No Playback on MacBook Pro

I have no playback on my MacBook Pro using the built-in microphone. 2 Ghz Intel Core i7. OS 10.9.3. Audacity 2.0.5. (The whole folder was dragged into the Applications fold.) I had earlier versions of Audacity but I never tried using them. Speaking into the mic makes sound spikes on the recording graph. There is a pop sound at the beginning and end of the “recording”.

A friend who has used another sound recording app told me to export the file to my desktop, which I already did. I clicked on the file on the list in the desktop from the Finder. It opened in iTunes. I could hear myself talking, (that’s what I did for the test recording). The output volume was too low, but I can raise that. So I can playback in iTunes after exporting, but not in Audacity.

You should see that Audacity is trying to play to your speakers using the Device Toolbar. It doesn’t have to do that — it’s not automatic.

One full step in the playback process is to see that the green playback meters are jumping. If you don’t have those meters, nothing else you do is going to let you hear the show.


There may be an issue in recent versions of Audacity on MacBook Pro running Mavericks that cause Audacity not to play audio if you have already used other audio applications.

Open Sound in the Sytems Preferences, click the “Sound Effects” tab then uncheck “Play user interface sound effects”. Turn off the Mac and reboot. Now Audacity should play.

If that is not a good workaround for you, you can try 2.0.2 ( ) .

The other point to note is that MacBookPro’s may have weak connectors in the headphones port. If the problem happened after taking headphones in and out, try putting them in and out again.

If you want to hear what you are recording, enable Transport > Software Playthrough (the Hardware Playthrough option is unlikely to work). Or try Line In .


It’s working. I’m getting sound on playback. The green bars move during playback. I don’t know why I’m getting sound all of a sudden. The external speakers were always selected on the Device Toolbar. I didn’t have to plug in the headphones and unplug them. I had a problem that needed that fix a couple of years ago. I remember a little red light behind the jack, but I forget what the red light means. Anyway Audacity is working fine. I need to read the manual though. Thank you Koz and Gale.

That red light means that the headphones connector is engaged. If you see that light when you don’t have headphones connected, you’ll probably have no sound.

Did you go into the system Sound preferences and select the output, or anything like that?

The “pop” is when Audacity tries to start or stop the sound system.


Hi Gale,

I went into the Sound settings in System Preferences several times. The settings were always correct. At one point I restarted. Maybe that had something to do with Audacity suddenly working.

Thank you.

If you start the computer then use Audacity before any other audio/video application uses the sound device, Audacity should play OK. The problem is that once iTunes or any other app has used the sound device, Audacity apparently cannot start the sound device again. And when that happens, you may have to start playback twice in some other app to get sound.

This only affects MacBook Pro, as far as I know, and also as far as I know, the problem started in Audacity 2.0.4 (although one person said it started in 2.0.3).



I just had the same problem (MacBookPro8,2, OS X 10.9.5 (13F34)). Using the internal spearkers, I could only hear a “pop” when starting or stopping the playback. The volume bars moved however as expected.

Plugging in and out a headphone fixed the issue.


I only have a Mac Mini, but just to follow that up, I’ve been told the red light on current and recent MacBook Pro actually indicates digital output is on.