MacBook Pro Speaker Freakout…

I’ve had this happen twice now and couldn’t find anything about it. While happily working away on my laptop, the speakers made a loud, sudden pop. After that no sound would come out of them – no iTunes, no notifications, nothing. I turn the volume up and down several times with no effect. Mute caused the popping noise though so I knew the speakers weren’t dead just freaked out. On a whim, I plugged in my headphones and mashed the mute button again. Viola! Sound worked fine in the headphones. Upon unplugging them, I now have sound again. Uh…ok.
Not sure if it warrants a trip to the Apple Store (when am I NOT looking for a reason to go there) but since I can’t exactly reproduce the issue I’m guessing I’ll have to wait for a reoccurrence.

David O’Hara is a Senior Consultant with Improving Enterprises in Dallas, Texas.


77 Responses to MacBook Pro Speaker Freakout…

  1. Ghosty says:

    That is bizarre. Were this a PC, I would instantly lay blame on the sound card. (Does a macbook have a sound card?) …

  2. Trint says:

    Static maybe? The after market speakers I have on my home PC do some weird popping when I turn off the ceiling fan via the wall switch. I just have to turn the speakers off and back on again. I’ve always assumed this was related to static.

  3. Phineas says:

    Wierd – same thing happened to me this morning. Google led me to your post, I tried the headphone trick and sure enough, back to normal.

  4. Gus says:

    Same here. Thanks for saving me a trip to the Apple store!

  5. Carly says:

    Wow, the same thing is happening to me right now… Thanks for the tip on fixing it. I wonder if its common?

  6. lolacupcake says:

    Like the person above, I Google’d when I had this issue and was led to your post… and it worked! How odd. I was freaking out.

  7. d. danger says:

    thanks for the help. my macbook pro has done this atleast 5 times since i got it, and normally i just wait for it to cut back on. i assume it’s some sort of overheating mechanism that keeps the speakers from dying when the computer is beginning to get too hot. mine generally gets overheated when i use it on the black neoprene case i purchased for it. quite obviously because the case is attracting the heat because of the black color and then the heat goes nowhere. i always seem to forget that that happens and i don’t stop i before it happens. anyways, thanks a ton for the quicker tip to getting it back to normal.

  8. really happy says:

    It worked! AMAZING!

  9. Luger says:

    Hello Guys

    I am sorry for being simple but I do not quite get what the solution is for fixing the speaker pop problem.



  10. David O'Hara says:

    If you plug in some headphones and then press the mute button, you will have sound in the headphones. When you unplug the headphones, sound should be fine. If you don’t hear anything in the headphones or sound doesn’t come back, I’d recommend taking it in to the “genius bar”.

  11. Luger says:

    Hello David

    Thanks for the post. I have just done what you suggested and there is no problem with the sound either with the earphones plugged in or without them. Unfortunately that slight ‘pop’ sound is not gone. When you do something in the finder, for example copy and paste there is always a ‘pop’ before the actual alert sound comes on.
    I have been looking everywhere for the solution without any success and frankly I am expecting a firmware or an update release that will fix this common bug.



  12. David O'Hara says:

    Ah ok, with mine there was NO sound from the speakers as opposed to a popping noise before sound came out. While it’s possible that there’s debris in the earphone jacks that is causing this, my guess is you’ll need someone to look at it for you. Sorry.

  13. Luger says:

    No worries mate. My only concern is that the mac is properly tuned in and everything is workin’ fine on it. this popping issue is the only one that makes me wanna kick its ass…if i saw a ‘genius’ they would say it is a common issue, there is nothing they can do about it at the moment which i can not believe..


  14. Kiel says:

    just wanted to add to the discussion.

    same thing (pop/no sound) has been happening.. it just happened but was the second time.

    i have the program smcFancontrol and ran it once the pop happened… soon as the temperature of my computer went back to about 130 (from about 156) degrees… the pop indicated that the sound came back..

    still doesnt solve the problem… and i learned a new trick with the headphones… so i’m just adding some input so someone can solve this thing…

  15. Moe says:

    Yup – same here but on a Macbook black, happens all the time. i have to keep a set of earphones handy just for that issue. i googled it several time and nothing except people experiencing the same thing. Sister has the macbook white and it does the same nonsense…. whats the deal?

  16. Kathy says:

    I’m another that came here via Google. I had the exact same problem. I didn’t try the headphone trick. I closed my MBP and left it for the night. In the morning I hit the mute button and the popping noise was gone. The sound was back too. So this really could be a temperature issue.

