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Fix Speakers or Mic Not Working on Windows or Mac

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path® by rating it at the end.

Introduction

No matter what kind of computer you're using, if you're suddenly unable to hear the sound your apps are supposed to be producing or communicate with others using your microphone, you're in for a very frustrating experience.

Whether your speakers or microphone aren't properly connected, haven't been configured properly, or aren't at an appropriate volume level because they've been mistakenly muted, there's a lot of things to check.

This guide will take you through checking both your speakers and microphone to make sure that your computer and the app you're working with can make use of them like they're supposed to.
A laptop with a microphone on it

1 If Your Microphone Isn't Working

If the microphone that's built-in or attached to your computer isn't picking up your voice, it may not be connected or configured properly. Check the following to be sure that others are able to hear you within whatever app or software you're using.

Make sure your microphone is properly connected

If you're using an analog microphone
Make sure the microphone is plugged into the Pink audio port.Analog audio connection showing pink plug going into pink port and lime green plug going into lime green port.
If you're using a digital microphone
In most cases, USB ports output power to drive the devices we've plugged in. Sometimes certain USB ports don't have enough power to properly drive the device we've connected. Make sure the USB cable has been fully connected/seated. If this doesn't have an effect, try using a different USB port on your computer.USB port and connector

Make sure the microphone or headset isn't muted

Depending on the microphone or headset you're using, it may have its own mute button or switch. These types of buttons and/or switches do not report their status to your computer, but may have an indicator light to let you know that your microphone has been 'locally' muted in this way. Always make sure your microphone has not been locally muted by a physical button or switch.

Red light highlighted on inline controls of headset.
There may be a small indicator light nearby the mute button or switch; this is a great way to tell if your microphone has been locally muted.

Check the microphone's volume on your computer

There's a possibility that your microphone is working just fine, but the volume of your microphone may be set too low, and others are unable to hear you. Check the volume of your microphone (sometimes referred to on your computer as the recording or input device) to be sure it is at an adequate level.

WindowsCheck the Mic Volume on Windows
  1. Using your right mouse button, Right click on the speaker in your System Tray, and select Open Sound settings.
    Windows System Tray with speaker icon highlighted with right mouse button near by, with menu open, and Open Sound settings highlighted.
  2. Under Input, select Device properties.
    Sound settings with Input Device Properties highlighted.
  3. Make sure Disable is not checked, and make sure the volume is at a reasonable volume.
    Device properties with disable box unchecked and volume meter highlighted.
    A volume between 50 and 75 is usually appropriate.
AppleCheck the Mic Volume on Apple macOS
  1. Open the Apple Menu, then select System Preferences.
    Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Sound.
    System Preferences with Sound highlighted.
  3. Select the Input tab at top, and make sure the Input volume is at a reasonable volume.
    Sound preferences with Input tab and input volume highlighted.
    A volume between 50 and 75 is usually appropriate.

Check the app or software you're using

Many apps and software programs that make use of your microphone have their own built-in mute controls. This is typical primarily on audio & video conferencing software to prevent other users from interrupting or disturbing the presenter and/or other attendees.

For example, the following depicts the popular conferencing program GoToMeeting, and what a muted and unmuted microphone looks like. Always make sure that you have not mistakenly muted yourself within whatever app or software program you're using. 

Unmuted Microphone
UnmutedA green circle with a microphone in it is shown when you can be heard by others.Unmuted
Muted Microphone
MutedA microphone with a cross in a red circle is shown when you can't be heard by others.Muted

Make sure your computer is using the right microphone

Depending on your computer setup, you may actually have multiple 'input' or 'recording' devices connected at any given time. If you're attempting to use one microphone, but your computer believes it should be using a different one, this could be the cause of your problems.

The following will demonstrate how to make sure your computer is using the right microphone (sometimes referred to as an Input or Recording device).

