Losing Audio in OS X Mavericks? Here's what you can do about it!

OS X Mavericks is experiencing a bug where audio goes dead system-wide. For many it seems to occur when trying to play a Flash (like YouTube) video in Chrome. For others, it just seems to occur. So far, it seems limited to new, Haswell-based 2013 MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros. So what's happening and what can you do about it?

Core Audio has always been quirky - anyone who's ever plugged in headphones only to get assaulted by the delayed fire of every mail sound in the history of mail sounds knows this - but with Mavericks the bugginess is much more specific, and annoying. When it happens, all sound is just gone. It doesn't matter if you mute or un-mute, lower or increase volume, change sources, it's just gone. Rebooting fixes it... until it happens again. There are a couple of other, quicker fixes you can try instead.

  • Plug in and then take out headphones.
  • Kill the Core Audio process in the Activity monitor.
  • Reboot.

Activity Monitor highlighting Core Audio

Hopefully Apple pushes out an update to fix this, and soon. In the meantime, are you experiencing the problem, and if so, any fixes working for you?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • For me, putting my macbook pro in stand-by by closing it, then opening it and logging back in worked to fix the issue (temporarily).
  • My 2010 Mac Mini is experiencing the same issue.
  • I was having this problem with my Haswell MBA before Mavericks but haven't had it since upgrade. *fingers crossed*
  • No problem with Audio on my Air 2013 or Retina early 2013 .... I don't use any google stuff though (surprised?!! LOL). But this damn screen saver is very strange. It just doesn't work on either my laptops! :( Every time I have to manually put my machines in screen saver before I leave them ... Grrrr..... LOL
  • Late 2012 13 inch pro. No problems with audio. Sent from the iMore App
  • Late 2011 iMac, Mavericks installed about 5 days ago. No audio problems.
  • "So far, it seems limited to new, Haswell-based 2013 MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros." Why are people commenting about pre-haswell MacBooks? Those aren't what this is about :\
  • I'm commenting because although I have a mid-2012 MacBook Pro running Mavericks, this happens to me constantly and it's driving me nuts. Oh, and it happens to me when I'm not using google chrome or playing flash videos. This is probably a bigger bug than initially imagined.
  • I have a Mac Mini mid 2010, and I have always wondered about the trash can sound coming immediately after waking it from sleep. Today I got the camera shutter sound, and I was indeed taking a screen shot earlier today, several hours earlier. I also remember I had to check if the screen shot was actually taken since there were no shutter sound while I took the screen capture. So yes, as LilMis is sayin'... This problem is probably bigger than initially imagined. (That is the reason I searched this topic and ended up here.)
  • Seems to me that not installing Flash or Chrome would do away with most of these problems. No audio issues here.
  • I started researching this on apple forums. This problem goes back several years. Some is a simple fix. The MacBook Pro was configured wrong when other devices were connect. I saw some where the earphone jack can twist causing it to bypass the speakers. That would make sense on the fix of plugging in the earphones, then out again. Some claim hardware, some software. I guess my point, this is not a new thing. Apple should be aware, and an update may not fix an ongoing problem. Just google search, or search the Apple forums. I have seen post from 2006 to today. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks for the tip! My audio just went out system wide on my new 13" MackBook Air (2013 model). For me I got this problem not after upgrading to OSX Mavricks but I think the cause for me was playing around with Airplay mirroring from my iPad to my MackBook Air. Followed your tip and plug in and take out headphones fixed it.
  • I was having audio issues pre-update with flash using Chrome. I discovered that this was that the flash plugin which was installed for use with Safari & Firefox and the built in plugin in Chrome. I disabled the built in plugin in Chrome and problem was solved.
  • I am running Mavericks on a mid 2010 MacBook Pro model and I am experiencing the audio issues, so for those who are saying this doesn't apply to pre-Haswell Macs trust me when I say it does. I had no audio trouble pre-update.
  • Late Macbook Air 2010 with same problem. Has manifested in different ways. Today all audio in flash was making noise, yesterday I couldn't hear anything coming from the speakers.
  • For more information on this bug in Chrome, see this thread: http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/chrome/jTu_YI1NgdE. I can confirm that the latest canary (https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/canary.html) fixes the bug.
  • Killing core audio process did it for me on Macbook Pro 13 inch 2010
  • Having an issue with my 2012 Retina MBP where I only hear audio out of the right-side when using any headphones. This only started to happen after upgrading to Mavericks. Above mentioned work-arounds don't seem to help :(
  • Thanks, took a reboot for me in the end on Macbook Pro Retina pre-install Mavericks. Definitely a buzz kill. On my install I noticed there wasn't any coreaudiod or coreservicesd running, if you're the same you just have to go to View > All Processes as you're probably defaulted to My Processes.
  • Haswell macbook pro, I have this problem as well. Sound completely dead, unplugging and re-plugging headset doesn't work, killing coreaudio doesn't help. Only reboot helps. Has happened twice for me in 72 hours.