  17. Heather says:

    Thanks so much for the help! Like many others, google led me to your post. What a sweet little trick eh? Take Care

  18. Sam says:

    OMG, thanks for the headphone trick. My white Macbook does this all the time, it’s pretty annoying. It pretty much only happens though when I’ve recorded something in Garageband and want to hear it played back. ???

  19. Kasey says:

    My mbp does it too, only after the system reaches 175 degrees or above though. This computer is macs version of the easy bake oven. ugh.

  20. alex says:

    my new MBP did this too… thanks for the headphone tip!

  21. becca says:

    thanks for the tip. i, too, found the post via google and my macbook pro had the same problem. thanks for saving me a trip to the FAR AWAY apple store and for saving me from freaking out that they were blown for good! i wonder why the speakers pop though…apple should fix that.

  22. C-money says:

    Haha, had the same problem, and that fixed it. Wouldnt you think after this many problems they would fix it? Lets hope its fixed with the new MBP.

  23. brendan says:

    I had a similar problem with my g5 imac. It started with pop>mute and developed into a long uncontrollable and rather frightening extended pop. took ALOT of convincing on my part at the genius bar and two misdiagnoses to get a whole new logic board. works fine now a year later.

  24. Steven says:

    Hi, I’ve got a new MB since 3 months, and the pop-mute sequence has occured over 5 times already. So I’m very happy with the earplug-trick, saves me a restart. But I must also (like Sam) say that it only happens when playing back recorded stuff in Garageband, so I don’t think the temperature thing is the only problem.. (As it happens instantly upon changing the position of the timer, and I don’t think that can instantly create the heat increase). So would be nice if a software update could fix the problem, but till that time I guess the earplugs are a necessity to keep it running properly!

  25. Pat says:

    Ah, this just happened to me as well, popped it into The Google, found this, and you, sir, saved me a LOT of stress. Thank you for pointing out the obvious when others are too busy freaking out.

  26. brian says:

    i bought my mbp about a week ago. this happened to me this morning, although i wasn’t exactly playing nice…i was toying in garageband with a flanger and a distortion and it was getting insanely loud even with the master volume on the macbook pro (not just garageband’s master fader). at any rate, it freaked out, but worked after a shutdown/restart.

  27. eirens says:

    I ran into this for the first time with my 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro yesterday. After I blogged it ( WordPress pointed me here. I’m surprised to see so many people with this problem.

    If it recurs I’ll try the headphone handling.

    Per iStat menus, CPU temperature at the time was a little under 145 degrees Fahrenheit. (My MBP seldom goes above 145F.) To the poster above, Kasey, whose MBP goes to 175F, I’d send that thing to Apple — that’s too hot. I had an Apple support rep tell me recently that my MBP should top out at 145F.

  28. Bob says:

    Wow, thanks for this article. I’ve had my MacBook Pro for a couple of years and it’s got some problems that would put repair out of the question due to the cost, as Apple refuses to do partial repairs on products shipped to the factory.

    This is the first time my speakers have ever done this, but I have to say I’m quite relieved that this worked. Found the article though Google.

  29. Dig says:

    Hello I have a ’06 macbook pro. My speakers have quit but I suspect it is a software problem. Volume controls only show a circle with a dash through it and there is a red LED shining out from the 1/8th inch line out.

    I have no idea. Do you(question mark)

  30. Vetl says:

    Crap, I have a simular problem, but it just happens to the right speaker, and it doesn´t turn of if I mute it, or leave it to cool 😦
    Headphones take away the hf sound, but after I unplug them the HF sound comes back. really anoying.

  31. John M says:

    One of my speakers had the exact same problem. What a weird occurence. Hey, at least it’s an easy fix…??

  32. mloncaric says:

    Thank you!

  33. heather says:

    same thing. thanks!!!

  34. eric says:

    Just wanted to say that I was afflicted with the same problem. The headphones and mute button trick worked perfectly. I’m guessing it is due to overheating as the problem only happens when I keep the lid of my 2.4Ghz macbook pro closed and work on an external monitor. I do a lot of computationally intensive stuff and the laptop heats up quite a bit. In any case, thanks for the tip!

  35. Jason says:

    Same thing happened to me. I just bought a Macbook Pro two days ago and this happened to me this morning while messing around with Garageband. Interestingly enough, the problem occurs when switching the position of the playback timer while playback is occurring. I was worried all morning that somehow I had gotten a defective computer. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone and that the problem has an easy workaround.

