Since Macbook’s recent update to its operating system, a number of users have been having issues with the headphone jack not working. Now, it very well could be a coincidence, but it’s worth noting. If you’re having an issue too, there’s plenty of solutions you can try.
However, because it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact problem, you’ll have to essentially feel around in the dark until you find the root of the problem. Use the step-by-step guides below to find the reason why your Macbook’s headphone jack isn’t working.
Check Your Headphones
First and foremost, check the state of your headphones. Are they damaged in any way? Look for any exposed wiring after you’ve unplugged them from your Macbook.
Once you’ve given your headphones a once over, try a different pair. It’s possible that wiring has been detached on the inside, but the outer casing hasn’t been damaged.
Clean the Headphone Jack
Your next course of action should be to clean the headphone jack. This is going to require a can of compressed air (or a plug-in air blaster). There may be dust and grime blocking the connection from being made between the headphone jack and your headphones.
1. To clean it, place your computer on a level surface.
2. With a can of compressed air, hold it in an upright position and spray from about 6 inches away from the headphone jack.
Warning: Never tilt it to the side or upside down; otherwise, the compressed liquid will get ejected into your headphone jack, causing damage.
3. Now take a toothpick and gently maneuver the toothpick around the outer edge of the headphone jack.
4. Use your compress can of air once again like you did in Step 2.
Check That Your Audio Isn’t Muted
Yes, that is very obvious, but hey, who doesn’t have a moment? You may have bumped the key at some point or muted it intentionally and just never unmuted it. And you can even go one step further by checking in your System Preferences.
1. Start by opening the Apple menu located in the top-left corner. It’s the Apple logo.
2. In the drop down menu, choose System Preferences.
3. In the pop-up window, double-click Sound.
4. Plug in your headphones and then click Output. Check that Output Volume hasn’t been muted. If it is, unmute it.
5. While you’re at it, check your headphones volume controls if they have any.
Tap the F10 Key
For most Macbooks, the F10 key mutes and unmutes sound, however, there’s a catch: it only affects the device currently in use. For some reason, Apple ties the state of sound based on the device that was attached at the time. For example, you plugged in a pair of your headphones one day and muted them. Six months down the road, you use your headphones again and Apple remembers the state of sound it was in last time.
1. Plug your headphones in.
2. Play something with sound.
3. Press the F10 key.
Run a Command in Terminal
What you could be experiencing is an issue with “coreaudio.” This process, when it acts up, can have the side effect of your headphone jack not working. By running the special command below, you can shut the process down, and have your Macbook immediately restart it which, hopefully, should fix the issue.
1. First, open Launchpad. When it’s opened, use the search function to look for Terminal.
2. After Terminal opens, type
sudo pkill coreaudiod
Note: If you were wondering, “sudo” runs the command as administrator, then “pkill” terminates “coreaudiod.”
3. Hit the Enter key to initiate the command.
After a few moments, the “coreaudio” process will restart. If that was the source of your problems, you should hear sound in your headphones again.
If Worse Comes to Worst…
After you’ve exhausted all options – those listed above – then it’s time to seek out a professional who can examine the headphone jack. At this point it’s almost certain that it’s a hardware issue and only a professional will be able to examine it in greater detail and, quite possibly, fix the problem if one is apparent.
Don’t forget to take your Macbook’s warranty with, provided you have one. Your first stop should be with a technician at the nearest Apple store.