WindowsSelect Your Microphone on Windows
  1. Using your right mouse button, Right click on the speaker in your System Tray, and select Open Sound settings.
    Windows System Tray with speaker icon highlighted with right mouse button near by, with menu open, and Open Sound settings highlighted.
  2. Under the Input header, make sure the correct microphone is selected within the Choose your input device dropdown box. 
    Windows 10 sound settings for input
AppleSelect Your Microphone on Apple macOS
  1. Open the Apple Menu, then select System Preferences.
    Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Sound.
    System Preferences with Sound highlighted.
  3. Select the Input tab at top, and make sure the correct device is selected.
    Apple mac settings window showing input and selected mic

If nothing else has worked, reboot your computer

If none of the suggestions have resolved your microphone issue, reboot your computer and try again. This may seem like a useless step, but sometimes the audio services on a computer can fail. Rebooting can restart those services and potentially resolve the issue you're experiencing.

If you're still experiencing problems after a reboot, your microphone or headset may be malfunctioning. Try a different device, or reach out to the manufacturer for further assistance.

WindowsTo Reboot a Windows Computer
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
AppleTo Reboot a Mac
  1. Select the Apple menu, then Shut Down...
    Apple menu with shut down highlighted
  2. Wait for your computer to shut down, and turn off.
  3. Wait 10 seconds.
  4. Turn your Mac back on by pushing the Power button on the keyboard.
    Mac Keyboard with Power button highlighted

2 If Your Speakers or Headphones Aren't Working

If the speakers or headphones you've got connected to your computer aren't producing sound at all, there's a chance they may not be connected or configured properly. Use the following to be sure that your machine is outputting sound to the proper device.

Make sure your speakers or headphones are properly connected

If you're using analog speakers or headphones
Make sure the speakers or headphones are plugged into the Green audio port.Analog audio connection showing pink plug going into pink port and lime green plug going into lime green port.
If you're using digital speakers or headphones
In most cases, USB ports output power to drive the devices we've plugged in. Sometimes certain USB ports don't have enough power to properly drive the device we've connected. Make sure the USB cable has been fully connected/seated. If this doesn't have an effect, try using a different USB port on your computer.USB port and connector

Check for adequate volume levels and muting

While many sets of speakers and some headsets have their own volume knobs or wheels, many users tend to forget that your computer also has its own volume adjustments, including the ability to mute sound output entirely. This is important to check.

WindowsCheck Volume Levels and Muting on Windows
  1. Right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar and select Open Volume Mixer.
    Mouse with Right Mouse Button highlighted.
    Windows 10 open volume mixer
  2. You can set each application's audio level from here. If the icons at the bottom are blue then nothing has been muted.
    Windows 10 volume mixer
AppleCheck Volume Levels and Muting on Apple macOSFor an Apple Mac you can just check the volume slider and make sure it's set to your liking.
Macbook Pro's volume slider

Make sure your computer is using the right speakers or headphones

As was previously mentioned for microphones, your computer also has numerous 'Output' devices that it can send its audio to. Making sure your computer is sending audio to the correct device can make the difference between hearing nothing and hearing everything you expect to be hearing.

WindowsSelect the Correct Audio Output Device on Windows
  1. Left-click the speaker icon.
    Windows 10 speaker icon
  2. Click the arrow.
    Windows 10 speakers volume settings showing arrow
  3. Make sure the correct playback device is selected.
    Windows 10 sound settings info with selected speakers
AppleSelect the Correct Audio Output Device on Apple macOS
  1. If you are not using external headphones or speakers, make sure none are plugged in.
  2. Click the Apple Menu, and choose System Preferences.
    Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  3.  Click Sound.
    Sound Preferences
  4. Choose Output at the top. Make sure your device is selected, the “Output volume” slider is not all the way to the left, and the Mute checkbox is not selected.
    sound preferences with mute option highlighted

If nothing else has worked, reboot your computer

If none of the suggestions have restored audio to your speakers or headphones, reboot your computer and try again. This may seem like a useless step, but sometimes the audio services on a computer can fail. Rebooting can restart those services and potentially resolve the issue you're experiencing.

If you're still experiencing problems after a reboot, the speakers or headphones you're using may be malfunctioning. Try a different device, or reach out to the manufacturer for further assistance.

WindowsTo Reboot a Windows Computer
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
AppleTo Reboot a Mac
  1. Select the Apple menu, then Shut Down...
    Apple menu with shut down highlighted
  2. Wait for your computer to shut down, and turn off.
  3. Wait 10 seconds.
  4. Turn your Mac back on by pushing the Power button on the keyboard.
    Mac Keyboard with Power button highlighted

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No matter what kind of computer you're using, if you're suddenly unable to hear the sound your apps are supposed to be producing or communicate with others using your microphone, you're in for a very frustrating experience.