  36. Terri says:

    I just got my MBP today and this happened to me while I was doing exactly what Jason said. I hope this doesn’t mean bigger problems in the future?

  37. tehwalrus says:

    hi all. This just happened on my new (July) MBP 13″ . The headphone thing fixed it, but I am pretty annoyed! if I can repeat it I am def going to the apple store to winge.

  38. Desktopless says:

    Thanks for posting this. Just happened to me. I’ve read many other sites saying it’s the latest 10.5.7 update. Strange since it happened to me and I have yet to upgrade to 10.5 So it’s not the OS update. Mine happened when the warning came on about low battery. There was a loud pop then no sound out of the left side. I tried your plug-in-headphone advice and it worked like a charm. Thanks again. You saved me a lot of stress. My specs are early 2007 2.4 GHz Core Duo running 10.4.11. I’ve had slight pops previously, but nothing this severe.

  39. Chuck says:

    This just happened to me, as well, and I’m running 10.6.1 (Snow Leopard)
    I was running Garageband, and the little lap warmer was getting toasty when the pop sound happened.
    THANKS for your post about the headphones. It did the trick perfectly!

  40. josh says:

    Thanks for the headphone hint, and for the SMC Fan Controller software; everything seems to be improved. Worth noting, I rarely if ever used the headphones on my MBP (15″silver OS10.5) After having the computer for almost 9 months I needed to used them, after unplugging the headphones for the first time did all this popping actually start. sure enough the computer was hot, but had been know to get hot for a while, so I’m not sure if its a combo of heat and the use of headphones… but i thought it might be worth mentioning.
    (if this had been stated already sorry, I only read about 75% of the comments)
    thanks ot everyone for the help!

  41. Justin M says:

    Google got me here too. Unfortunately this is happening on my brand new 15″ MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard 10.6.1. The headphone trick definitely fixes it.

    From what I can tell, it’s VLC on my notebook that’s triggering it, but I can’t prove that yet. I dunno if that means this is an OS issue or a hardware issue, though. 😦

  42. Alexia says:

    Hello everyone, I have the exact same problem, the first time i did the headphone trick without knowing it, the second time i just restarted my computer and just before it shut down it “poped” so i knew i got the sound back, I have a Macbook pro from 2006 and still using the original OS that came with it (10.4), I was wondering if anyone know why this happens, I though because my computer beign over 3 yrs old the speakers were “dying out” on me or something, but apparently is not that because what i read so far on this page

  43. Jeff G says:

    Well… December 15, 2009… and add another one to the list. I had the EXACT problem Steven had. Playing in GB, changed the position on a long song. Pop.

    But the headphone trick worked to bring it all back.

    Dunno what the real issue is, but I’m glad it was a simple fix.

  44. Rose says:

    i did your headphone idea, and relief washed over me in an aweome wave,

    youre a genious.

  45. Jonathan says:

    I did exactly as you have said, and it worked great. What an odd problem though. My cpu was running kind of fast/hot. Perhaps you’re all right, and that could be the cause.

    Thanks for your help.

  46. J says:

    Google brought me here as well. Worked perfectly for my MBP, just wanted to say thanks!

  47. josh says:

    i had the same issue while in garage band, with my week old Macbook pro 15in fully loaded and i was freaking out these things dont come cheap! anyway, i shutdown and then booted back up to hear the apple boot sound to my releif! this is scary this notebook is brand new! I love this computer so much and have already loaded everything on it photoshop illustrator indesign and word etc.

  48. Edward says:

    It’s March 4th, 2010 and I’m reading all these comments and wondering why Apple has not gotten to this yet.

    I’ve got a brand new MBP, and my issue comes up when I am playing any audio track on Garageband, and i simply skip to a different spot on the timeline. Garageband gives me an error at the exact same moment there is a static-POP sound and my speakers are out. My MBP can be hot as lava, or cold as ice, and I experience this issue. I’ve 100% narrowed it down to the action of skipping on the timeline when a track is playing

    I shouldn’t have to carry a headphone jack. And honestly, the popping sound doesn’t sound healthy to the speakers.

    For me personally, this is a pretty big issue for 2 reasons. It’s happening 100% of the time I use Garage Band, and one of the bigger selling points of this machine WAS garage band and it gives me an error message and really won’t let me use the software for more than 3-4 minutes before killing my sound.

