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Why Is My Mac Volume So Low? 13 Best Fixes

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Last updated: September 6, 2023

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Silence can be golden, but not when you’re trying to enjoy your favorite tunes, watch a thrilling movie, or engage in a virtual conversation on your Mac. Having low or no sound on MacBook is a frustrating experience that can occur due to different factors, including software glitches and hardware malfunctions.

If your Mac volume is low, you can try different methods to fix it before taking it to a repair shop. In this guide, I’ve shared the best fixes for low MacBook audio output. Let’s get started.

Before We Begin

Sometimes a virus can interfere with your MacBook settings, including audio problems. You can run a virus scan on your Mac using MacKeeper’s Antivirus. It can catch malware and other malicious agents causing issues with sound output on your system.

5 Causes of MacBook Low Volume

There can be several reasons your MacBook volume is low or barely audible. Some common causes include:

  1. 🎧 Audio Settings: Sometimes, the audio settings can be incorrectly configured or muted, leading to the internal speakers not working.
  2. 💻 Hardware issues: A faulty audio jack, loose connection, or internal speakers can cause the issue.
  3. 🔄 Software updates: A recent software update could cause conflicts or compatibility issues with the audio drivers, leading to the internal speakers not working.
  4. 📱 Third-party apps: Sometimes, third-party apps can interfere with the audio settings and cause the internal speakers not to work.
  5. 🦠 Malware or viruses: Malware or viruses can cause various issues on your Mac, including problems with the audio settings.

Run a Virus Scan on Your Mac With MacKeeper

Malware or viruses on your Mac can interfere with audio settings and cause sound-related problems. A virus scan can detect and remove malicious software causing low or no volume on your Mac.

You can run a virus scan on your Mac using reliable antivirus software like MacKeeper. Here’s how to use MacKeeper to scan your Mac for malware:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper.
  2. Launch MacKeeper and click the Antivirus tab in the left sidebar.
click antivirus under the security section 6
  1. Enable real-time antivirus protection to keep your Mac safe from viruses.
click enable to allow real time protection
  1. Once you have configured your security settings, MacKeeper will continue to protect your Mac in the background, scanning for threats and blocking malicious activity.
  2. You can also run an instant virus scan by clicking the Start Scan button.
click start scan in mackeeper antivirus 6
  1. If the scan finds any viruses, click the Fix Items button.
  2. If there are no issues in your system, click Restart to run the scan again or close the program.
click restart to finish the process 6

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides removing viruses, MacKeeper can clear junk filesdelete duplicates, and uninstall unwanted apps. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to know more about its features.

13 Fixes to Try If Your Mac Volume Is Low

If running a virus scan doesn’t fix the low-volume issue on your Mac, it means the underlying cause is not malware. Below, I have shared some other quick and easy solutions you can try if your Mac volume is low.

1. Check Volume and Mute Settings

It may seem obvious, but sometimes, you may hear no sound from your Mac because the volume is set to its lowest setting or muted. To check your Mac’s volume and mute settings, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Control Center icon in the menu bar and check the volume slider to see if it is on the desired level. The volume is muted if the slider is to the left.
check the volume slider
  1. If you don’t hear any sound after turning on the volume, check the output device by clicking the > icon next to Sound and selecting your desired Output from the list.
select the correct output device

If you still have sound issues, try one of the fixes below.

2. Unplug and Plug-In Your Headphones

Sometimes, when you experience low volume on your Mac, a simple solution is to unplug and plug in your headphones. Here’s how it can potentially fix the issue:

  1. Check your headphones are securely plugged into the headphone jack or connected via Bluetooth.
  2. Turn up the volume by clicking the Control Center icon in the menu bar and dragging the sound slider. You can also use the volume keys on your keyboard to adjust the volume.
check the volume slider
  1. Disconnect your headphones from the Mac’s headphone jack or disconnect them via Bluetooth. After a few seconds, plug them back in or reconnect them. It can reset the audio settings and potentially resolve software glitches causing the low volume problem.
  2. Check the headphone settings if the volume issue persists after unplugging and plugging in your headphones. Go to the Apple menu > System Settings > Sound. In the Output tab, select the correct audio device (headphones) and adjust its volume if necessary.
in the output tab select the correct audio output device

3. Check Audio Port for Dust or Debris

Checking the audio port for dust or debris is another important step in troubleshooting low-volume issues on your Mac. Dust or debris can sometimes accumulate in the audio port, leading to a poor connection and reduced volume.

