Audacity 3.3.3 on OS X Sonoma does not handle plugging in / unplugging external headphones properly

Latest Audacity 3.3.3, latest OS X Sonoma, MacBook Pro 2023.

Ways to reproduce:

  1. Start Audacity with an audio file (or load one)
  2. Plug in headphones, verify OS X detects and uses headphones as audio output
  3. Start playing audio in Audacity

Issue #1:

  • Audio will only play on laptop speakers, not headphones
  • Furthermore there is no way to select the headphone output, neither “Audio Setup” on the main window nor “Audio Settings” in the “Preferences” will list headphones as an audio output device


  1. Re-start Audacity
  2. Headphones are now detected in “Audio Setup” / “Audio Settings” but must be manually selected

Issue #2:

  1. Unplug headphones
  2. Audacity now shows an error “Error opening sound device”
  3. Furthermore, re-plugging in the headphones does not remove the “Error opening sound device”

Transport > Rescan Audio Devices

Thanks but the issue is not with rescanning. Plugging / unplugging headphones is automatically handled by every app including every music app, any apps (Zoom, etc.) that have audio output, and even prior versions of Audacity, without having to manually rescan or switch. The normal expected behaviour is, assuming audio output is set to “computer”, audio output automatically switches to headset when plugging in headphones and switches back to computer when unplugging.

Yes, that would be nice. :grinning:

In prior versions of Audacity I’ve always had to click Transport > Rescan Audio Devices. (Before I discovered that I’d restart the app.)

Maybe someday they’ll change this, but in the meantime that’s how you get Audacity to register your headphones, or indeed a microphone that you’ve plugged in while the app is running.

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