Why Are My MacBook Speakers So Quiet?

MacBooks are wonderful high-end machines. There’s a level of quality that we’ve come to expect from Apple products, and so when something as basic as your system volume isn’t working right, we’re naturally going to be quite frustrated. So, if you are wondering, ‘why are my MacBook speakers so quiet?’ Then we’ve got some potential answers for you.

First, Ensure the Right Output Audio is Selected

The first thing you’ll want to do is check your volume output settings and ensure the speaker volume is at an adequate sound level and that the internal speakers aren’t muted. Here’s how:

  • Select the Apple logo in the top left corner.
  •  Click on System Preferences.
  • Select Sound.
  • Select the Output Tab.
  • Ensure your internal speakers are selected.
  • Increase the volume by clicking and moving the slider.
  • Also, ensure that the Mute box is left unchecked.

Restart Your MacBook

The next thing you’ll want to do is restart your Macbook, simply turn it off, and back on again. This in itself is enough to fix the problem in some cases.

Try Resetting the Core Audio

If you haven’t restarted your system in a long time, restarting the sound controller may be just what the doctor ordered. To do this, simply use the following steps:

  • From your Go menu (on the top left corner), go to ‘Utilities‘ and select your Activity Monitor.
  •  Type ‘coreaudiod’ within the search field on the CPU tab, and your search should locate this quickly. This is your core sound driver.
  •  Select coreaudiod and click on the ‘X’ in order to close it. This driver should restart itself immediately so that you may check to see if your sound is now fully restored.

Additionally, you can also do this via the Terminal app. Here’s how:

  • From your Go menu, select ‘Utilities > Activity Monitor
  • Then Launch the terminal app.
  • Type: sudo killall coreaudiod
  • Press enter.
  • Enter your password if asked.

After resetting the core audio, test out your sound to ensure it’s working as it should.

Are You Running the Latest MacOS Version?

We will want to make sure that you are running the latest Mac Operating System. Using outdated software can impact your device’s sound settings. In order to check your version number, simply select your Apple menu, and we want to choose ‘About This Mac.’

Here you will find the version number for your operating system, and there is also a handy ‘software update’ which will check for updates and let you install them. Note: Before installing updates, consider backing up your Mac OS with a program like ‘Time Machine’ or the preferred backup method of your choice.

If updating the OS does nothing to improve the sound, then you are ready to proceed to the next section.

Check if it’s a Hardware Issue by Using Siri

If no sound is outputting from your MacBook at all. Then you can test whether or not this is a hardware issue by using Siri. Typically, If it is a software issue, Siri will still output sound to your MacBook’s internal Speakers. If no sound is heard at all, then this may indicate a hardware issue.

To do this, simply turn on Siri and say “Hello” if you’re able to hear Siri’s response, then the issue is most likely a software issue. (Make sure that your volume is turned up when doing this)

If you don’t hear Siri, then this may indicate a hardware issue, and you may need to contact Apple Support for further assistance.

We’ll Need to Rule Out Other Applications Overriding Your Volume Settings

There are a lot of fun apps out there, but sometimes they have their own sound drivers, which may interfere with your default driver. We want to rule this out, so we will need to check the audio output settings in your MacBook to rule out this issue.

You’ll want to go into your System Preferences, and from here, you will select the ‘Sound’ option. Next, select the tab which is labeled ‘Output’ and see what is listed and selected there. If you see that an item that is checked looks suspiciously like an App, then it is likely what is overriding your default audio. Uninstalling the app is the quickest way to resolve this issue.

If your sound issue is only occurring when you are using a certain app, then you will need to check the individual settings on that application, as many apps, such as Safari or iTunes, have their own specific volume controls, which may be set differently from your default system volume settings.


The NVRAM is a memory your MacBook stores to quickly gain access to certain settings. This includes the sound volume, display resolution, startup-disk selection, and time zone.

In some cases, resetting the NVRAM can resolve any sound issue you may be experiencing.

However, do keep in mind that resetting your NVRAM will reset your sound volume, display resolution, startup-disk selection, and time zone settings.

If you own a MacBook with an Apple Silicon Chip, then restarting your MacBook will, by default, reset your NVRAM.

However, if you own a MacBook with an intel chip, here’s what you’ll need to do to reset the NVRAM:

  • Shut down your MacBook (it must be completely turned off)
  •  Place your Fingers on the following keys, Option, Command, P, and R. But don’t click them yet.
  • Now turn on your MacBook and press all keys mentioned above simultaneously (The buttons will need to be pressed before the Apple logo appears).
  •  Continue holding the buttons for around twenty seconds. Your MacBook will restart.

Your MacBook should now begin to boot up. When this is complete, you may want to navigate to System Preferences and readjust all the reset features, such as your time zone, resolution…etc.

Try Running Maintenance Scripts to Declutter your MacBook

In the course of normal operation, your system creates numerous temporary files, and these need to be cleaned up from time to time. MacBook’s running OS X are actually running a Unix-based operating system, and if you know how to do it, you can run these scripts on your own.

These scripts are designed to clean up your system, and they normally run automatically every day between 3:15 and 5:30 am. Unfortunately, if your system is shut down or happens to be ‘sleeping’ during this time, then the scripts will not run, and you must do it manually.

Websites like ‘The X Lab’ have steps for running maintenance scripts on your MacBook, such as this listing here. Alternatively, you can download apps like CleanMyMac X, which allow you to run these scripts without having to utilize a long set of steps through OS X’s brand of Unix.

Note: Be sure to back up your system before running any sort of maintenance script. While the built-in scripts shouldn’t hurt the system, it is always a good policy to back up your current setup before initiating any maintenance or upgrade steps on your MacBook.

Some final advice on restoring full sound

Today we’ve outlined the most common fixes for sound issues you might encounter on your MacBook. If you’ve ruled out all solutions we’ve listed today, then you should contact MacBook support. They may be able to provide you with an updated driver or a model-specific fix that can get you up and running quickly.

Just be sure to go through the steps that we’ve listed today first, as these should fix about 99% of sound issues that you encounter on your MacBook!

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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