View Full Version : Internal Speaker Issue on MacBook Pro...

Sep 9, 2006, 06:26 PM
I recently started re-using some Logitech Z-4i's with my MacBook Pro... I used these speakers earlier in the year, and they worked well. I use them again, and they worked well.

But now, after needing to go mobile for the first time since using my speakers again, I have discovered that I get NO SOUND from the INTERNAL SPEAKERS when I am not connecting out to my Logitech speakers. This is quite frustrating... I'm not even able to control the volume (its greyed out when not connected to the externals). When I unplug my line-out from my headphone jack, the headphone jack is glowing red, indicating that it probably still thinks something is plugged in there. I even try to restart the computer, and it makes the startup sound, and then the headphone jack glows again.

Is there anyway that I can reset my sound card? Anything that I can do to fix this? Is this a common occurrence? HELP!

Sep 9, 2006, 06:36 PM
That kind of thing happens when of the tabs inside a phono jack is bent. They can often be fixed with a small pick, but it would be very easy to break them off too. You will want to bring it into the shop if you haven't done that kind of thing before, and the tabs aren't always accessible anyway, especially on the little jacks.

If you haven't yanked a cable or anything like that, it'll probably be covered under the warranty.

If Apple decide that it's not a warranty item for some reason, and that you need a nice new expensive board, you could you a Griffin iMic or something as a replacement.

Sep 9, 2006, 06:53 PM
Seems your 'book is confusing the phono jack with an optical one. On my PowerBook, If I connect my audio using an optical cable, then my volume is grayed out.

The jack glows red because it has a laser in there to sent audio digitally if you were to use an optical cable. Seems your laptop is having trouble telling the difference. Try using a different cable to see if that helps.

Sep 9, 2006, 07:40 PM
Are your sound settings correct in the System Prefs? Mine looks like this:

BTW, should the headphone jack glow red? I don't think mine does that? :confused:

Sep 10, 2006, 09:27 AM
UPDATE: I tried to plug in another audio-out cord (iPod earbuds) into my headphone jack, and once I pulled them out, I got sound from my internal speakers. However, once I plugged back in my internal speakers, the jack still glowed red after I unplugged those... a pretty weird occurrence. After that, I tried plugging in the earbuds again and unplugging them to get sound, but the jack still would glow red when there was nothing plugged into it. Also, my sound settings doesn't list an "Internal Speakers" when my audio-out is plugged in or when it is not. Should I try to get a new audio-out cord for my speakers?

Sep 10, 2006, 09:29 AM
Are these speakers hooked up with an optical or headphone jack?

Sep 10, 2006, 09:31 AM
Are these speakers hooked up with an optical or headphone jack?

The speakers are hooked up to my headphone jack.

Sep 10, 2006, 12:40 PM
i had a friend that had a last-rev powerbook g4 17 inch, and she had the EXACT same problem (where the optical glowing red thing would not turn off when nothing was plugged in)

it started with no internal sound, only on ext. speakers, then it escalated to the airport/bluetooth not working at all, so she took it in, and they replaced the headphone jack, bt and apx

it worked for a little while, then she was getting kernel panics every hour on the hour, took it in again, worked a while, then completely died

so she took it in again, and they gave her a brand new macbook pro 17 inch

Oct 16, 2006, 09:58 AM
I just had this problem with my macbook. After reading this thread, I grabbed a plastic tipped Hair Pin (wives are great assets) tickled the speaker jack, the optical light went out, and voila, my internal speakers are working just fine....

It is definitely a faulty jack issue. Hopefully rev b macbooks will have this solved.

Oct 16, 2006, 10:40 AM
It is definitely a faulty jack issue. Hopefully rev b macbooks will have this solved.

Come on, you and I know that this problem is confined to a small number of notebooks and not a problem the MacBook is particularly struck by.

Oct 22, 2006, 06:38 PM
so she took it in again, and they gave her a brand new macbook pro 17 inch
My issue isn't quite this severe, but I have just started getting this 'stuck on optical' red LED issue with my headphone port.

I gather there's no other cure for this, other than to take it in for repair? I have around 3 months left on my first year warranty, so I guess I should be covered, right?

*Literally prays that he gets it replace with a new MacBook Pro 17"* hehehe


Nov 10, 2006, 12:44 PM
My issue isn't quite this severe, but I have just started getting this 'stuck on optical' red LED issue with my headphone port.

I gather there's no other cure for this, other than to take it in for repair? I have around 3 months left on my first year warranty, so I guess I should be covered, right?

*Literally prays that he gets it replace with a new MacBook Pro 17"* hehehe


I've had similar problems with my MacBook Pro 15" 2.0Ghz. Is this a job for AppleCare?

Nov 10, 2006, 01:23 PM
I've had similar problems with my MacBook Pro 15" 2.0Ghz. Is this a job for AppleCare?
Sure is! I gave my local Authorised Apple Repair Centre an e-mail, and they said to bring it in for a repair. They said they couldn't give a time-scale initially, but that once the machine had been assessed, I would be given a date.

I'll be taking it in sometime next week. So, I'll hopefully be giving the AppleCare staff a good review in the next week or two.

Keep us all posted on how you get on, also.


Jan 5, 2007, 09:11 PM
Mine did the same thing. The problem is there is a switch in the jack that tells it if you have a mini headphone plug or an optical plug plugged into the headphone port. The problem is when you remove the plug, the jack doesn't know it and keeps shining the red light to talk with the optical. This disables the internal speakers and you see digital out instead of internal speakers in the speaker conrtol panel. Plugging and unplugging the speakers may get it working right for awhile but it won't last forever.

The repair is warrantied, and involves replacing the left IO board. Parts and labor are covered, and the repair should take about 1/2 hr to perform.

