I cannot hear any audio from my MacBook Pro, running OS X 10.7. Pressing F10/F11/F12 shows the volume overlay, but it stays at max volume with a (/) icon below it. In the Sound control panel or from the sound icon in the menu bar I can adjust the volume, but the Mute checkbox is greyed out. Rebooting does not resolve the problem.

  • This is all good information and helped me zero in on what my problem is but, the fix is not consistent. Sometimes I can fix the problem and most times, I cannot. But, I noticed that [with my Macbook at least] the problem occurs when the battery power is low (like below 48%). As long as I keep my Macbook charged, high, I don't get the problem re-occuring. Has anyone noticed the same?
    – user46410
    Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 13:31

5 Answers 5


The headphone jack had a red LED glowing inside, which clued me in that it thought there was an optical cable plugged in. Plugging and unplugging a pair of headphones resolved the problem.

  • 3
    I've had the same issue on my machine once. Possibly a bit of dust or something making contact, shortcutting the jack socket. Putting a jack in and back out usually works wonders.
    – Joost
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 17:31
  • Canned air might do the trick.
    – DogEatDog
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 17:40

I had same problem, but none of these suggestions helped.

I was almost desperate, since I found this interesting article: How to reset the audio system in OS X

So I begun to follow the steps suggested into the article. But I had to do a little more in order to restore audio capability. Here the steps I did:

$ ps -ef | grep audio
202   376     1   0 10:01AM ??         0:00.86 /usr/sbin/coreaudiod
202   379     1   0 10:01AM ??         0:00.04 com.apple.audio.DriverHelper
501   475     1   0 10:01AM ??         0:00.02 com.apple.audio.SandboxHelper
501   528   504   0 10:02AM ttys000    0:00.00 grep audio

$ sudo killall audio.DriverHelper
$ sudo killall audio.SandboxHelper
$ sudo killall coreaudiod

then open "Audio MIDI Setup" utility.

And then toggling settings such as these can reinitialize the audio driver.

enter image description here

Maybe this procedure will rewrite the audio configuration

  • 2
    This worked for me! That Audio MIDI Setup was an awesome find.
    – aronchick
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 22:03
  • @aronchick, glad to see you're happy. Honestly, I'm upset anytime I have to face with this trick :/
    – freedev
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 18:18

What I did was keep my headphone jack plugged in while turning up the volume (F12). Then, while I was turning up the volume I pulled out the headphone jack. This fixed it.

It almost seems as if I tricked it. I read a few other posts where you do this in the volume audio panel but those solutions did not work for me.

  • So you're saying that just plugging and unplugging, as per accepted answer before yours, didn't work in your case?
    – cregox
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 10:51

The same thing happened to me but I found a solution and it should work. It's an easy solution so read carefully.

  1. Turn off your MacBook.

  2. When you turn on your MacBook a grey apple appears on the screen - before that grey apple appears press these keyboard buttons Command + Option + P + R (hold the keys at the same time).

  3. Hold they keys until you hear the sound you usually hear when you turn on your MacBook the second time.

The MacBook should be fixed.


I have experience with the same issue and think it's Apple fault in how OS X handles the dual function of its audio output. My solution was to install Ubuntu, it doesn't mute it anymore.

Since using Ubuntu 13.04 now on my macbook pro early 2011, it never suffers from the infamous headphone jack problem. Removing the headphones, the internal speakers work, plug it in, the headphone works.

Here're some articles that explain what's up with the headphone jack, and the root cause of this behavior:

On OS X, it just doesn't work. If I dare plugging in the headphones, I know that when I take it out, internal speakers will stop working, they will be muted, and not come back after a while. I've stopped plugging stuff in and out trying to make it work.

I just installed a new OS that works. I suspect Ubuntu, maybe, just ignores all the stuff about the dual mode of the headphone jack.

  • 2
    It's a solved problem to which your answer is "use a different OS" that ignores a major hardware feature—the analog/digital IO in a single port. Why not just clean the jack so the hardware works as designed with its native operating system. If not for bmike's "intervention" via meta I'd be voting to close.
    – jaberg
    Commented Sep 28, 2013 at 22:21
  • 5
    Your argument doesn't sway me. "Ubuntu" is not a useful answer for the vast majority of people visiting this forum. The OP’s intent is not to make a headphone jack work, it's to fix the headphone jack on a Macintosh. For the vast majority the Macintosh user experience is first and foremost dependent upon OS X.
    – jaberg
    Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 13:14
  • 4
    When seeking solutions to problems (or when arguing against inappropriate proposals) I often cite the wisdom of Bob Heil: Solve acoustic problems acoustically and electrical problems electrically. Substitute hardware and software into that koan. Your proposal is to solve a (physical) hardware fault using software (to bypass, not repair) the issue. That's not a quality solution in my book. My vote would still be to strike.
    – jaberg
    Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 13:18
  • 1
    Look, the Ubuntu remarks are annoying and unhelpful. If you want to say '(Ubuntu 13.04 handles this better and doesn't suffer from this issue)', then say it once, in parentheses, preferably at the bottom. For what it's worth I had tons of other audio issues with Ubuntu 13.04 so I really wouldn't be touting it as being wonderful. Either way, it's offtopic to giving a solution to this issue. Your research is appreciated, but you want to be clearer that you're saying 'This issue does not have a fix available from Apple, only workarounds' - not OS-bashing.
    – smci
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 8:46
  • 1
    How I would make this answer to be much better: instead of suggesting "get ubuntu", dig deeper into why really ubuntu works whilst mac os doesn't. Talk about those cases in which people have to replace the motherboard. And finish up with "in the end, if cleaning doesn't work, you may have to just replace your mac". Almost no mac user will ever agree to changing OS. It rarely makes any sense to do it, even with Windows. And boy, I've used and I love and hate all OS's almost equally. All of them.
    – cregox
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 11:27

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