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The headphone jack on my MacBook Pro stopped working. It was working fine, then just spontaneously stopped while I was using external speakers plugged into the output jack. Now, neither speakers nor 3 different headphones have sound. The internal speaker on my MacBook Pro still works.

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10 Answers 10

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I've had similar issues and restarting coreaudio work for me. Run this in a terminal (you might be prompted for your password).

sudo pkill coreaudiod

If your curious sudo is something used to run commands as administrator (SU-DO as in super user do) and pkill sends signals to processes based on name, in this case coreaudiod, which is the name of the coreaudio daemon process. When it gets a terminate signal sent by pkill it will terminate and then macOS will restart it again.

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    It's my second time coming accross this answer... Brilliant!
    – craastad
    Apr 15 at 15:55
  • :) weirdly i haven't needed to do this for a long time. Maybe newer macOS versions have fixed things? Apr 15 at 18:05
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    I just had to do this today on a 2021 Mac M1... It happened waking from sleep after using Logic X and Traktor the night before. So it happens when something is really messing with the audio outputs.
    – craastad
    Apr 15 at 22:06
  • Yeah that sounds very possible. Think i used to do more airplay and used more random bluetooth devices before Apr 16 at 6:44
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This happened to me yesterday. I tried three different headphones.

  1. Go to System Preferences > Sound > Output.
  2. Plug your headphones in if you haven't yet.
  3. Look at the bottom where it says Output Volume and un-check the mute button.
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I had this same problem with my MacBook Pro 13" (mid-2009) running OS 10.6.8. Somewhere on the internet I found the answer. After plugging in the headphones and looking at the System Preferences/Sound, you may not see (in theis model) the option for Headphones, only for Internal Speaker. (Of course, you must first check that the audio port is selected for output, since this Mac has only a single port audio. Also, that the mute is not selected.) After seeing no Headphone option, put the Mac to sleep and wake it up again. Voila! Your headphones/external speakers will work.

Does anyone know what the permanent fix is for this problem?

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If you see red glowing light coming from it try the toothpick approach: take a toothpick and poke around in the jack until light turns off.

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Try resetting PRAM.

Restart your machine and hold down Command ⌘+Option ⌥+P+R all at the same time as soon as it turns on. Keep holding until it resets.

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  • Simply restarting fixed it for me
    – CrazyTim
    May 18 at 23:25
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Let me tell how I solved my problem (that was: internal speakers worked whereas the headphones plugged in didn't):

  1. I plugged in the headphones.

  2. I pressed the "F10/Sound OnOff" key on the keyboard

That was it! The headphones worked again.

But why? To my understanding the reason is that Apple attaches the sound-on-or-off-state to the current output device.

So switching off the sound while having plugged in the headphones makes the headphones be silent. Plug them off and you will hear the internal speakers. Plug them in again (after a minute or after half a year) and they still will be silent. Because YOU switched off the sound OF THE HEADPHONES (some months ago).

(It is the same the other way round. But in that case you probably would try the F10 button ...)

(Note: you can see this behaviour also with the checked or unchecked mute button in System Preferences > Sound > Output, as mentioned in a post above. Its state depends on the selected output device.)

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I'm not sure if it's a hardware issue for you; if you go under System PreferencesSoundOutput, you should see Headphones as one of the output devices. Most likely the audio is being directed to some other output device (like Soundflower or Boom). Just make sure that Headphones is selected.

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In the sounds control panel with the sound output tab selected, be sure to have use audio port for output, rather than input... this was why mine was not working.

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I've got a weird solution from here and I'm glad it worked for me.

  • Connect your headphones into the audio socket.
  • From the apple icon menu in the top left corner of the os x screen, tell your computer to go to sleep.
  • Immediately wake it up again from sleep.
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  • Very similar thing helped on my M1 Air: 0. connect headphones 1. select speakers as output 2. put computer to sleep and wait ~5-10s 3. wake up computer 4. select headphones as output
    – svobol13
    Dec 15, 2021 at 11:17
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Quote @mattias's answer. For people who are not familiar with the terminal, open activity monitor and search coreaudiod, then quit it.

(why do we still have this bug in 2022?!)

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