Here’s how you can check and clean the audio port:

  1. Before inspecting the audio port, shut down your Mac and unplug it to prevent any potential damage to the system or headphones.
  2. Locate the audio port. On most Mac models, the audio port is located on the side. It’s typically a small 3.5mm headphone jack.
  3. Carefully examine the audio port for any visible dust, lint, or debris. Shine a light into the port to get a better view.
  4. If there is debris, use a soft, lint-free cloth or a clean, dry toothbrush to clean the audio port gently. Do not use liquid or cleaning solutions, as they can potentially damage the port.
  5. After cleaning the audio port, plug in your headphones and test the audio volume. Check if the low volume issue has been resolved.

4. Try a Different App

If your Mac volume is low volume, another troubleshooting step you can take is to try a different app to determine if the issue is specific to a particular application.

Here’s how you can do that:

  1. If you’re currently using an app where you’re experiencing low volume, close it or pause any audio playback.
  2. Choose another application supporting audio playback, such as a different music player, video player, or streaming service.
  3. Play some audio content in the new app and check if the volume is still low.
  4. Compare the volume level in the new app with the previous app. If the volume is significantly louder or normal in the new app, it suggests the issue might be specific to the previous app.

5. Disconnect Bluetooth Headphones

Sometimes, you may experience low volume coming from your Mac because the sound is actually coming from your AirPods that you accidentally left connected.

If you’re experiencing low volume on your Mac because your Bluetooth headphones are still connected, disconnecting them can fix the issue. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
click apple icon and select system settings 9
  1. In System Settings, click Bluetooth to open the Bluetooth settings.
click bluetooth and locate the bluetooth device you want to unpair in my devices
  1. Locate your Bluetooth headphones from the list of devices paired with your Mac. Click the Disconnect button next to your headphones to disconnect them.

6. Check Audio Settings

By checking and adjusting the audio settings on your Mac, you can ensure the volume is appropriately set, and the correct output device is selected. This can resolve volume issues and improve the overall audio experience on your Mac.

To check audio settings in System Settings on a Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple icon and select System Settings.
click apple icon and select system settings 9
  1. Click Sound.
click sound
  1. In the Output tab, select the correct audio output device. If you can’t choose a device, try setting each option until you hear audio from your speakers.
in the output tab select the correct audio output device
  1. Select the correct audio input device in the Input tab. If you’re using the built-in microphone on your Mac, select Internal Microphone.
select the correct audio input device in the input tab
  1. Adjust the volume slider to your desired level.

7. Restart Your MacBook

Restarting your MacBook can refresh system processes and clear any temporary glitches affecting the volume or audio output. It’s a simple and often effective step in troubleshooting various issues, including low volume problems.

Before restarting your MacBook, save open documents or projects to avoid losing any unsaved changes.

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. From the drop-down menu, choose the Restart option.
click apple icon and select restart
  1. A dialog box will appear, asking for confirmation. In the dialog box, click the Restart button to confirm.
  2. Your MacBook will begin the restart process.
  3. Allow your MacBook to shut down and restart. You will see the Apple logo and a progress bar indicating the restart progress.
  4. After your MacBook has restarted, log in and test the audio volume.

8. Update your MacBook’s Operating System

A software update can sometimes solve issues with your MacBook’s internal speakers. To update your macOS, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen, then select About This Mac.
click apple icon and select about this mac
  1. It will display the macOS version number under the macOS or OS X heading.
image 411
  1. Click the Apple logo again, select System Settings, and click Software Update.
click general and select software update
  1. Your Mac will check for any available updates. If an update is available, click the Update Now button to download it.
click update now in software update 6
  1. Once downloaded, your Mac will prompt you to install it. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.

Your Mac may restart several times during the installation process.

  1. After installing the update, check for any additional updates. Repeat steps 2-4 to download and install any further updates.
  2. Restart your Mac after all updates to ensure the changes take effect. Then, check to see if the volume issue on Mac has been resolved.

9. Use External Speakers

use an external speaker

If none of the above fixes work, you can try using headphones or external speakers to see if the issue is with the internal speakers or a deeper hardware issue.

By connecting and using external speakers, you can bypass any potential limitations of the MacBook’s internal speakers and potentially achieve higher volume levels and better audio quality.

