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Fix USB-C Headphones Not Working or Not Detected on MacBook Pro & Air Laptop

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Have you ever waited to join an online meeting when suddenly you find your MacBook Air or Pro laptop’s headphones aren’t working, so the pressure crept up your head? Did it happen multiple times?

This article lists a few fixes to avoid this annoying situation so you can take care of this problem with your Mac computer. Let’s start with the most straightforward approach and move on to more sophisticated workaround strategies.

How-to-Troubleshoot-Fix-USB-C-Headphones-Not-Working-on-Mac-Issue
Photo credit: Edmilson Eucleni/Pexels

These are the most common and quick troubleshooting methods: 

  • Install the latest version of macOS. 
  • Ensure your MacBook’s sound bar is not on “Mute.” 
  • You should also check your storage to guarantee that system sluggishness is not the cause of the sound interruption.

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How to Troubleshoot & Fix USB-C Headphones Not Working or Not Detected on MacBook Pro or Air Laptop

If the simple solutions mentioned above do not work on your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air device, you can try these troubleshooting methods and fixes below. Hopefully you will be able to find a solution to your USB-C headphones not detected or not working on Mac.

Restart your MacBook 

A simple restart is the most common fix for minor and severe computer technical issues and might just work on your macOS laptop.

Therefore, restart the MacBook and give each program time to load correctly. Plug in the headphones and play music or videos once the system has properly booted up to see if they are functional.

Run an Apple Diagnostic Test 

It will make it easier to identify if the error is software- or hardware-based, simplifying the troubleshooting process.

Remove and Re-insert your Headphones

Check the headphone jack first, as it might be broken and the one causing the problem. The MacBook frequently acts like the headphones are plugged in when they are not. So, to fix the problem, unplug and plug the headphones back in.

Refresh your App 

If you are using an app to listen to music or stream a show, it could be a glitch or bug from the app that is causing the issue of why you can not hear any sound. Here is what you can do, refresh the app, or uninstall it. Then try it again. If it does not resolve the problem, you can try an alternate app to see if it works. 

Check your MacBook’s Setting 

Adjusting the settings on your MacBook can restore the audio to functional mode. Remove any external speakers or wireless earphones first. Tweak the settings by going to the Apple menu and selecting System Preferences. Go to Sound, click on the Output tab, and then tap on MacBook Pro Speakers.

Remove External Devices 

USB-C-Cable
Photo credit: Mishaal Zahed/Unsplash

Remove any devices that are connected to the MacBook. After that, restart your device and wait for it to boot properly. Plug in your headphones to the MacBook. Test it by playing audio or a video clip.

Restart or Reset SMC on your MacBook

If the above solutions do not work, you might need to restart your SMC. 

The SMC (System Management Controller) in your MacBook Pro is in charge of power distribution, and resetting it might do the trick. It will feel like finger gymnastics, but it is highly likely to reactivate your MacBook’s USB-C ports. So it’s helpful to give it a shot.

  • If you own an Apple Silicon-based MacBook Pro, connect your Mac to a power adaptor and restart it.
  • You must simultaneously press and hold the Control, Option, and Shift buttons on Intel-based MacBook Pros. After seven seconds, press and hold the power button as well. Your MacBook Pro will power off at this point, but you must continue to hold the keys for another seven seconds. Then, press the power button after about ten seconds to turn on your MacBook Pro.

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Replace the External Drive 

Using broken USB-C Headphones might also be a problem. You can check it by inserting a different device into the USB-C connector. If it connects without a problem, the external hard drive is the problem, not the USB-C connection on your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air device.

You can also use a different computer to test the possibly problematic external drive. The headphones are damaged if it doesn’t function on another computer, not your MacBook’s port. 

Clean your USB-C Port 

USB-C-Port-on-MacBook-Pro-Laptop
Photo credit: TheRegisti/Unsplash

Look closely at the port to see if something stuck inside is blocking the headphones from connecting. Eliminate any dirt or dust that may have gathered on the port’s walls. Here’s what to do: 

  • Turn off your MacBook laptop
  • Spray some compressed air over one USB-C port.
  • To remove any dirt or debris, insert your toothpick or floss pick into the port, move it around the edge, and pull it back up. Be delicate and cautious.
  • Blow compressed air into your MacBook once more while holding it with the port facing the ground, and then use a dry brush or cloth to wipe the edges.

If you have done all of the fixes above and it still did not work, it is likely to be more of a severe problem. It is best to contact Apple and ask for a repair. Select the Apple icon on the Menu bar, and click the support section to find available services to help you.

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