  49. Jason says:

    It’s March 8, and I am having the same issue with my MBP, but using Final Cut Pro. Same thing though, started when I was moving through the timeline with audio. Haven’t tried the headphone trick yet but it does keep happening after rebooting…

  50. Shoben says:

    hi there.. i have an imac that i just recently purchased about a month ago.. and i have been experimenting with GB.. i am having the same “POP SOUND” issue.. it has happened twice so far in this month.. theres no sound for about 5 minutes or so.. and then later it just suddenly comes back.. i would like to know why this happens and how do i take care of it..

    Thanks =)

  51. altug says:

    Hi all,
    same issue, after pop noise, sound is dead on unibody macbook pro 17″. I experienced this 2-3 months ago but after 15 mins it begans to work. ok but yesterday while I was playing a game in bootcamp/windows7 , I heard that speaker pop sound again and all sound gone now.. I did everything but, after 16 hours still sound is off. both on windows7 or macos x snow. sound hardware seems ok on both, I can adjust volume up/down, done hardware tests no probs. but no sound 😦

  52. Hunter says:

    Hi, same thing happened here. Bought a new MBP 15″ and was editing in final cut pro. The timeline was going alright until a giant pop crippled the sound. I thought I had blown the speakers, but that didnt make sense because A) its such a new computer and B) theres no way the audio levels I was working with could have blown the speakers in such a way. Before I found your post I restarted the computer, and things went back to normal.

    But I did find that only one part of the timeline makes the audio freak out and cripples it to just the popping noise. I’ve scrubbed through the rest of the timeline and everything else is fine. Problem is, the crippling pop doesnt consistently happen at the same place. Its very strange. But yes, your headphone/mute technique does work and saves the trouble of restarting the computer.

    I would say the worst part of this problem is that when you do have your headphones in and this crippling blow out happens (not sure if its happened to other people with their headphones actually in the jack already – but it does with me), then the blow out is many decibels higher than what your ear drum is able to cope. Lets just say it hurts.

  53. K2corc says:

    Look at your volume bars on the right side of Final Cut Pro/Express. If it is spiking at the top that will right away f’ up the sound. Turn down the clip and restart your computer. After that if it happens you have a sound card issue, what Final Cut is doing is sending info to the sound card to stop because of the LOUD sound. it may not appear loud but the Decibels will kill, if it happens again I have no idea.

  54. Kurt says:

    I too have this problem in Final Cut. The click/pop sound pushes the meters right through the ceiling but the audio in the clip can’t be causing it. Besides it happens at different places. Sometimes the audio f***s up right before this happens; looping a bit of audio instead of playing what it should, for instance. Quite annoying. Final Cut is useless.

  55. adam says:

    Same here. MacBook Pro Uni 17″. Happens in Garageband when I try to skip ahead in a song.

  56. red says:

    same here, unibody macbook pro 15
    i dont have garageband, but lately it started happening in final cut pro.
    i know what you mean hunter, happend to me a few times with headphones, i thought there will be blood in my ears. really i cant work after a thing like that.
    also it happend when the laptop was connected to a receiver… imagine…

    well i really really hope this will be fixed or im saying hello to pc’s and premiere again.

  57. Nick says:

    Same problem here. I was freaking out. Thanks for the headphones tip

  58. […] poc in boxele MBP-ului (17" unibody) dupa care ioc sunet. Dupa ceva dat pe Google, am ajuns aici, unde cineva zicea ca si-a revenit dupa ce-a bagat castile in iesirea respectiva si apoi le-a scos. […]

  59. Jen says:

    So glad I found this! This just happened to me for the first time and I about died! I remember once this did happen to my sisters iphone and the same fix worked on it. or a similar fix. I googled it and we plugged in headphones to her iphone and then did something else I forget and it worked and he phone speaker was working again. So weird! I hope this never happens to my MBP again! I have the 13 inch aluminum unibody just for reference. Thanks for posting this!

  60. Michelle says:

    Just happened to me too. Same fix! I was editing in Garage Band. Thanks for the tip.

  61. Kade says:

    This has happened to me about 3 times. But it only happens when I am on Garageband, and I play a synth and all of a sudden I hear this loud pop and then I can’t hear anything. So I went to iTunes and then it worked but the sounds was very quiet like the bass was low and everything was distorted. So I restarted my Macbook and wallah! The sound goes back to normal. I don’t think it is because of the heat, but because of sound frequencies when you turn your volume up too high…I don’t know that’s what I think.