Jan 16, 2007, 09:05 AM
I had the issue described so well in the forum. It began after using a standard set of headphones. Tried resetting the pram. Didn't work. As a last resort I googled "macbook pro stuck digital out" and found this thread. Used a soft small probe gently within the line out jack and out goes the red light of death, and the sound returns from the internal speakers.

Thanks MacRumors

Feb 20, 2007, 05:56 PM
I came to this forum looking for a solution to the same problem. I tried "tickling" the hole with a hair pin as suggested, and at the same time, I turned ON the "play user interface sound effects" and the "play feedback when volume is changed" boxes in "Sound Effects" in Sound Preferences, and it WORKED! I don't think it was the pin, although it could have been. If my :apple: is like me (we seem to become more similar every day) then it's into a little penetration every now and then ;)

YAY! Good luck...

Feb 26, 2007, 02:06 PM
I used a cable tie, wiggled it about a bit and sound has returned to my life...

Mar 5, 2007, 11:12 AM
I had this same issue today, where I had sound through external means (speakers, headphones) but not through the internal speakers. Then I noticed that my headphone jack would glow red when I tried to play sound or fiddle with the volume controls. I had no internal speaker choice in my sound preferences, so I finally googled the problem, which lead me to here.

I tried fiddling with the trigger (using a paperclip bent straight), which I think is visible on the bottom part of the headphone jack. After a few seconds of fiddling, the light went off and I had sound again. I plugged in some speakers to see if it was a temporary fix, and it seems to be going good for now. If I have any recurring problems, I will definitely try to get it repaired. And no, I haven't been forceful with my jacks. I got my 15" MBP 2.16GHz for about $500 through those advertisements (from a company called Nuitech), and I baby her!! :cool: :apple:

Mar 7, 2007, 12:49 PM
My boss came to me with this problem yesterday on his 15" MacBook Pro, complete with the red light glowing. Good old Google found this thread for me.

I was skeptical about inserting paper clips or other things into his MBP, especially if it was turned on... So I took a pair of headphones and plugged/unplugged them 4 or 5 times and problem solved (at least for now...).

You people on the MacRumors Forums Rock !!

Thanx All !

Mar 13, 2007, 03:34 AM
hi guys, is there a way to turn off the initial sound o my mbp? I noticed it's palyed also if I have loudspeakers plugged in. It isn't played if I had previously muted my machine. But I would like to know if there's a way to avoid that sound without keeping my machine muted. Thx

Mar 13, 2007, 04:20 PM
My 6 month old macbook started doing the same thing... I was able to get sound from the headphones...but definitely no sound from internal speakers other than when I boot it up. Called Applecare up...they said bring into the store, one trip later, they replaced the dialogic board (???) and all is well now! :)

Mar 14, 2007, 01:24 AM
they probably replaced the logic board, which the same as the mother board for pcs.

Mar 31, 2007, 11:22 AM

I had a 2 month long problem with the internal speakers not working. Used a bobby pin gently prodding all the way down the audio jack on the left side (note red light on). Tried once, no luck, tried again tapping at the bottom and viola success. In future careful with plugging in external speakers - the bobby pin solved the issue.

Apr 11, 2007, 12:11 AM
I went through the trouble of making an account just to thank you guys. I used a sewing pin running it along various parts of the wall of the headphone jack. I think the spot was on the lower left of the hole.

I thought I would write down the key words for others to find this forum:
MacBook Pro sound no output internal speakers stuck digital audio red light headphone jack.

Thanks a bunch.

mac loud
Jun 10, 2007, 06:26 PM
Defiantly a phone jack port issue, i got that red laser light people described and wiggled a headphone jack halfway-in the port a few times, the red light inside the jack socket went off and my internal speakers came on again....

..... the wierd thing is, i was in the mac shop a while ago when i was in for something else, and someone was in the queue ahead of me with the same 17'' macbokpro with same problem exactly.....
must be a common screw up.

i vote RECALL & upgrade, the laser nearly blinded me! ;-)

Jun 29, 2007, 12:53 AM
... am I the only one that feels like a virgin invading the headphone jack with a paper clip??!!
This is my baby. I have the extended coverage plan.
I followed through with the suggestion of penetration anyway, and it worked!
You guys are the best! A little hard to find for newbies searching the internet for help, but never the less...YOU ROCK!

Aug 1, 2007, 06:12 PM
To get my light off, I simply took the culprit headphones and ran the tip along the bottom of the input port until the light turned off (the switch is apparently on the bottom). Took two seconds.

Dec 4, 2007, 07:48 AM
I, too, went through the trouble of setting up an account just to say thanks. The Apple website was useless for this problem. I did a web search, and this thread was the first thing to pop up. (Maybe Apple should use the Google search engine.)

Stuck a soft cable tie into the scary red glowing output jack and...the light went away and...the internal speakers came back on.

You guys rock!


Dec 13, 2007, 10:13 AM
This digital output / red light issue happened for me recently, too -- out of the blue -- with my MacBook Pro. In looking around online for information, I saw one post that recommended just blowing into the audio out port. Although doing so might seem weird and "magical" (just like photographers asking kids to "blow out" the light), it worked for me. It took a couple blows, and I'd sure like to know what about the air pressure or moisture make this work.

Jan 8, 2008, 11:27 PM
Upon finding this thread I used the recommended headphone jack to disable the 'red laser light' to regain function of the internal speakers. After gently wiggling the jack around I discovered that the key is to run the jack along the lower left part applying modest pressure.

Problem solved!! Thanks for all the tips above :D!

Jan 11, 2008, 12:17 PM
I just swiped the bottom of the jack with my headphones plug and the light went off in a few seconds. It was incredibly easy and this chain was really helpful. I registered on macrumors just so I could thank you.

