Can't hear anything on Google Hangouts
March 31, 2016 7:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm using a new MacBook Air. Audio works fine on every other app, but when I try to use Hangouts I can not hear anything. Other side can hear me. I've gone through the troubleshooting checklist. I've shut down Skype. I've tried Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. I can pick up my phone and join the same call and hear just fine, so it's not a firewall issue. "Don't use Hangouts" is not an option as I have a weekly call with a bunch of partner and the call is via Hangouts. Any Mac experts have an idea of what else I can try?
posted by COD to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1) I'm assuming this isn't it, but just to check... system preferences gear icon in bottom bar (docker) - sound icon, look at input and output for the preferred devices.

2) assuming that's right- when you start Google hangouts and are in a call there should be a gear icon - click it and settings include a dropdown to select which mic and speakers device(s) to use. There's also a "play test sound, so you can check it in a call without others in it.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:41 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, be sure the audio settings within Hangouts is correct.

I've also had some audio problems when using Hangouts while other apps that use audio (e.g. Skype) are running, or if they have been running previously (without restarting the computer). I've never been able to nail down the exact sequence of events that causes that problem, but restarting the computer and then immediately launching Chrome and going into the Hangout (before launching any other app) usually works.
posted by primethyme at 7:44 PM on March 31, 2016

Have you restarted the MacBook? Not just close and open from sleep, but an actual reboot. This problem has persisted often lately with my coworkers and sometimes they just have to reboot their systems for audio to function again.
posted by xtine at 7:46 PM on March 31, 2016

Does it work if you plug in headphones?
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 7:49 PM on March 31, 2016

Response by poster: Just tried after a reboot - no change. Also tried calling my wife's cell phone from hangouts. She can hear me, I can't hear her. This is starting to remind me of getting A/V working on one of my Linux boxes! Audio is set to either default or on-board device I think it was. Tried both.

The test sound works, even during the call when I can't hear the other party.
posted by COD at 7:52 PM on March 31, 2016

Response by poster: It doesn't work with headphones that plug into the analog jack. I don't have any USB headphones around to try.
posted by COD at 7:53 PM on March 31, 2016!topic/hangouts/ScZ7cSQu5RU

Google mentions it could be a firewall issue, or are you using a VPN that might not be forwarding the audio back correctly?
posted by nickggully at 7:55 PM on March 31, 2016

I also have this problem on a Macbook air - seems to be quite common.
The solution that works for me is to manually reset the audio daemon as described here. It seems to be necessary to do this before each call, but I haven't really done any serious testing.
posted by neatsocks at 9:48 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

With hangouts running unplug the headphones and plug them back in.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:55 PM on March 31, 2016

Does it still happen if you revert to the old Hangouts? The option to revert is in the upper right hand corner on one of the menus.
posted by nat at 11:07 PM on March 31, 2016

Not sure how to fix your issue, but what if you tried using a standalone Hangouts app, like this one or this one?
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:13 AM on April 1, 2016

upthread someone mentions firewalls. in your post you argue it can't be a firewall, but your argument makes no sense to me. so maybe you should check that again. especially because sound itself seems to be working (test sound).
posted by andrewcooke at 5:22 AM on April 1, 2016

Response by poster: in your post you argue it can't be a firewall, but your argument makes no sense to me

In two different places, home and work, I have been staring at a Hangout where I can not hear the other parties, picked up my phone that is connected to the same wifi network and joined the hangout with no problems. Two devices on same network with one working fine seems to rule out the network as the source of the problem.
posted by COD at 6:52 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Resetting the audio daemeon did nothing for me either. Maybe I enabled mic drop mode on Hangouts by accident?

That was a joke...
posted by COD at 7:00 AM on April 1, 2016

i don't know about macs, but that doesn't rule out a firewall problem on the mac itself, if such things are possible. they certainly are in linux.
posted by andrewcooke at 7:40 AM on April 1, 2016

Response by poster: Good thought andrewcooke but I just checked and the firewall on the Mac is off - all incoming connections are allowed.
posted by COD at 8:49 AM on April 1, 2016

Response by poster: It's now working in Firefox. Not sure what changed other than stopping the audio daemon above, maybe that was it. That's good enough for me though. Thanks for the suggestions!
posted by COD at 9:06 AM on April 1, 2016

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