A step-by-step guide to troubleshooting MacBook speaker volume issues

A step-by-step guide to troubleshooting MacBook speaker volume issues

Do you hear crackling or thumping noises from your MacBook speaker while playing music or videos? Has the sound production suddenly become too low despite the maximum volume of your MacBook speaker? This guide compiles eight (8) possible fixes for the no sound and speaker issues on your Mac.


Fix macbook speaker volume issues Selected image

If the built-in speaker is not producing sound, verify that no external audio device is connected to the Mac through Bluetooth or the headphone jack. Likewise, make sure that the media file you are trying to play is not disabled by default. Try playing other songs or videos and check if there is sound production. If the audio output is still very weak or nonexistent, continue with the solutions below.

1. Change sound preferences

For your MacBook built-in speaker to work, it must be the default audio output device. Here’s how to check.

Step 1: Launch System Preferences and select Sound.

Fix macbook speaker volume issues

Fix macbook speaker volume issues

2nd step: Go to the Output tab.

Fix macbook 01 speaker volume issues

Fix macbook 01 speaker volume issues

Step 3: Make sure the built-in MacBook speaker is selected. Likewise, make sure the Mute box for the built-in speaker is unchecked.

Fix macbook 02 speaker volume issues

Fix macbook 02 speaker volume issues

2. Restart Mac

Personally – on countless occasions, for that matter – I have solved several sound-related issues on my Mac by simply performing a restart of the device. If your Mac’s built-in speaker is not producing sound even though it is the default device for audio output, try restarting it. Tap the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the screen (in the menu bar) and click Restart.

Fix macbook 03 speaker volume issues

Fix macbook 03 speaker volume issues

3. Close Core Audio

Core Audio is the background process responsible for both audio output and input on Apple devices. Apple calls it “the digital audio infrastructure of iOS and OS X”. If your MacBook’s speaker volume is weird, forcing the Core Audio process to close may help resolve the issue.

Step 1: Launch the Utilities folder using the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + U and double-click Activity Monitor.

Fix macbook 11 speaker volume issues

Fix macbook 11 speaker volume issues

2nd step: Type audio coreaudio in the search box.

Fix macbook 12 speaker volume issues

Fix macbook 12 speaker volume issues

Step 3: Press coreaudiod and click the x icon in the upper left corner.

Solve macb3ok 13 speaker volume issues

Fix macb3ok speaker volume issues 13

Step 4: Click Force Quit at the prompt.

Solve macbook 14 speaker volume issues

Solve macbook 14 speaker volume issues

the coreaudiod The process will be restarted instantly and this time eventually eliminating the issues affecting your Mac’s speaker performance.

4. Reset NVRAM / PRAM

Information about your Mac’s display resolution, speaker volume, and startup disk configuration is saved to non-volatile RAM (NVRAM) or Settings RAM (PRAM). Interestingly, there are many software and hardware issues that can be resolved by resetting your storage unit.

If you notice that your MacBook speaker volume is unusually low or not as loud as before, follow the steps below to reset NVRAM or PRAM.

Note: Resetting NVRAM and PRAM on a MacBook follows the same steps (described below). Second, you may need to reconfigure some system preferences and settings after performing an NVRAM reset.

Step 1: Shut down your Mac; tap the Apple logo in the menu bar and select Stop.

Fix macbook 04 speaker volume issues

Fix macbook 04 speaker volume issues

2nd step: Press the power button and immediately hold down the “Option + Command + P + R” keys on your keyboard.

Troubleshoot macbook 05 speaker volume issues

Troubleshoot macbook 05 speaker volume issues

Step 3: Hold all four (4) keys simultaneously until your Mac restarts. It takes about 10 to 15 seconds.

Your Mac’s speaker volume should now return to its default state. Try to play a song and check if the low volume issue has been resolved.

5. Check the application settings

Some apps have their dedicated playback volume control which is completely independent of your Mac’s volume control. Take for example the Apple Music app. In the upper left corner of the app is the volume slider. If the app volume is muted, there will be no audio output, even if your MacBook’s built-in speaker (or external audio device) is set to the maximum volume level.

Fix macbook speaker volume issues 06

Troubleshoot macbook speaker volume 06

Apple Music volume control

So check the app’s volume control and make sure it’s not turned off.

For web browsers, make sure the tab that transmits audio is not disabled. Right click on the tab and select Unmute Tab (for Mozilla Firefox) or Unmute Site (for Google Chrome).

Fix macbook 08 speaker volume issues

Troubleshoot macbook 08 speaker volume issues
Fix macbook 07 speaker volume issues

Fix macbook 07 speaker volume issues

For Safari, click the speaker icon in the right corner of the address bar to re-activate a tab.

Troubleshoot macbook 09 speaker volume issues

Troubleshoot macbook 09 speaker volume issues

6. Force quit the application

Is the problem specific to a specific application? Or is it system-wide? For example, if your Mac’s speaker doesn’t work with Apple Music, try playing a YouTube video on a browser.

There are cases where a particular app will not output audio to your Mac’s speaker while other apps are working fine. In this case, force quit the errant app and open it again. Open the application and use the keyboard shortcut “ Option + Shift + Command + Esc ” to force quit the application. You can also tap the Apple logo in the menu bar when the application window is active and select Force Quit from the menu.

Fix macbook 15 speaker volume issues

Fix macbook 15 speaker volume issues

7. Update the application

Software bugs can also affect the audio output of an application. Visit the App Store or the manufacturer’s website to download and install the latest version of the app on your Mac. You can also update the app from the settings menu – depending on the design of the app.

8. Update macOS

Finally, make sure you’re running the latest macOS on your MacBook. Go to System Preferences> Software Update and click the Update Now button.

Fix macbook 10 speaker volume issues

Fix macbook 10 speaker volume issues

Loud and clear

If the speaker volume or output issue persists after exhausting all of the troubleshooting solutions listed above, your MacBook’s built-in speaker is probably damaged. You should go to an Apple Authorized Repair Center near you or contact Apple MacBook Support Center promptly.

Then:

Is Your MacBook Overheating Needlessly? Read the article linked below to find the possible reasons and steps to resolve the issue.

Last updated on Nov 8, 2020

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