Happy Mac-ing!

Jan 16, 2008, 02:10 AM
like the person who posted before me, i too would like to say thanks for this thread!

i was in a coffee shop and left in a hurry during closing hours and must've swiped out my headphones from the jack a little too fast. upon coming home i noticed the red light and the painful sound of silence coming from my macbook pro.

i immediately found the thread and stuck my headphone jack back in jostled the plug towards the screen, and instantly sound came pouring thru my interal speakers. thank you so much! i was sooo worried!

i was just wondering, when you have to bring it in to get this issue fixed at the mac store and replacing parts is involved, do you need to back up your hd before you send it in?

*i know it is a always a good idea to back up your hd... but i love the way i have all my programs and things set up... it would be a real pain!

just curious, in the event that i may have to go in one day


Feb 11, 2008, 01:07 PM
I am having similar problem with my 12" Powerbook G4. Sound settings in my system prefs says that there is "no output device detected" and the volume bars are greyed out as well. sounds like it might be an issue with the headphone jack although it hasn't been used recently, nor have i been using optical cables. Can anyone advise?

Feb 13, 2008, 11:02 AM
thanks to all of you guys. I had this digital-output and no internal speakers but redlight problem.
I cleaned (or touched) the inside of headphone jack. et voila.


Feb 22, 2008, 06:33 PM
...and no sound.
I've been swiping the port hole like a convict for the last two hours!

I've looked everywhere for a solution and this seems to be the place. The only difference in my case is that there's no red light! typical.

Please send back-up!
(ie. If anyone's had the same luck as me and managed to turn it around, I would be most grateful if they shared. I need sound.)

Yours desperately,
Leroy :o

Feb 22, 2008, 06:39 PM
The volume icon on the top toolbar has vanished.
When the problem started it would sometimes show it's face but the problem still remained...
Volume would last for about a minute and then dissapear. I'd restart, and the same thing. Eventually sound ceased completely.
I worried cause I, at least, want a red light like everybody else!
Also, my warranty's up. Not cool.


Mar 3, 2008, 08:31 PM
So, I had the red light after I unplugged my headphones.

I tried the hair pin . . . the light went off . . . no sound.

No sound even when I have the headphones in.

Any suggestions?

Mar 9, 2008, 07:42 PM
I found something that worked! The same issue happened on one of my customers' MacBook. The Sound control panel only allowed the option to choose Digital Audio, the internal speakers did not show up as an option, and the prohibit sign (circle with a line through it) showed up when pressing the sound up, sound down keys.

As suggested, I tried plugging and unplugging a set of external headphones into the headphone jack, but that did not work. I tried some of the other suggestions too, with no success.

However, I decided to turn my attention to the audio-in jack, so I plugged the same headphones into the that jack (next to the headphone jack), removed them, and voila - all was back to normal.

Hope this helps some of you out there. --Andrew

Mar 12, 2008, 11:17 AM
Defiantly a phone jack port issue, i got that red laser light people described and wiggled a headphone jack halfway-in the port a few times, the red light inside the jack socket went off and my internal speakers came on again....

..... the wierd thing is, i was in the mac shop a while ago when i was in for something else, and someone was in the queue ahead of me with the same 17'' macbokpro with same problem exactly.....
must be a common screw up.

i vote RECALL & upgrade, the laser nearly blinded me! ;-)

I have a MacBook and had the same exact issue this morning.
After reading this thread I did the earbud-wiggle and its working again!
(I was dreading a trip to the swamped Genius Bar!!!)

Mar 30, 2008, 12:40 PM
I have the same problem but the pin wouldn't work, nothing worked. But in my sound preferences; the "Play alerts and sound effects through..." says Digital Out and it's grayed out so i can change it. Similarly, In my Output tab for the Built-In Output it says "Digital Out" and not "Internal Speakers" like it should, And like the first, it's not able to change. I'm pretty sure THATS the problem but i still have the red optical light and no sound unless I plug my speakers or headphones in. Help me tooo....

Mar 30, 2008, 01:44 PM
i vote RECALL & upgrade, the laser nearly blinded me! ;-)

What's to recall. When you unplug the optical it's can't detect it. When you plug in the regular stereo it completes a circuit.

As with the laser, it's an LED.

Apr 22, 2008, 04:10 PM
Ok, so I'm having the same issue (red light, no sound except for earphones, etc.)
Here is what I have tried (several times)
Sticking a bobby pin in the earphone hole gently, in pretty much every spot.

Sticking the most recently used earphones (that caused the problem) in the earphone hole.


And I had already had "play user interface sound effects" and "play feedback when volume is changed"
So... now what? Do I take it to the local Apple Store? Will that cost me? (I think I have a warranty... I got it last December so it should still be good.) Does the warranty cover this? Is it worth taking in or is it temporary? I'm really confused and a bit freaked out that so many have fixed this problem so easy yet I have failed to do so (trying everything.) I'm usually pretty good with computers... no expert... but I've never had a problem like this before! Help?

May 26, 2008, 02:09 PM
I too had this problem. I was listening to music with headphones, plugged the headphones out and no sound. Tried plugging the headphones in and out, but no luck. In the end I unticked "Play user interface sound effects" and "Play Feedback when volume is changed" and the internal speakers worked again!
Not sure which button made the difference.

Kiko Deutsch
May 26, 2008, 03:57 PM

Kiko Deutsch
May 26, 2008, 03:57 PM
Hi, after fiddling around much, i decided to send this letter to Apple:


I'm a mac user since 2004 and have never had major problems with macs or apple products, but last week I came upon an issue that made me very disappointed. I have a macbook and I used a slightly larger headphone plug on the headphone jack (which I only slightly forced in) to connect to my house's audio system. (It should be said that the cabled used had been used numerous times in many different headphone jacks.) It worked fine, but soon after I unplugged it, the internal speakers weren't working anymore. If I tried to change the volume, a circle with a line crossing it appears. Moreover, a red light shone from the headphone jack.

