Why is My Mac Volume So Low?

Evan Ruiz
Evan Ruiz
Owner at - Techi Show

I am a professional laptop and computer troubleshooter, tech editor who loves to talk about technology and software. My passion is electronics devices. Follow me...Read more

MacBooks, no matter how powerful they are, can sometimes create difficulties hard to resolve. Low volume is an example of such problems.

Wondering, “Why is my Mac volume so low?” Several possible reasons including incorrect sound settings, loose connections, damaged hardware, faulty apps, old OS and sound driver can lead to this problem.

There are also solutions to each of these issues, but first, you need to figure out what’s causing it to malfunction. I have explained all the possible reasons and solutions in this article. So, read along if your Mac volume is running low.

Key Takeaways:

  • You should always keep your Mac operating system up to date. Apple releases frequent updates with enhanced security and program support.
  • Avoid keeping the volume level to a safe level. It will not bother your hearing ability.
  • Use audio boosters to increase volume if any method fails before going to the service center.

Why Is My Mac Volume so Low?

Before taking your Mac computer to the vendor for servicing, you can find out the reasons causing the volume issues. In this section, I’ll discuss the possible causes of low volume in MacBook.

Why is My Mac Volume So Low

Hardware Volume Level

One of the major reasons for having a quiet Mac is hardware volume’s accidental turn-down. You can follow several ways to identify the volume level of the device.

Method-1:

  • Press F12 on the keyboard.
  • Check the volume level when a small box appears at the screen bottom after pressing F12.

Method-2:

  • Look at the menu bar and check if the volume is low.

Application Volume Level

All the applications you use have their own sound settings, meaning these apps may be limited or set to a fixed volume. This mostly happens with audio and video applications like Apple Music, media player, etc.

Now, follow these steps to find out the app volume setting is not right:

Muted App:

  • Find a similar speaker icon on the app display like the Mac menu bar.
  • A slash through or a small “x” beside the icon means you have muted the app volume.

Audio Bar:

  • Some applications may have an audio bar; click on it if your app has this bar.
  • Slide the bar to the right or top to check out if the volume increases.
  • Some apps may have a hidden or hover-on audio bar like YouTube; take a mouse to it and inspect the problem.

Browser Audio:

  • Check the tab of the site you’ve visited and is trying to play audio.
  • There will be a slash or “x” button beside the tab; your browser audio is muted if this mark is visible.

Running Applications

It’s always fun to run several applications simultaneously. For example, you run a video player app besides browsing a website on a browser playing audio. Either both are running, or one is running only, they can override the volume level of the Mac. Typically, the drivers of these apps misbehave with Mac’s audio driver.

Old or Backdated MacOS

Another possible reason your MacBook air volume is suddenly low is having a backdated MacOS installed on Mac. Maybe the sound driver is not compatible with OS. Here are the steps to know about the current version of your macOS:

  • Click on the Apple menu (or logo) in the top-left corner of the screen.
  • Select “About This Mac” and check everything about the version.
  • Search online for “latest MacOS Version” and match it with the one you own.

Needs Reboot

Sometimes newly installed software gets ready to serve when you restart or reboot the laptop. If you are getting no sound while using a particular app, maybe the device requires a simple restart. It may clean or reset all the caches and prepare the laptop to run the application.

Wrong Output Setup

The audio output settings are not always suitable to an Mac device. Therefore, it can cause low volume in MacOS.

For example, attaching MacBook to an external monitor with no audio may cause low or no volume. Moreover, Mac routes the audio, but the no-speaker monitor cannot play the audio.

Here is how you can check the audio output:

  • Click on the Apple logo on the screen.
  • Click on the “Software Preferences.”

Damaged External Hardware

Damage to external audio hardware can be why Mac is giving low sound. Sometimes, a headphone jack connected to MacBook can be bent, broken, or damaged. Also, the bad condition of the Thunderbolt cable can be another reason.

Even sometimes, external speakers may get a short in their wires. It is a solid reason if you change the speakers a lot.

