careful with those headset and speaker levels to begin with!!!

    enter image description here

And that's it :) So, now when you play a song in iTunes, for instance, that should come out of both the headset and the speakers.

However, whilst all this may be largely academic without a USB headset or speakers, I did also come across the Griffin iMic which says:

iMic supports both mic and line level inputs via a selectable switch, and provides a line-level output for connecting speakers or headphones.

enter image description here

I've not tried it, but if you're willing to spend the money, that may allow you to connect a pair of headphones with a normal 3.5mm jack then, using the method above, get audio out of both the internal speakers and the headphones simultaneously.

  • Thanks! I wish there was a way to do it the way I wanted to but that's how computers work. :-)
    – daviesgeek
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:07
  • This worked perfectly for using the speakers on both of my Thunderbolt Displays at the same time. Dec 24, 2012 at 20:46
  • Nice, this worked with a Jambox and my speakers plugged into my computer. Great for parties.
    – user47761
    Apr 19, 2013 at 21:42
  • binary bob solved my prob... almost now how can i adjust for apparent blutooth delay whenusing both head set and built in out put
    – user56907
    Sep 11, 2013 at 19:01
  • Also, hold down Option and click the Volume menu bar item to change your output device easily.
    – bbrown
    Apr 25, 2018 at 20:39

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