I waited until Monday to go to the local apple official tech support center and they told me that my warranty had expired. In order to fix it, they would have to REPLACE THE WHOLE LOGIC BOARD, and that would cost me around US$1,500! (I live in Brazil and Apple products here are much more expensive.) Apparently, there's no way to replace just the headphone jack!

I went home to read internet forums and was amazed at the number of people who had had the exact same problem: internal speakers do not work; red light comes out of the heaphone jack; on sys prefs>sound>output, the only thing showing is "digital out"; no sound from speakers; still works when headphones are plugged in. Some people had the same problem after using “different” headphone plugs; some people after some software update.

Apple crammed a digital audio port inside the headphone jack, which would account for the red light and, apparently, what must have happened is the sensor got bent with the larger headphone plug and now is stuck on digital out mode.

On some forums, the most common solution indicated was to insert a toothpick or something close to it and try to unbend the sensor. It worked for a lot of people, but not to me.

Other forums, thinking it could be a software problem, advised the reader either to reset the PRAM (by restarting and pressing down comm+alt+R+P) or to turn the computer off, unplugging the power cord, taking the battery out and pressing down the power button for 5 seconds. I tried all of those but nothing. Basically, what Apple told me that there is nothing they can do.

This is insane. First, Apple doesn't say anything about plugging slightly larger (and very common) headphone plugs onto the port. Second, the solution for the problem is to replace almost the whole computer. I’ve talked to two certified apple tech support centers in Rio de Janeiro and to Apple Brazil in São Paulo. They all basically told me that that is nothing to be done.

Now I come to Apple in the US (the source) and ask: is this for real? Will I loose my computer’s speakers? I’d really appreciate a quick response. I’ve been an unconditional mac fan until now and got many friends to become users. Apple seemed to be a more intelligent and honest manufacturer, and that made the difference (and the extra dollars worth).

Thank you very much,

Best Regards,

Kiko Deutsch
May 26, 2008, 04:01 PM
This has got to have a software solution. Why the heck, then, would the speakers work with that initial sound when I restart the computer? I've exhausted internet forums and there seems to be no other solution than to replace the logic board. Can this really be?

May 27, 2008, 10:19 AM
I have been having this persistent red light issue with non-functioning internal speakers for about a month now. I took my Macbook in to a repair store today and was told that the issue IS under warranty (within the first year), and that they would replace the logic board, a repair that would normally cost $800 if it weren't covered. However, the repair would take a week. Unfortunately my use of this computer for work makes a week without it impossible. The technician also said something very interesting; "there is no switch; the logic board needs to be replaced."

I have a Macbook (circa June 2007), and I found that the "switch" was located in a different spot than most were reporting. I used my headphone jack to gently massage the inside "roof" of the port. I found an indentation, that appeared it could be a switch, roughly a centimeter or less inside the port on the top (meaning the side closest to the keyboard). After a few tries, the red light blinked a bit and turned back on. Tried again... After 6 or 7 attempts the blinking subsided and the light turned off! My speakers again worked, but I have noticed that the red light still blinks in a pattern of 3 short, faint blinks every once and a while. After a few minutes, the red light was back!!!! OH NO! I "fixed" it again. It is still functioning for now, but it seems that this "switch" idea may just be a mechanical result of jiggling the port around and causing a loose connection to work on a temporary basis. I would recommend taking it to a certified Mac repair shop and having it fixed under warranty, but for those who are left to jiggle, good luck!!!

I hope this is of some help to others.


Kiko Deutsch
May 27, 2008, 10:33 AM

I already jiggled, danced and prayed, but nothing. I'm taking it to the authorized "repair show" to see if they can fix it without having to change the whole logic board... I'm probably going to be disappointed again. It is ridiculous that such a simple thing has a such drastic solution. It's like using a tank to kill an ant. Better luck for everybody.

Jun 1, 2008, 02:14 PM
I just had that problem for the first time. I found a forum with a suggestion that solved the problem for me right away.

1. you need to reset the SMC (System Management Control) on your MBP - search the Apple knoldge base for the procedure for your computer

That will give you sound again

2. This is what fixed it: I plugged my earphones back in and muted the sound (F3), and then unplugged the earphones and increased the volume (F5). I hope that, or some combination of that helps for you.


Jun 1, 2008, 05:38 PM
I thought I would update this old post of mine in case anyone out there ever has the same issues.
After much discussion with Apple over the phone, they decided that I was fully covered with my warranty and that the problem was a hardware issue.:(
I sent the computer in and the entire internal, left side of my laptop was replaced. Everything working great now and has been since the repair... almost a year ago now.:)
MY SUGGESTION: If you've tried everything and nothing is working, call Apple and be forceful and persistent.:eek: No need to be rude just be assured that you have done all that you can and Apple needs to stay responsible to the customer.
MY ADVISE: Always get the warranty! I don't know about anyone else but this particular computer costed me more money than any car I've ever owned and I've always had insurance on my ride. If you get to the end of your warranty and can extend the coverage... do it.:apple:

Kiko Deutsch
Jun 3, 2008, 12:58 PM

I've reset the SMC already and it did not work. My warraty is long past its due date. I guess I'll have to wear headphones for the rest of this computer's days. It seams that, although it appears very unlikely that the switch which activates the optical audio input cannot be desactivated via software, the problem on my computer seems to be on this switch. Well, at least I learned a lesson and will apply it on my new mac book pro.:(

Thanks anyway.