  • I am having this very issue, with my brand new Haswell MacBook Pro. I got it the day it was released (coincidentally, just b/c I needed a new computer) and I am disappointed to find that after forking out a small fortune I have this annoying issue to deal with. I hope they fix this bug soon. Nothing helps for me except rebooting. I tried killing coreaudio to no effect.
  • Hey, have you gotten the issue fixed yet.. i have the same problem but my brand new has well mbp sounds like a scratched CD.. Any suggestions?
  • iMac 2011, recent upgrade to Mavericks, losing audio regularly.
    "Kill the Core Audio process" sounds like a plan, please give steps to achieve this.
  • I upgraded to 10.9.1 12 hours ago. Just had the problem again on late 2013 rMBP15 and had to reboot to fix sound. Tried killing coreaudiod, suspending etc. Only thing that works is reboot.
  • Thanks. It would be nice if Apple acknowledged the problem and suggested a work around, and what they are doing to fix it. As it is the user community is trying to scrabble around to fix what is a major issue.
  • Somebody in Apple Support Communities > Notebooks > MacBook Air > Discussions (topic "No sound out after wake up in Mavericks") suggested to reload the audio kernel extension by running these commands in a shell: sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext
    sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext This worked for me! P.S.: I also submitted a bug report to Apple, maybe that helps…
    sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext
    sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext Thanks MuellerMartin!
  • Also worked for me!
  • The Audio on my MBP Retina 2013 disappeared sometimes after putting it to sleep. But these command lines fixed it. At least for now. Made a copy paste to the notebook.app for future reference. Thanks for sharing, @muellermartin!
  • Thanks for this response muellermartin. This worked immediately! I ran these two commands with headphones plugged in and things are great.
  • This worked for me. Thank you for the post.
  • Hi muellermartin, I was wondering if you could tell me how to run these commands in a shell (should I use the terminal)? I'm experiencing the same issues but I just can't find the way to run them. Highly appreciated!
  • Hi Apd12, you're right: the Terminal application runs a shell, so this is the right place to run the commands. Just as reference for others: Simply run the "Terminal" application under /Applications/Utilities/ Then you type in (or copy & paste) this line first: sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext Note: Be careful with running commands with "sudo" (short for "superuser do" which means "run as admin"). They can cause serious trouble, especially if you don't know what the commands do… After typing the line press the enter/return key. You will be prompted for the password of the user account you're currently running. Note: You will not see the characters as you type. This is a security measurement and totally O.K. After typing the password press enter/return again and you should be done for the first line. Do the same for the next command (you certainly won't be asked for the password again for this session…): sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext I hope this helped!
  • It did! thanks a ton, also for the quick response! Have a great weekend!
  • Ding ding ding!!! That worked, thanks! This was happening anytime I'd sleep the laptop with headphones plugged in. Killing coreaudio didn't help.
  • Rene: I'd add to this thread's comments that there is one triggering event that is consistent on my Haswell MacBook Air: Google Chrome's Voice Search Beta extension. Once I installed the Chrome Voice Search extension, the moment it is activated all audio on the system goes down. (I've notified Google and Apple via feedback.) The solution muellermartin posted above is the only solution short of a reboot that brings back the audio for me.
  • Having various issues with audio on iMac i7 2012 model. Distorted audio, complete loss, various glitches.... all since Mavericks upgrade. :(
  • Tried muellermartin's suggestion a couple of times, but it fails to unload (says something about having 2 instances). However I have a fix, use my Nexus 5 Android phone to play my audio when I'm in the office and my £200 chromebook at home ;)
  • Well its happening on my mid 2011 mac mini as well. If i try to play audio on my Dell u2711, I have to disconnect the displayport in order for it to play sounds and reconnect it. If i reboot, I have to disconnect the displayport again and it starts working. If i try to play audio to my Samsung surround system my L/R speakers wont work no matter what i do. I know its not the surround system as it works fine on 2 HP pcs. Thought about trying to replace the HDMI just to rule it out, but seems like a OSX problem to me. The only way the audio in this system plays is if i go optical out. Thats it.. i"m Not even using chrome at this point, just using iTunes. Seems like a bigger problem to me, it worked on Mountain Lion. Not earth shattering, but i sure hope someones working on a fix.
  • something missing on audio ....and the headphones is dead...no red light ..just dead
    macbook pro early 2008....its my second day try to fix it in any way..couse i connect speakers in the headphone line.....something missing from the sound board ....and i can't choose headphones.....almost 30000 has this problem ..what apple do?
  • I get the same thing on my late 2013 iMac. Switching audio sources in preferences does the trick for me most of the time. However I decided to switch from using Chrome after reading this article and so far I haven't had this issue using Firefox or Safari. Whereas with Chrome open constantly it'd happen at least several times a day. Has anyone figured out what it is about Chrome + Mavericks causing this? I don't get this issue using Chrome on my early 2011 MBP with OS 10.8.5 installed.