Whether your speakers or microphone aren't properly connected, haven't been configured properly, or aren't at an appropriate volume level because they've been mistakenly muted, there's a lot of things to check.

This guide will take you through checking both your speakers and microphone to make sure that your computer and the app you're working with can make use of them like they're supposed to.
A laptop with a microphone on it

If the microphone that's built-in or attached to your computer isn't picking up your voice, it may not be connected or configured properly. Check the following to be sure that others are able to hear you within whatever app or software you're using.

Make sure your microphone is properly connected

If you're using an analog microphone
Make sure the microphone is plugged into the Pink audio port.Analog audio connection showing pink plug going into pink port and lime green plug going into lime green port.
If you're using a digital microphone
In most cases, USB ports output power to drive the devices we've plugged in. Sometimes certain USB ports don't have enough power to properly drive the device we've connected. Make sure the USB cable has been fully connected/seated. If this doesn't have an effect, try using a different USB port on your computer.USB port and connector

Make sure the microphone or headset isn't muted

Depending on the microphone or headset you're using, it may have its own mute button or switch. These types of buttons and/or switches do not report their status to your computer, but may have an indicator light to let you know that your microphone has been 'locally' muted in this way. Always make sure your microphone has not been locally muted by a physical button or switch.

Red light highlighted on inline controls of headset.
There may be a small indicator light nearby the mute button or switch; this is a great way to tell if your microphone has been locally muted.

Check the microphone's volume on your computer

There's a possibility that your microphone is working just fine, but the volume of your microphone may be set too low, and others are unable to hear you. Check the volume of your microphone (sometimes referred to on your computer as the recording or input device) to be sure it is at an adequate level.

WindowsCheck the Mic Volume on Windows
  1. Using your right mouse button, Right click on the speaker in your System Tray, and select Open Sound settings.
    Windows System Tray with speaker icon highlighted with right mouse button near by, with menu open, and Open Sound settings highlighted.
  2. Under Input, select Device properties.
    Sound settings with Input Device Properties highlighted.
  3. Make sure Disable is not checked, and make sure the volume is at a reasonable volume.
    Device properties with disable box unchecked and volume meter highlighted.
    A volume between 50 and 75 is usually appropriate.
AppleCheck the Mic Volume on Apple macOS
  1. Open the Apple Menu, then select System Preferences.
    Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Sound.
    System Preferences with Sound highlighted.
  3. Select the Input tab at top, and make sure the Input volume is at a reasonable volume.
    Sound preferences with Input tab and input volume highlighted.
    A volume between 50 and 75 is usually appropriate.

Check the app or software you're using

Many apps and software programs that make use of your microphone have their own built-in mute controls. This is typical primarily on audio & video conferencing software to prevent other users from interrupting or disturbing the presenter and/or other attendees.

For example, the following depicts the popular conferencing program GoToMeeting, and what a muted and unmuted microphone looks like. Always make sure that you have not mistakenly muted yourself within whatever app or software program you're using. 

Unmuted Microphone
UnmutedA green circle with a microphone in it is shown when you can be heard by others.Unmuted
Muted Microphone
MutedA microphone with a cross in a red circle is shown when you can't be heard by others.Muted

Make sure your computer is using the right microphone

Depending on your computer setup, you may actually have multiple 'input' or 'recording' devices connected at any given time. If you're attempting to use one microphone, but your computer believes it should be using a different one, this could be the cause of your problems.

The following will demonstrate how to make sure your computer is using the right microphone (sometimes referred to as an Input or Recording device).