Jun 8, 2008, 08:34 AM
Try this if you don't feel comfortable poking and prodding around the walls of your audio jack. Plug headphones into the headphone jack, leave them in and reboot your mac. This worked for my BlackBook.

Jul 19, 2008, 09:25 PM
Hey guys, just wanted to say thanks for all of the information here, but I have yet another interesting tip, which has surprisingly only been mentioned once before, and seemed to be overlooked.

First my story:
This happened to me first a couple of days ago. I've been on a weeklong trip in IL, and have been using a small set of external speakers, but strangely had this problem when I was trying to use my internal speakers just so i could go to sleep (didn't want to kill the batteries in the ext speakers). Anyways, since i'm familiar with the analog/digital capability of the headphone jack, I recognized the red glow as an optical digital output that seemed to be stuck on for some reason. I'm also not sure why, but I seemed to be under the impression that there was an optical sensor, rather than a mechanical sensor, in the headphone jack, and figured that if it detected matter inside the port but had no electrical connections it would assume it is a fiber optic cable and enable the digital output. I thought perhaps in the transport from TX to IL some dust or particles may have found their way into the headphone jack.

So, as one might guess, the next morning I picked my laptop up and gave it a strong puff of air into the jack in an attempt to eradicate whatever foreign material was in there, and it worked perfectly. As with the others, this isn't a permanent solution, and I've had to do it a couple of other times, but it doesn't require penetrating your delicate macbook, and for whatever reason it seems to work just as well. You may have to blow in there several times before you can get it, but it does usually work, and at the very least should make your red light flicker. I haven't tried using canned air but this may be even more effective. Just remember before heaving into your laptop to swallow as much saliva as possible and eliminate spitting or excess moisture of any kind (think of those stupid SNES and N64 cartridges that wouldn't boot until you blew the dust off of them).

Just felt like sharing. Thanks :)


Sep 10, 2008, 02:34 AM
Has anyone ever experienced that the red light does NOT turn off? Wiggling a headphone, fully inserted or in the middle, or a cotton bud, or matchstick all give the same result: the red light turns off for a moment, starts flashing, and is back on again. Problem is that this MacBook is no longer under warranty ...


Sep 12, 2008, 09:36 AM
I too registered specially just to thank you guys.

Same problem, obviously. I have a jack to jack which I use to connect to speakers and the jack plugs need a wiggle because the cable is knackered. I had given them a semi rough wiggle this morning and that was when the problem occurred. I have no Apple care and my MBP is 13 months old. I always joked that it would start going wrong at this age.

I played a tune in itunes and then I used a small screwdriver and prodded the bottom left of the jack, down by the red light. There is a sort of pressure switch down there you can feel and just about see move when a little pressure is applied. After about a minute of wiggling and pressing the speakers burst into life.

Hope it lasts.

Good luck everyone.

Sep 23, 2008, 11:01 AM
I have been having this problem for a few months now... Every once in a while a that blasted red laser would beam from my headphone jack and then I'd shake my macbook, blow in the headphone jack, tap the front and back of the laptop. Today I was having problems with it and I was curious if any one else seemed to have these problems... so I googled it and found this.
This time, I used tweezers and toggled one side of them in and out. Seemed to work for me!
Thanks for the other ideas as well!

Oct 5, 2008, 07:55 AM
I saw your post about tickling inside the phone jack port on my 2007 macbook and it worked for me too! I have been struggling for way too long now trying to figure out why, after using my little earphones, I no longer had internal speaker sound. Anyway, cheers for the tip.

Gold Coast

Dec 22, 2008, 07:09 PM
I have a ibook g3 with the same problem. I figured it was the headphone jack before finding this page but there is some good advice here. I put a safety pin into the port. there are 2 contacts that have to touch for the internal speakers to work and it seems they get stretched out. Mine stops working every so often and I have to break out the paper clip again. I think to completely fix this issue in some cases is to take it apart and bend the contacts or patch the wires somehow. maybe some one can take their computer apart and take detailed pictures:D

Dec 31, 2008, 05:54 PM
I had the same problem. I just went into system preferences. Opened up the sound card and change the out put for the speaker from internal to external. Worked on my new MacPro with OS 10.5. Speaker output was redirected to the external speakers.

Dec 31, 2008, 09:58 PM
well, my assessment was way off!

Jan 2, 2009, 03:49 AM
As far as I can tell, there seems to be a mechanical switch that turns off the speakers when you plug in a jack. If the switch gets stuck, the computer thinks there must be a plug, but since there is no conductivity it must be optical.

The trick is to loosen the switch as this post (http://www.macriot.com/article.php/20080718032528619) figured quite a while ago. I am noting this because it took me a while to stumble upon the link.

Worked great for me. I should have known that WD40 was the answer as soon as I realized duct tape wasn't going to work.

Of course I used ProLink clean chain lube. WD40 is strictly for PCs.

Is Is
Jan 4, 2009, 06:41 PM
Wow, ok so I had the exact, same problem described in the thread as well. Finding this forum in google really saved me! As some others said to do, I just plugged my headphones in and out of the jack a couple of times and then it started working again :)

Jan 19, 2009, 11:15 PM
So my internal speakers stoped workin and had a circle with a line threw it and a red led in the jack.. :mad: So i looked around and every 1 said to take it in to get fixed.. but i got to thinkin and i remembered blowing into my seag and nintendo growing up.. So i did this and hell it worked good luck

Jan 28, 2009, 01:24 PM
Also registered just to say thanks, and that the method that worked best for me, mentioned by one poster, was rebooting with the headphones plugged in. When I unplugged them the internal speakers were working again.

I did not have the red glowing light, but the computer couldn't find my internal speakers.

So glad since my warranty has expired and couldn't part with my mac for the three days it would need to be in the shop.