  62. Amanda says:

    Same popping thing has happened to me in garageband also. My only fix before was to restart. But like everyone else, I googled and found this and the headphone trick worked.. amazing.
    The thing that bothers me is that you posted the original post in 2008.. it’s 2010 and us macbook users are still having the same problem.. what the hell apple?

  63. Andre says:

    Hi I’m experiencing this exact problem a lot in the last 3 days(never before).it seems to me that it’s triggered by mute while playing VLC then sleep(closing the lid). after i opened the lid up all sounds became a loud pop. Hope that this is a temporary issue and it will go away eventually like a cold. it’s really annoying. Thanks for the post, and thanks google for bringing me here.

  64. dan says:

    thanks man! i suspect the culprit was garageband, i was playing around and tried to change the soundclip to some instruments and whack! the popping sounds come in…i got this twice and the first time i restart my mac. now i tried the headphone jack trick and it worked like a charm…apple should seriously fix this as it has been 2 years?????

  65. Bob says:

    Happens every time when doing the following in VLC: Play video, increase playback speed, jump ahead in the video. Pop! The headphone solution works great. Thanks for posting it.

  66. Tayra says:

    Awesome and praise be to Google. I’ve had this MacBook Pro since 2008, and while it does run hot, it’s never had a sound issue until tonight. Squeal-pop (while watching a video in QT, the system temps and everything else were normal), then nothing but mute-pops. Headphone trick worked. For reference, I’ve never used Garage band, but I *do* occasionally use Photoshop (CS3), and I’ve run the cpu up pretty darn high, to the point the ‘gpu diode’ temp reading was around 175F, and the fans were whirring like the machine was about to take off. Never before have I had a sound problem. I want to echo thanks to the OP for helping prevent a panic (because I *so* could not afford any kind of fix right now, and this machine is my alarm clock).

  67. Tayra says:

    Just as a followup: my speaker volume seems to have diminished. Now, instead of being able to hear adequately at about halfway (in terms of the number of little blocks lit up on the volume indicator), I have to have the sound turned up all the way, and even then things that used to sound ok sound a little quiet. Stuff that sounded way too horribly loud at full volume now just sounds normal. It’s something nobody else has mentioned, so I thought I would. Kind of a bummer, because now if something’s too quiet, there’s nothing I can do about it. Unless anybody out there has an idea?

  68. Waffles says:

    It is now November 2010 .. Snow Leopard 10.6 and my speakers are going nuts..after extensive research the end result is that the logic board on your macbook needs to be changed..heres hoping all you all still got your warranty intact

  69. Arlen Carlson says:

    Interesting. I ran into this problem this evening–and never experienced it before. Its really my first time working for a reasonable period of time with GarageBand. For me, a system reboot was the solution–although the headphone suggestion might very well be usable, if and when I see the problem again.

    From the initial timing of this thread it would seem Apple has never fixed the problem, which apparently is in GarageBand (or related to a driver interaction with it). Now that the upgrades of iLife 11 are out I doubt there will ever be a fix for the now old iLife 09.

  70. steffyroo says:

    Thank you!!! Worked for me too.

  71. Julie says:

    The same thing happened to me tonight as I was playing around with Garage Band so I tried the headphone trick! So random, but great advice. This is the first time this happens to me, will be a recurring issue from now on?

  72. Bethany says:

    This is so weird. Thanks for posting this! It helped out a lot!

  73. bolternator says:

    thanks for posting this – headphone trick worked! 🙂

  74. bolternator says:

    logic board needs changing? Is that definitely the problem and not software issue just needing update? Looks like a trip to mac for me…

  75. Brilliant! Another frustrating speaker pop fixed by the headphone trick. Thank you

  76. Hapto McGee says:

    Garageband did it to me… gave me a “we can’t play thins because your song is too complicated” (or something) message, and then plays an ungodly squawking noise, followed by silence. I remember the headphone trick (accident) but I had the Dragon Dictate headphone in the USB, and switching to the USB mic/headphone plays/works. But doesn’t reset the speakers, like it does when I plug headphones into the actual jack.

  77. Thanks so much for this post! This just happened to my circa-2007 MacBook Pro while using Grab’s timed screenshot, with the chime becoming a giant pop.

    I didn’t seem to get sound in the (circa-1990!) headphones right away after plugging them in, but a few mute-mashings later, I had sound in the headphones, and all remained normal after unplugging them.

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