If you have been experiencing sound issues since upgrading to the latest version of macOS, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will go through the most common audio problems in macOS and provide solutions on how to fix them by adjusting settings.
Audio/sound features don’t work at all
If you have upgraded to the latest version of macOS, but found that your audio has stopped working completely, this guide is for you. You may not be able to hear any sound from your speakers, no matter what video or app you play. You may have attempted to adjust volume controls, unplugged and reconnected your speakers, and even tried playing media on another device, but nothing seems to resolve the issue.
When macOS starts up, it may sometimes have issues with assigning speaker outputs, resulting in no sound being played. However, this problem is easy to fix. Open the System Settings by clicking the System Settings app in the Dock or from the Apple icon in the menu bar, then select the Sound option in the sidebar. You will see a tab called Output, where you can choose a sound device. Try setting the sound to Internal Speakers (the name of the speakers may vary depending on your device, such as MacBook Pro Speakers). Also, check the volume bar below and make sure that the output volume is turned up and Mute is unchecked. At the top of the window, ensure that Play sound effects through is also set to your device’s speakers.
This process should restore audio to your Mac’s built-in speakers. You may be wondering, “What about my headphones, external speakers, or Apple TV?” In the Output list, you should see options for all these devices, as long as they are connected. Choose the one that you want to use. As you may have guessed by now, macOS, especially when connected to HDMI speaker systems, can get confused about which speaker to automatically select. By choosing your speaker options manually, you can circumvent this issue. You should only need to do this once as macOS should remember your choice.
Sound cuts in and out
If you are experiencing audio randomly cutting in and out without any apparent reason, it could be due to an issue with your computer’s memory usage. The first step is to determine if the problem is specific to any particular app or service. You can check which apps are using the most memory by opening the Activity Monitor and selecting the %CPU column. Make sure the arrow next to %CPU is facing downward, this will display the apps that are using the most memory at the top. Try restarting the app by selecting it and choosing the Stop button at the top of the Activity Monitor to see if your audio recovers.
If the problem is occurring across all audio sources, it may be necessary to reset your parameter random-access memory (PRAM). Note that this step is only applicable to Intel-based Macs, not Apple Silicon Macs. For Apple Silicon Macs, try shutting down the device, waiting a few seconds, and then booting it back up.
For Intel-based Macs, to reset the PRAM, restart your Mac and immediately press the Option + Command + P + R keys simultaneously. Keep holding these four keys for about 20 seconds. During this time, your Mac may restart and you may hear the startup sound play more than once. This should reset your PRAM, however,
keep in mind that this process may also change other settings, so you may need to spend some time in System Settings to reset any customized settings that you had before.
Safari sound Issue
If your tests have revealed that the sound problems are primarily occurring in Safari, it could be due to a settings issue. In this case, the sound may work in other browsers like Chrome, but not in Safari.
This problem is usually caused by a strange configuration change that macOS applies to sound output if certain software is loaded onto your Mac. If you go to System Settings > Sound, you can check the Output option, which will likely list several device options for audio output. If one of those options is Soundflower or something similar, that’s a sign that macOS might be using the wrong sound output. Switch the output to Internal Speakers or another speaker device of your choice, then try Safari again. The problem should be resolved.
Depending on your setup, you may find that this audio problem occurs every time you restart your computer. To prevent this issue, you can uninstall the Soundflower extension on your Mac.
If you have been experiencing random crackling, popping, or other static-like noises coming from your speakers since upgrading to macOS, there may be a problem. If you are using external speakers, check the connections and try them on another device, such as a smartphone, to ensure that it is not a wiring issue. If the problem seems to be with macOS, it’s time to visit settings again.
The first step is to open the System Settings and look for the Sound icon, which looks like a speaker cone. Under the Sound Effects section, you will see a list of options and settings. At the bottom of the section, you will find a box labeled Play feedback when volume is changed.
You will need to toggle the box off and on again if it is not already off. If that does not help, make sure you check that the output option is set to Internal Speakers or any external device you are listening to. macOS has a reputation for being finicky when it comes to Bluetooth devices. Some devices pair without issue while others don’t connect at all. Static can result from being stuck in the middle ground, where the device is connected and paired, but the audio quality is poor.
Sometimes, the solution to static noise is as simple as turning off both your Mac and the Bluetooth device, and then restarting them both. This can clear the slate and eliminate the static noise. Additionally, you can delete your Bluetooth connection under Bluetooth settings in System Settings and then pair the device again as if it were new.
It’s also possible that some devices may not be compatible with macOS. You can test to see if the issue is with the age of the Bluetooth device you’re using by attempting to connect a newer Bluetooth device to your Mac. If there is no problem with the new device, it may be necessary to upgrade your device.
MacOS New Version Roll Out
If you are an experienced user of macOS or Apple products, you may be familiar with the process of resolving issues that arise after updating Apple apps. If you are still experiencing sound problems, AirPlay issues, or other audio complications in macOS, make sure to update your Mac to the latest version. It may be necessary to wait for Apple to release patches that address these issues, but in the meantime, you can check help topics to see if anyone has found a temporary solution while waiting for the patch.
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