Feb 14, 2009, 11:09 PM
Can't believe this thread's been growing since 2006. My macbook is over 2 years old and my sound stopped working too! The red light was glowing and everything. I tried the hairpin, nothing, but then I tried the thing of putting the external speaker jack in there and taking it out over and over, like ten times, and VOILA, totally worked. So grateful, and hope some future googler is helped by this. Good Luck

Apr 19, 2009, 09:49 PM
I plugged and unplugged my headphones several times, and low and behold that is all it needed. I did also wiggle a little bit when the pin was in the hole.

Jul 5, 2009, 05:43 PM
I also registered just for this too!

..but it's not to say Thank you!! Actually, Screw you!!

I had the same problem, earphone jack glowing red and internal speakers not working.. So google lead me here and I read a few posts, even started to get excited with the hopes of getting my MBP replaced by a new one..

but then.. you guys HAD to give working solutions, didn't you?!

Now it's totally working and my hopes of getting a new MBP is lost!!! Aaaasrgh!!!


j/k ty lol :P

Jul 15, 2009, 06:10 AM
A few months ago this same thing happened to me, when unpluging muy headphones off my macbook, the red light went on and I wasnt able to listen any sound form my mac, I waited a few months and went to an apple store, where they told me that the only solution was to replace the logic board and this would cost about 800 usd, shocked I found this forum and tried all the posible solutions mentioned above: the clip, the plugin and unplugin, etc, etc, after severeal hours of trying the strangest thing happened, my audio worked!!!!!, but the red light was still on, I thing puting the clipp in was the solution, now the computer internal speakers are working correctly while the red light is still on hmmm.
I hope this could help someone someday, and wow.
thanks for the tips:apple:

Jul 15, 2009, 02:16 PM
Yeah a friend has a MacBook (blk) that the audio crapped out too. Is that red light a laser? I was looking straight into :o
The Apple Support line couldn't make heads or tails. They said it'll have to be inspected physically by the genius techs.

Jul 22, 2009, 11:28 AM
Bingo! I tried everything for three days. And then, after going through all the posts till the last page and after having applied all your advices and after losing all my hopes I tried again more than 10 times to plug the headphone jack in and out in and out in and out....
Keep going, it must work!
Thank you for all of you.

Jul 23, 2009, 07:03 PM
I have had this issue before and for the life of me could not remember what worked. So, once again I scoured the internet for a solution which led me to this forum. What I found the cause to be was leaving a mini-jack plugged into the headphone/line out while listening to external speakers/headphones and then shutting the computer down. The solution that worked for me was going to system preferences and checking mute (next to output volume) with the mini-jack still plugged into the headphone/line out. Next, just remove the mini-plug from the jack and you should be back in business! I would be curious to know if this was just a fluke for me or if it works for anyone else. I hated the idea of sticking some foreign object into one of my precious macs holes (sorry, that sounds kinda weird). Anyway, this method worked for me. Hope it works for you. Cheers!

Jul 30, 2009, 10:15 AM
Last night I was listening to itunes on my headphones. I accidentally yanked the cord out at 2am. I woke up and tried playing itunes again and no sound. No sound on the internal speakers and no sound on my headphones or the through the external speakers that they are usually connected to. So I tried the toothpick thing and nothing. Then I thought....let me put in a cd....nothing.
(I know this sounds idiodic to put in a cd, but I was trying everything). Then....I went to youtube and played a clip and I have sound working everywhere! So....what the the heck did I do to itunes itself for it not to produce sound? Clearly my headphone jack and internal speakers work. I was a little pissed that I poked around in there when I didn't need to.

Help....anyone have some insight to what's wrong with itunes?

starcade design
Aug 5, 2009, 05:57 PM
I had this same problem. After searching, all I found was "wiggle the plug inside" and "stick a toothpick in it," and so on. None of these worked for me, and I eventually got an appointment at the Genius Bar. The guy told me it needed to be shipped out to be fixed, and that it would be 5-7 days.

That was Sunday. I got it back today! Aside from fixing that issue, they put a new battery in, and replaced the release mechanism/latch for the screen, and put on some new keys (or new keyboard) as my old one had a bad key or two. I only told them about the sound and the key on the keyboard. They decided the others weren't up to par and replaced them.

I have AppleCare for another 8 months or so, so it was all done at no charge, including the Priority Overnight return shipping.

People knock Apple sometimes, but as far as I'm concerned their customer service is amazing. Sure it was silly to have an issue with the headphone jack, but they took care of it and then some.

I'm once again a very happy Mac owner!

Nov 19, 2009, 02:08 PM
Good to hear that starcade, I have a similar issue with my MBP where the volume on the menu grays out when I remove the headphones, no "Apple Care center" here so I need to visit the reseller I bought from :(

Nov 22, 2009, 03:24 PM
I have had a very similar issue with my macbook pro. When I removed my input cable, the internal speakers produced no sound and a red light glowed from the input jack. After reading a few posts from this thread, I found that using a very thin wire to carefully feel around was most effective.

What I deducted was this: In the input jack, there is a small switch/toggle in the bottom left part of the jack near the red light. This switch is what cues the computer that the input jack is in use, and in turn flips on the red light. So if you can see the red light, that means that the switch has been caught in the position that performs exterior sound, and it has to be released manually.

Now whether you choose a screwdriver, toothpick, q-tip, etc., that is your perrogative. In this situation though, something must be used to dislodge the switch, and I recommend to use the smallest but still effective object you can find. I used a twisty-tie and removed the paper coating on one side, and then bent back the metal tip to eliminate a sharp edge that could damage anything.

