How to Fix Sound Problems on a Mac

Introduction

This guide will walk you through, step by step, diagnosing and fixing many basic sound issues you may have with your Mac computer.

? What Sound issues are you having?

  1. No Sound
  2. Volume
  3. Sounds garbled
  4. Sounds delayed or not synced to video

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This guide will walk you through, step by step, diagnosing and fixing many basic sound issues you may have with your Mac computer.

Push the Mute or Volume Up key in the top-right corner of your keyboard.

Mac keyboard with volume keys highlighted

Push the Volume Down or Volume Up key in the top-right corner of your keyboard.

Mac keyboard with volume keys highlighted

  1. If you are not using headphones or speakers, make sure none are plugged in.
  2. Click the Apple Menu, and choose System Preferences, then Sound.
    system preferences with sound highlighted

  3. 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

  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

NVRAM (nonvolatile random-access memory) is a cache of settings specific to your Mac. Resetting NVRAM is safe, however you will need to reset some of your minor customizations, such as volume, time zone, or screen resolution.

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu (1), then select Shut Down... (2).
    Apple menu icon highlighted with menu beneath highlighting the shut down option.
  2. Wait for your computer to shut down, and turn off.
  3. Turn your Mac back on by pushing the Power button.
    Macbook power button highlighted on the keyboard.
  4. Immediately push and hold the option, command ⌘, P, and R keys on your keyboard.
    option keyPluscommand keyPlusP KeyPlusR Key
    • If your Mac plays a startup sound, release the keys after the second time it plays.
    • If there is no startup sound, release the keys after the second time the Apple logo disappears.

Try playing sound in another program.

For example, if sounds are garbled watching video in Safari browser, try playing music in iTunes.

To Quit an Application:

  1. Click the application menu at top, then choose Quit at the bottom.
    Safari menu with quit safari highlighted
  2. Make sure the application leaves your Dock at the bottom or no longer has a dot underneath it.
    Running Application
    Dock icon with black dot indicating it is running
    Closed Application
    Dock icon without black dot indicating it is closed
    If the program does not quit properly
    1. Click on the Apple menu, then click Force Quit.
      Apple menu with Force quit highlighted
    2. Select the app you want to force close, then click Force Quit.
      Force quit dialog with application and force quit button highlighted
    3. Click Force Quit when prompted.
      force quit confirm dialog with force quit button highlighted
  3. To restart the program, click its icon on the Dock or from the Applications folder.
  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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