  • Just happened to my MBA 2012 today. I googled and saw this pressing 'command+option+P+R' solution. Tried it and it worked for the forst time, when it laptop went mute again just now that method didn't work. The system asked to reinstall OS X. That's what I'm doing now, surfing for answers with my iPad while waiting for it to reinstall...*sigh
  • MacBook Air mid-2011 with Mavericks: When I switch between my system speakers and my USB ones, (i.e. unplug or plug in my USB speakers), the audio quits. I have to stop and re-start the player to get the audio to resume. This was not an issue with the same speakers in previous versions of OS X.
  • how do you kill the core audio process?!
  • killing the core audio process worked for me. Thanks so much!
  • Many thanks for the tip... My audio went out systemwide on my 17" MackBook Pro. The volume control was greyed out and no sound was coming from the built-in speakers. I tried reinstalling OSX Maverick, with no success. Followed your tip and PLUGGED IN/OUT my headsets. The sound and sound control are back... This fixed it. Thanks again !!!
  • iMac Mid 2011, RME Babyface, Logic Pro or MBP mid 2010, also Logic Pro and Tascam Interface. Audio glitches all over the place, e.g. external audio just goes or stays silent. Update 10.2.9 did nothing. It's a shame!
  • Mavericks is the whole problem with audio issues,its shit!!
  • Rene, for a short while after 10.9.2, my problem with degraded audio over Firewire disappeared. Then, after 10.9.3, it came back with a vengeance. It's bizarre. Even killing coreaudiod does not help. Now, I have two sets of speakers... one set through my firewire interface for music production and one set for the iMac headphone jack.
    QUESTION: did you get any info at WWDC about future updates for Core Audio in Yosemite???
    (I know it's a pet peeve of yours as well).
  • The fix is to open up MIDI setup and switch the format back and forth. that will bring up the audio back but this is annoying as hell. still happening in 10.9.3
  • Hey Guys,
    After recent SMC+EFI update on 10.9.3, my internal audio device disappeared,
    I tried everything mentioned here with no luck. (NPRAM+SMC reset, reloading kents etc.) THIS IS WHAT SOLVED THE PROBLEM FOR ME:
    1. I opened /System/Library/Extensions folder, there I found besides the usual AppleHDA.kext, also an AppleHDA.kext.disabled one.
    2. I switched between them (swapped their names, sometimes you'll have to do it from the "get info" menu to take effect)
    -- if you don't have this AppleHDA.kext.disabled one, try searching for one lil older than yours in the internet
    3. then I unloaded and reloaded the kent file again- sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext
    sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext And voila! Hope it helps someone, as I spent hours until getting this to work again :)
  • Thank you!! Unloading and reloading the same kext worked. I didn't need to use a backup/older version. Was trying so many different things to no avail but this method worked for me and saved a trip to the AppleStore
  • Sudden system wide sound out today as well. Plugging in/out headphones did the job... Thanks.
  • I've had nothing but problems with mavericks,its a piece of junk! From time to time i have to turn off my computer and when start it up to work on music in logic x I get no sound through my interface headphone output,so i then have to reinstall mavericks to get it to work.What a joke!! its been like this since day one ,i've talked with apple and of course it's a problem on my end even though i've never had this issues with any other os they have put out.Still not fixed and its july 6 2014.Lots of bugs in logic x that have not been fixed as well.I think they just care more about phones and ipads.
  • The lost sound came back to me by updating to 10.9.4 with my 2008 iMac. I have had the issue for a while before moving to Mavericks, and thought my machine was broken, only an external speaker would work...and was enthusiastic when sound was back after a clean install of 10.9. Now it was even worse, as even no speaker would work at all. So I created an external boot disk, and the problem was half way solved, as now the external output is back to work. Still working on it...
  • Keeps happening and it's VERY annoying, as I can't even skype with my family anymore. I really hope that apple fixes the problem as rebooting does not help anymore.
  • The fixed worked & was/is still necessary after a failed Yosemite update caused by S.MA.R.T. logic reporting to Disk Utility that a dying drive was "Macintosh HD appears OK." This hair pulling feature was only identified only by a verbose launch of Remote Install that failed after 6 hours. I am thrilled to report that the rolling back to a freshly downloaded 10.9.5 still perpetuates the problem.
  • I lost channel 1 when I plug in my headphones or even a external sound card, internal speakers woks fine. I'ed try to fix it on System Preferences and Midi Output with no success. I kill coreaudiod but the problem still there. I'm frustrate with this issued.
  • Mac Pro Late 2013 on 10.9.5 has this bug. Sounds appears in plugged headset but completely disappears in a few minutes. Replug and killing coreadio useless. Only reboot. 2-3 reboots for 1 TV show - it's horrible!
  • I have a late 2009 Mac Pro I've suped up to an SSD, 24 GB ram, etc. Mac has almost always worked for me. I am a professional composer and have all kinds of virtual instruments. This week suddenly the sound cuts out after about 1:22. No matter what I do (and I have done everything including reinstalling Mavericks, all software, PRAM reset) and it still drops audio - whether recording, playing back, watching a video. Why now? I've checked inputs and outputs, turned off networks, browsers, all apps... Still does it. Advice?
  • I have a late 2013 Mac Pro and I have the same issue. It was working fine under Yosemite, now it just cuts out - up to three or four times a day - and the only fix for me is a reboot. I can't find a common cause. Since I spend at lot of time editing video, this drives me mad - I have to stop work and reboot.