7 Best Fixes for Sound Icon Greyed Out on Mac
MacBooks and iMacs can provide a surround sound experience. Apple supports Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio for Netflix, Apple TV, and Apple Music. However, some users cannot adjust sound levels on their Macs because the sound icon becomes greyed out.
The inability to adjust sound volume can be frustrating when watching videos or attending calls. If restarting the Mac does not solve the issue, try these solutions to fix the greyed out sound icon on Mac.
1. Reset Output Source to Speakers
Let’s start with a popular solution on the iFixit forum. Some users reset the Output Source of their Macs to fix the greyed-out sound icon. Here’s how:
Step 1: Connect wired earphones to the headphone jack of your Mac and play audio.
Step 2: Press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight Search, type “System Settings,” and press Return.
Step 3: Click on Sound in the left menu.
Step 4: Scroll down and select External Headphones as the Output Source.
Step 5: Continue playing the audio and disconnect the headphones from your Mac.
This process resets the Output Source of your Mac, eliminating the need for the sound icon to be greyed out.
2. Clean Headphone Jack
A basic solution to clean the headphone jack of your Mac can be highly effective. Extensive usage may cause lint or debris to accumulate inside the headphone jack, resulting in the sound icon turning grey when headphones are plugged in. Gently blowing into the headphone jack or using a cotton bud to clean it is recommended. To learn more about fixing a non-working headphone jack on your Mac, please check out our post.
3. Restart Your Mac
Another solution is to restart your Mac. This method can help with hardware and software issues. It will reset the operating system.
Step 1: Click the Apple logo in the top-left corner. Step 2: Select Restart.
After your Mac restarts, check if the problem is solved.
4. Create New User Account
The current user settings on your Mac may have been corrupted. Try creating a new user account to see if that solves the problem.
1. Press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight Search, type System Settings, and press Return.
2. Click on Users and Groups.
3. Click on Add Account.
4. Enter your Mac passcode.
5. Fill in all the fields and click on Create User.
Step 6: Restart your Mac and log in with the new User Account.
Check if the problem gets solved. If not, refer to the next solution.
5. Reset CoreAudio
CoreAudio, the low-level software component that handles audio functions on a Mac, is a low-level API meant to address application audio needs, including playback. To reset CoreAudio and resolve the issue of a greyed-out sound icon on your Mac, follow these steps: 1. Press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight Search and type “Activity Monitor.” 2. Press Return.
Step 2: Select the CPU tab at the top left side.
Step 3: Click the Search Bar in the top-right corner and type CoreAudiod.
Synopsis: This text presents step 4 in a series of steps. It instructs the reader to select a result and click the X icon to end the process. The writer is tasked with reviewing the text and eliminating any redundant words or phrases to make it more concise and impactful while maintaining clarity and tone.
To complete step 4, simply select the result and click the X icon.
Step 5: Click Force Quit to confirm.
Step 6: Close the Activity Monitor window and restart your Mac.
After reboot, check if the problem is solved.
6. Boot Your Mac in Safe Mode
Safe Mode on a Mac prevents third-party app interference and only allows necessary system apps, preferences, extensions, and fonts to start up. If the sound icon is still greyed out, try booting your Mac in Safe Mode.
7. Update macOS
Lastly, you can update macOS if none of the solutions have helped you so far. This will fix any bugs or glitches in your current version that may be causing the issue.
Step 1: Press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight Search, type “Check For Software Updates,” and press Return.
Step 2: Download and install any available updates.
Check if the problem is resolved.
Change Sound Levels
These solutions should help fix the issue of the sound icon being greyed out on your Mac. You can also check our post if your Mac is not playing sound with Bluetooth headphones.
As Fred Humiston, the author behind Twothirds.us, I focus on providing practical and easy-to-follow guides and solutions for a variety of technical issues that people commonly face.
My articles cover a wide range of topics, from troubleshooting out-of-sync audio on TikTok and managing Firestick devices, to understanding the impact of Capcut on video quality and resolving sound issues on Hisense Roku TVs.
I also delve into more general tech tips, like how to block numbers on landlines or use VPNs without Wi-Fi. My goal is to make technology more accessible and less intimidating for everyone, whether you’re a tech novice or a seasoned user. I strive to offer clear, concise, and helpful advice to make your digital experience smoother and more enjoyable.