10. Reset PRAM/NVRAM

Resetting PRAM (Parameter RAM) and NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory) on your Mac can help resolve various issues related to system settings, such as speaker volume, display resolution, startup disk selection, and more.

Follow these steps to reset PRAM/NVRAM on your Mac:

  1. Shut down your Mac completely.
  2. Press the Power button to turn on your Mac.
macbook air touch id 3
  1. Immediately press and hold the Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + P + R keys on your keyboard.
macbook air option command p r keys
  1. Hold the keys until you hear the startup sound twice.
  2. Release the keys and let your Mac boot up normally. 

11. Reset the SMC

Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) can also help fix issues with your internal speakers. The process varies depending on your MacBook’s model, so consult Apple’s support website for instructions specific to your device.

To reset your MacBook’s SMC, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down your MacBook completely.
  2. Connect the power adapter to your MacBook.
  3. Press and hold the Shift ⇧ + Control ^ + Option  keys on the keyboard.
image 402
  1. While holding down these keys, press the Power button for 10 seconds.
  2. Release all the keys.
  3. Press the Power button again to turn on your MacBook.

12. Reset Core Audio

Resetting Core Audio essentially restarts the audio services on your Mac and can help resolve various audio-related problems, including low volume.

This process requires administrator privileges, and entering the administrator password is necessary to execute the command successfully.

Here’s how you can reset Core Audio on your Mac:

  1. Close any open applications or programs on your Mac that use audio.
  2. Open the Terminal application by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
launch terminal from utilities 1
  1. Enter the following command and press Enter:
killall coreaudiod
  1. You will be prompted to enter your administrator password. Press Enter after entering the password.

You won’t see visual feedback or asterisks while typing the password.

  1. Wait for the command to execute. The command will force the Core Audio process to restart. Wait for a few seconds until you see the Terminal prompt again.
  2. After executing the command, restart your Mac.
  3. Once your Mac has restarted, log in and play some audio content to test if the volume issue has been resolved. Adjust the volume settings as needed.

13. Contact Apple Support

contact apple support

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps and are still experiencing low-volume issues on your Mac, it may be a good idea to contact Apple Support for further assistance. Apple Support can provide specialized guidance and solutions tailored to your specific situation.

Here’s how you can contact Apple Support:

  1. Go to the official Apple Support website.
  2. Choose your country or region from the list.
  3. Select the category corresponding to your Mac, such as Mac, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air.
  4. Browse through the list of topics or search for the specific issue you’re experiencing, such as “Low volume on Mac.”
  5. Apple Support provides various support options, including live chat, phone calls, and scheduling appointments at an Apple Store or authorized service provider. Select the option that suits you best.
  6. Follow the Apple Support website instructions to contact an Apple Support representative. This may involve providing additional details about your issue and choosing a preferred contact method.

Turn Up the Volume on Your Mac

Now that you know how to fix the low volume issue on your Mac, you may want to learn more about sound-related problems on Mac. Here are some tips for you:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are some common causes of low-volume issues on a MacBook?

    Some common causes of low-volume issues on a MacBook include software glitches, outdated software, incorrect audio settings, physical damage to the speakers, and hardware malfunctions.

  2. Can outdated or incompatible audio drivers cause low volume on a Mac?

    Yes, outdated or incompatible audio drivers can cause low volume on a Mac. Make sure you have the latest drivers installed by updating your macOS to the newest version.

  3. How can I troubleshoot volume issues on my MacBook?

    To troubleshoot volume issues on your MacBook, check your audio settings to ensure the speakers are selected as the output device. If that doesn’t work, restart your Mac or reset the NVRAM/PRAM. If the issue persists, check for software updates or seek professional assistance.

  4. Can I fix internal speaker issues on my MacBook myself? 

    You can fix internal speaker issues on your MacBook in some cases by troubleshooting using online resources or seeking assistance from forums. However, more complex issues may require professional help.

  5. How can I increase the volume on my Mac?

    You can increase the volume on your Mac by dragging the volume slider to the right and making sure the sound is not muted. Also, adjust system settings and make sure the correct output device is selected. Additionally, you can download third-party volume booster apps from the Mac App Store.

Pawan Singh

Author

Pawan is your go-to tech buddy with over 4 years diving deep into the world of Macbooks and cool gadgets. He's written a ton of articles, blending his tech-savvy expertise with a dash of friendly banter. When it comes to the latest in tech, Pawan's got the scoop and isn't shy to share it. Trust him, he's been around the block a few times!

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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