Port Problem

Sometimes a plug may remain broken inside the Mac ports. It happens mainly with the headphones or the earphones we use.

Possibly, you were in a rush or less careful to remove the headphone faster. As a result, the part got broken.

Bluetooth Error

Bluetooth devices are pretty helpful for listening without connecting them to Mac using any cable. Sometimes you may see Mac volume low after a Bluetooth connection. But it can appear as a source of the audio problem.

Maybe you have turned on a Bluetooth device or forgot to turn it off. When you switch audio from Mac to a Bluetooth device, there can be a change.

Here are the steps to check Bluetooth condition on Mac:

  • Move to the Apple logo and click on the “System Preferences.”
  • Click on “Bluetooth” and check if any device is connected.

NVRAM or PRAM

Your device may need a reset of NVRAM or PRAM. Mac stores settings data in its unique memory area even when you turn off the computer. If your Mac is intel-based, it will be NVRAM, and if it is PowerPC-based, it is PRAM. However, they generally store these data safely:

  • Speaker volume
  • Resolution of screen
  • Startup disk selection
  • Information about the fresh kernel panic

If you want to know the type of memory you are using, you can follow this:

  • Click on the Apple logo.
  • Click on “About This Mac” and then “Overview.”

How Do I Fix the Low Sound on My Mac?

After discovering what is causing the MacBook’s low volume, you can try troubleshooting. There are several easy ways to solve the errors. Below are the most used techniques to reset the low sound and return it to the maximum desirable level:

How Do I Fix the Low Sound on My Mac

Increase Hardware Volume Level

Increasing hardware volume level can improve overall sound quality. To do so, follow these steps:

Method-1:

  • Press F12 on the keyboard.
  • Check the volume level when a small box appears at the screen bottom after pressing F12.
  • Increase the volume to its maximum level.
  • Recheck if things get right; otherwise, try other solutions.

Method-2:

  • Look at the menu bar and check if the volume is low.
  • Click on the speaker icon and increase the sound to the maximum level.
  • Play audio to check if the volume is raised.

Run Maintenance Scripts

When you are using a device, it generates lots of temporary files, caches. You should remove them to have an error-free audio experience. Mac computers run with Unix-based OS; you can run the maintenance scripts independently.

Mac runs these scripts manually at right. But when you shut down the device, you need to run the scripts manually. You can find lots of maintenance scripts on the web. Download them and run them on your device.

Increase Application Volume Level

If you are running apps or browser that plays audio, you may try these to sort our low volume issue:

Unmute app:

  • Find a similar speaker icon on the app display like the Mac menu bar.
  • A slash through or a small “x” beside the icon means you have muted the app volume.
  • Click on the “x” and unmute the app.

Audio bar:

  • Some applications may have an audio bar; click on it if your app has this bar.
  • Slide the bar to the right or top to check out if the volume increases.
  • Some apps may have a hidden or hover-on audio bar like YouTube; take a mouse to it and inspect the problem.
  • Raise the volume at the bar.

Browser audio:

  • Check the tab of the site you’ve visited and is trying to play audio.
  • There will be a slash or “x” button beside the tab; your browser audio is muted if they are visible.
  • Click on “x” and unmute the tab or try another software to check if it is streaming audio.

Quit Running Applications

Sometimes multiple apps override the main audio. They may run in the background and modify the Mac volume. Some apps are TeamViewer and Boom. You should quit or force Quit these apps and check if any improvement happens. You can also follow these to shut off any app interfering with the sound:

  • Click on the Apple logo and then click “System Preferences.”
  • Click on the “Output” tab and inspect if it appears as a software app.
  • Uninstall or repair the app.

Show Volume in Menu Bar Setting

You can enable sound volume in the menu bar. You can see “Show volume in menu bar” at the box bottom to do it. You will see a checkmark and blue highlight if the audio is unmuted. Once you raise the volume, the mute button or function will be turned off.

Update the OS to Latest One

Updating the operating system can solve maximum technical errors, including Mac’s low volume problem.