WindowsSelect Your Microphone on Windows
  1. Using your right mouse button, Right click on the speaker in your System Tray, and select Open Sound settings.
    Windows System Tray with speaker icon highlighted with right mouse button near by, with menu open, and Open Sound settings highlighted.
  2. Under the Input header, make sure the correct microphone is selected within the Choose your input device dropdown box. 
    Windows 10 sound settings for input
AppleSelect Your Microphone on Apple macOS
  1. Open the Apple Menu, then select System Preferences.
    Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Sound.
    System Preferences with Sound highlighted.
  3. Select the Input tab at top, and make sure the correct device is selected.
    Apple mac settings window showing input and selected mic

If nothing else has worked, reboot your computer

If none of the suggestions have resolved your microphone issue, reboot your computer and try again. This may seem like a useless step, but sometimes the audio services on a computer can fail. Rebooting can restart those services and potentially resolve the issue you're experiencing.

If you're still experiencing problems after a reboot, your microphone or headset may be malfunctioning. Try a different device, or reach out to the manufacturer for further assistance.

WindowsTo Reboot a Windows Computer
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
AppleTo Reboot a Mac
  1. Select the Apple menu, then Shut Down...
    Apple menu with shut down highlighted
  2. Wait for your computer to shut down, and turn off.
  3. Wait 10 seconds.
  4. Turn your Mac back on by pushing the Power button on the keyboard.
    Mac Keyboard with Power button highlighted

If the speakers or headphones you've got connected to your computer aren't producing sound at all, there's a chance they may not be connected or configured properly. Use the following to be sure that your machine is outputting sound to the proper device.

Make sure your speakers or headphones are properly connected

If you're using analog speakers or headphones
Make sure the speakers or headphones are plugged into the Green audio port.Analog audio connection showing pink plug going into pink port and lime green plug going into lime green port.
If you're using digital speakers or headphones
In most cases, USB ports output power to drive the devices we've plugged in. Sometimes certain USB ports don't have enough power to properly drive the device we've connected. Make sure the USB cable has been fully connected/seated. If this doesn't have an effect, try using a different USB port on your computer.USB port and connector

Check for adequate volume levels and muting

While many sets of speakers and some headsets have their own volume knobs or wheels, many users tend to forget that your computer also has its own volume adjustments, including the ability to mute sound output entirely. This is important to check.

WindowsCheck Volume Levels and Muting on Windows
  1. Right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar and select Open Volume Mixer.
    Mouse with Right Mouse Button highlighted.
    Windows 10 open volume mixer
  2. You can set each application's audio level from here. If the icons at the bottom are blue then nothing has been muted.
    Windows 10 volume mixer
AppleCheck Volume Levels and Muting on Apple macOSFor an Apple Mac you can just check the volume slider and make sure it's set to your liking.
Macbook Pro's volume slider

Make sure your computer is using the right speakers or headphones

As was previously mentioned for microphones, your computer also has numerous 'Output' devices that it can send its audio to. Making sure your computer is sending audio to the correct device can make the difference between hearing nothing and hearing everything you expect to be hearing.

WindowsSelect the Correct Audio Output Device on Windows
  1. Left-click the speaker icon.
    Windows 10 speaker icon
  2. Click the arrow.
    Windows 10 speakers volume settings showing arrow
  3. Make sure the correct playback device is selected.
    Windows 10 sound settings info with selected speakers
AppleSelect the Correct Audio Output Device on Apple macOS
  1. If you are not using external headphones or speakers, make sure none are plugged in.
  2. Click the Apple Menu, and choose System Preferences.
    Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  3.  Click Sound.
    Sound Preferences
  4. Choose Output at the top. Make sure your device is selected, the “Output volume” slider is not all the way to the left, and the Mute checkbox is not selected.
    sound preferences with mute option highlighted

If nothing else has worked, reboot your computer

If none of the suggestions have restored audio to your speakers or headphones, reboot your computer and try again. This may seem like a useless step, but sometimes the audio services on a computer can fail. Rebooting can restart those services and potentially resolve the issue you're experiencing.

If you're still experiencing problems after a reboot, the speakers or headphones you're using may be malfunctioning. Try a different device, or reach out to the manufacturer for further assistance.

WindowsTo Reboot a Windows Computer
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
AppleTo Reboot a Mac
  1. Select the Apple menu, then Shut Down...
    Apple menu with shut down highlighted
  2. Wait for your computer to shut down, and turn off.
  3. Wait 10 seconds.
  4. Turn your Mac back on by pushing the Power button on the keyboard.
    Mac Keyboard with Power button highlighted