Dec 2, 2009, 05:20 PM
I baby my MacBook Pro:apple: and just spent the last hour and a half trying to figure out why my internal speakers were not working; not showing up in sound preferences output nor allowing me to change the volume control plus the red light of death was appearing in the headphone jack, headphones worked when plugged in. Then I came to this forum and voila! It is fixed! Thanks! Could be a temporary fix but I used the advice of another on here who suggested to plug and wiggle my headphone plug in the jack. Sounds dirty but after four or so times my internal speakers are working again! Which is good considering my warranty is up. I have only had this computer for 2 years and 5 months. Come on mac...!

Dec 20, 2009, 01:14 PM
I had this problem for months. Today I bent a small zip tie in half and inserted the bent end into the jack. I only inserted it a short way, about a 1/3 of the jack depth. It immediately turned off the light and restored my internal speakers.

I can now switch between internal and headphones by simply plugging the jack with the zip tie, and I'm not afraid of messing up the jack as the tie is nylon and won't short out or cause undo wear.

Dec 28, 2009, 03:50 PM
After endlessly poking around with a safety pin i stumbled on a solution to tide me over till i take in for repair.
This worked for me as a temporary fix, iv'e had to do it twice in the last two days. I only created an account because i havn't seen this suggestion anywhere...

1)Plug your headphones into the port and go to system preferences.
2)Go to sound and by the output tab, click use audio port for output
3)Repeat step two by the input tab (click output for both)
4)Now remove your headphones from the jack and VIOLAA your sound should no longer be grayed out(for now)

I dont know exactly why this works or if it will work for you but i thought i'd attempt to assist any other frustrated persons in this forum because i feel your pain.

Jan 30, 2010, 01:49 AM
I have had the same problem for over a year (yes- I know I should have done something about it but I do have airport express for wireless streaming)

It started when I was in garage band and accidentally put a digital-audio jack into the headphones instead of an audio one.
It has constantly glowed red from the earphone socket ever since and I have tried everything to no avail.
I have reset the whole macbook (make sure you back-up!!!) but this did not work.
I have sought expert (albeit amateur guys but really knowledgeable) advice
I guess I shall got to Regent Street to get the repair cost ;-?

The internal speakers signal has vanished from the sound bar in the system pane and despite trying some of these ideas very carefully, nothing is making a difference. The internal speakers are sounding when I re-start.
I have also tried going back into Garageband and 'tricking' the macbook into thinking that the digital audio has been removed.

These ideas are all very well but if a simple mistake can cause so many issues, it really is something that I shall have to take up with the store.

will keep you all posted !

Mar 9, 2010, 02:00 PM
i have a Mac Pro 5.3 with 10.5.8.
I inserted USB headphones to watch a company 'TV' webcast via the browser.

Apr 10, 2010, 07:57 PM
I was fiddling with a sewing pin for the 20th time almost mechanically, when the red light went off and I started receiving sound from my mb's speakers. I joined in with MacRumors just to say a huge thank you.
Cheers guys, you saved me from staying awake for the next 24 hours.

Take care.

Apr 22, 2010, 08:18 PM
I, also, do not have a "red light" problem. I just do not have the sound, and no "built-in speakers" are listed in my sound preferences. When I plug headphones in, the sound preferences panel recognizes them and the sound comes back on.

I've tried to plug iPod earbuds into the headphones port and this does not work. I've also tried to re-set the P-RAM, and that does not work.

Any other suggestions?


Apr 25, 2010, 04:56 AM
It is CARBON in your headphone jack.. take little cotton, a thin match stick and create a tiny earbud (do not use real earbud, it may damage jack) look a like, roll this in both directions in Jack.. You may notice carbon when you pull them out... tickling the jack may restore sound temporarily but it would resurface if you do not clean it properly.... :D

Apr 25, 2010, 04:58 AM
It is CARBON in your headphone jack.. take little cotton, a thin match stick and create a tiny earbud (do not use real earbud, it may damage jack) look a like, roll this in both directions in Jack.. You may notice carbon when you pull them out... tickling the jack may restore sound temporarily but it would resurface if you do not clean it properly.... :D

Jun 13, 2010, 10:47 AM
Defiantly a phone jack port issue, i got that red laser light people described and wiggled a headphone jack halfway-in the port a few times, the red light inside the jack socket went off and my internal speakers came on again....

..... the wierd thing is, i was in the mac shop a while ago when i was in for something else, and someone was in the queue ahead of me with the same 17'' macbokpro with same problem exactly.....
must be a common screw up.

i vote RECALL & upgrade, the laser nearly blinded me! ;-)

I am not sure if I want to vote for RECALL & upgrade. I am very much happy with it. But I started getting this problem. After reading few post I realized that jack/switch is loose or I must have inserted wrong sized pin. After couple of in/out in/out problem solved. But I hope it does not keep coming again.

Thanks 2 u all!!
This forum has either fix for common problems or details about them to understand that we need to live with it. This is also good for most lehmans.


Jun 20, 2010, 02:37 AM
Also signed up to say "thanks". I used a bobby pen that has the plastic drop on the end. Found the little switch in the back of the hole. It could have been dirty, who knows. It works now. I don't think I'll be plugging in headphones anytime soon.

Aug 9, 2010, 10:37 AM
I came to this forum looking for a solution to the same problem. I tried "tickling" the hole with a hair pin as suggested, and at the same time, I turned ON the "play user interface sound effects" and the "play feedback when volume is changed" boxes in "Sound Effects" in Sound Preferences, and it WORKED! I don't think it was the pin, although it could have been. If my :apple: is like me (we seem to become more similar every day) then it's into a little penetration every now and then ;)

YAY! Good luck...
Okay, I realize this is an ANCIENT thread, but my 15" MBP (2008) started having the same problem last night and this was the first google result for my search, and while the whole discussion was helpful elsabella's comment was one of the most enjoyable I have ever encountered on any forum at any time.