The latest version of Mac while I am writing this post is MacOS 12.3.1 (released March 31, 2022). It is also known as Monterey. So, you should update your device’s operating system as it may remove the earlier bugs.

You can update the OS in this way:

  • Open the App Store on your Mac.
  • Click on “Update” if there is any update available, two options will be available.
  • You can click “Update Now” or “Upgrade Now.”
  • After installation, test the sound again.

Reboot or Restart the Device

Sometimes faulty software gets ready to serve when you restart or reboot it. If you are getting faults in MacBook volume, maybe the device requires a simple restart. It may clean all the caches and prepare the machine to give the exact volume you want.

Rebooting Mac in a general way:

  • Click the “Apple” icon, and select “Restart.”
  • You may place a checkmark in the “Reopen Windows When Logging Back In” checkbox to keep the running apps ready for reopening.
  • Click “Restart” to reboot the MacBook.
  • Holding down “Control” and pressing “Power” can be another way to reboot the device.

Force Rebooting the Mac:

At times, you may need to reboot the computer with force. To do it, you can follow my instructions:

  • Shut down the Mac by pressing and holding down the “Power Button”.
  • After a couple of seconds, press the “Power Button” to turn on the device.
  • You may also use “Command-Control-Power” to reboot the Mac forcefully.

Set Correct Output

You may think, “Why are my MacBook speakers so quiet?”. Do not worry; instead, you can set the output right to get the correct Mac volume. Follow the below ways to ensure you set the output properly:

  • Click on the Apple logo on the screen.
  • Click on the “Software Preferences.”
  • Look for the sound option and click on it.
  • Click on output now and see any app listed in the sound output.

Solve Damaged External Hardware

Unplug any external speakers from Mac’s jack and plug them again to see any changes happen. You may need to unplug all the external devices like the keyboard, monitor, mouse, etc. Also, you can change the hardware to solve the problem.

Repair the Port

If you see something like a headphone pin broken inside the port, try to grab and remove it safely. Call any professional to remove the part or repair the port if you cannot do it.

Change or Turn off Bluetooth Device

If you have connected any Bluetooth device to the system, you may need to disconnect it. To disconnect the device, you may follow these processes:

  • Move to the Apple icon and click on the “System Preferences.”
  • Click on “Bluetooth” and check if any device is connected.
  • There will be an “X” button beside the connected device.
  • Click on the “X” button to disconnect the device.

Reset NVRAM or PRAM

You can reset the NVRAM or PRAM to solve the volume issues. To reset the Mac NVRAM or PRAM, you can follow these steps:

  • Shut down the MacBook.
  • Turn it back on and immediately hold these keys: Option, Command, P, and R.
  • Keep the keys pressed down even if you see the computer is restarting.
  • Leave the keys if you hear startup audio or any visible Apple logo on the screen.

Restart Sound Controller

Restarting the core audio (also known as sound or audio controller) can solve the low volume in Mac issue. Core Audio is nothing but the digital sound infrastructure of iOS and MacOS. Hence, an audio controller controls all the audio for any application. You can follow these steps to restart the sound controller:

  • Select the “Utilities” folder available in the “Applications” folder.
  • Select “Activity Monitor” and type “coreaudiod” in the search bar.
  • Click on “coreaudiod” and “X” available in the toolbar.

Use Audio Boosters

It is the last option to increase the default volume level in a Mac PC. If you see MacBook volume low even on max, you can choose this option.

Thus, you can find different sound boosting apps to increase the sound. Here are some of them:

  • VLC equalizer
  • Ears Chrome extension
  • Audio Hijack
  • Boom 3D

Conclusion

If your Mac volume is too low, it could be a result of hardware or software issue. Software issues are easy to fix, however, any hardware damage requires professional care. So, it’s crucial that you first determine what’s causing the issue and try fox it yourself.

I’ve added all that you can do to fix a MacBook that sounds too low. Just give it a go and see if any of the solutions fixes your problem.

I am a professional laptop and computer troubleshooter, tech editor who loves to talk about technology and software. My passion is electronics devices. Follow me on social media.

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