- Jon

Aug 19, 2010, 06:16 AM
I see that this problem occurs intermittently. Is this prodding the only solution each time? Very disappointing :(

I think I should just take it to Apple Care. Will keep you posted.

Aug 21, 2010, 03:14 AM
After reading loads of info/experiences on this thread, i fixed mine (mid 2009 MB Pro), by stripping most of the cotton from one end of a Q-Tip.
Then I used the stripped Q-Tip to push down or over the switch inside the Audio Out jack. This took quite a bit of fiddling with it to get the switch reset. Since then (about 1 week later) it's working great again.... There was some black dirt (carbon build up??) which also was cleaned by the Q-Tip.

I do believe in severe cases the jack could require a replacement, but this should be replacing a part on the main motherboard and not the whole motheboard itself.

If I had any warranty left I would just have gone to AppleCare and likely they would do the fiddlin with the switch, and/or decide the motherboard needs replacing.

Thanks to all others here who showed me what to do.


Sep 7, 2010, 11:26 AM
Like many here I had a problem with the internal speakers after I removed a external speaker. Note I had not had a problem with any "headphone" jacks before. Perhaps its has to do with 3rd party specs for the external speakers..
For my mac pro there was a "red glow" that came on only after the externals unit was removed. A little wiggling with the "headphone" jack and it was fixed. No toothpick needed..

Dec 2, 2010, 03:05 PM
As others mentioned, a tooth pick did the trick. I inserted it towards the end, straight from the top right (2 o clock position staring at the switch). I guess my situations was weird because sometimes the audio didn't work but the red light was off. The digital out was on, anyways. Hope this helps!

Dec 30, 2010, 05:37 AM
I still think it is sorta funny when you call Apple Care about your audio port being stuck on optical and they never actually knew that there ever was an optical port on a mac book... Was sure that would be a feature they would know about :S

I was just wondering if any one could recreate a the following on a mac book pro 13"

In sound preferences set the In/Out port to Input and plug in some headphones... The profile should change to Headphones when plugged in and back to Internal when out..

Now change it to Output with the headphones plugged in, when i pull out my headphones the profile on my mac will continuously switch between Internal and Optical until the headphones are plugged in again..

Apr 21, 2011, 06:39 AM
Just got done dealing with this myself (MBP 2011 2.3ghz i7, etc.) I tried the toothpick w/ no luck. I ended up blowing the input jack out with compressed air (while no audio was playing hence no red light), and then it worked like there was never a problem. I assume there was just some dust or something in the input making it think there was something plugged in. Good luck!

Jul 14, 2011, 04:59 AM
Created an account just to thank you guys and let you know how I fixed my speakers.

For a while now, my in-built speakers were acting up. They'd start and stop and the volume icon would grey out then become black again. I kept trying to find solutions to fix the problem but nothing worked until I found this thread, so thanks everyone. <3

So first I took my headphones and plugged them in and out a few times, that fixed the problem for a few minutes, but the red light came back on again. And at one point, the internal speakers only played when the headphones were plugged IN. So odd. So I tried blowing into the jack and that worked for a bit but then stopped working when I plugged in the headphones again. I then took a bobby pin and prodded inside the jack gently. That only made the sound go out COMPLETELY.

I rebooted and reset my PRAM and NVRAM. Still nothing. Then I just tried plugging my headphones into the other jack, for audio in, and tada! Works like new now. Hopefully it's permanent fix otherwise will have to bring it in.

Good luck!

P.S. I haven't tried using headphones yet... a bit scared!! I think the headphones are the cause since mine are a bit faulty. Will try when I get a new pair.

Oct 1, 2011, 05:23 PM
mbp mid 2009
out of warranty

every time i reboot my mac the sound comes greyed out.
i need to insert my iPhone headphones for 3 seconds to fix it.

-no red light for me.
-i have sound in mbp external speakers.
- can't control the volume with keys or icon in menu bar
. I'm able to control volume in itunes.

solution anyone?

Nov 5, 2011, 08:12 AM
I had the same issue - blowing air into the headphone jack cleared the problem

Dec 19, 2011, 06:09 PM
I have used this MacBook Pro for a year and a half now without major issue. Recently I decided to use some external speakers on my desk at work instead of the internals. All was well until I tried using the internal speakers again. The volume was greyed out and System prefs didn't list the internal speakers. What I found was that there are several "contact" inside that connector. The one that appears to be the problem is the one on the bottom of the connector. I prodded it with a plastic toothpick and the speakers came back. I believe that it gets stuck making the computer think it has a digital external device. Then when you plug in speakers or headphones those contacts take over and work. When you remove the speaker connector it reverts to thinking it has the external digital device because that contact/switch is still stuck. Anyway it was very definitely the bottom switch/contact on mine. I hope this is helpful.

Dec 22, 2011, 02:34 PM
Hello everyone:
My son has a Macbook pro and he has tried all the tricks suggested in this forum. I have a house full of apple products and have done just about every kind of diagnostic to keep things running. Here's the work around I did for him. I know it's strange, but it works. His audio output setting is stuck on digital and the optical red light is on solid, yet if he hooks up speakers or headphones, it works. Here's the goofy trick I discovered by accident.

I took an audio cable with nothing connected to it. You could also use a converter jack. In my case, it's one of those 8mm cables to connect your Iphone/ipod to your car stereo or external audio device. I went in to the control panel and changed the audio output to the audio input source. Strangely enough, the internal speakers fired right up. I was running a slingbox player and it worked perfectly.

Of course, you need to remember to set it back to normal (directed to the output) when you are done! I know it's not the greatest work around, but it works and you are not poking around in there. Let me know if it works for anyone else.