Macbook sound: no output devices
September 14, 2021 2:41 PM   Subscribe

My mac crashed while watching a fullscreen disney+ video, the sound kept playing with no video and I coulnd't exit from fullscreen, so I turned the computer off. Now Sound preferences is showing "no output devices found", same for input, and there is no sound.

I have:

a) plugged in an external sound interface. It works, I can hear sound through it. not a practical long term solution for zoom, etc., plus I don't have an external mic to plug into it.
b) reset NVRAM and SMC.
c) run hardware fix
d) booted into safemode
e) created a new user account and logged into it
f) created a new user account while in safe mode and logged into it
g) repeatedly plugged an headphone in and out of the plug.
h) connected to an external speaker, which works. Not practical for zoom, plus no external mic.

It seems as if my macbook doesn't recognize its sound card.
posted by signal to Technology (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Response by poster: During the reboots I sometimes hear the startup chime so I don't think it's a physical problem.
posted by signal at 2:55 PM on September 14


Huh.

I have a vaguely similar problem, although in my case the mac plays sound successfully if it has just woken from sleep or been turned on. If the sound stops for more than a few seconds, it refuses to start up again, though everything looks fine in sound preferences.

I know it isn't exactly identical to your problem, but I'll be watching with interest. I've been trying to find a solution for months.
posted by Alensin at 3:29 PM on September 14


I've heard of this problem before from a colleague. Try following these Stack Exchange instructions to run a hardware test on reboot. More info from Apple support on their page for Apple Diagnostics for Intel or M1 processors.
posted by expialidocious at 3:36 PM on September 14


Response by poster: I already tried the hardware test. I also installed the latest Mojave update.
posted by signal at 3:47 PM on September 14


From "About this Mac", if you click on "System Report...", under the audio category, are there any devices?


I would suggest trying the NVRAM / SMC resets again.

If you have canned air, blow out the audio jack, see if it thinks there is some debris making enough resistance for it to think a headset is plugged in.
posted by nickggully at 4:03 PM on September 14


Response by poster: nickggully: "From "About this Mac", if you click on "System Report...", under the audio category, are there any devices?"
Nope.

nickggully: " If you have canned air, blow out the audio jack, see if it thinks there is some debris making enough resistance for it to think a headset is plugged in."
Didn't work, either. Plus, it's not that it says there's a headphone, but that it doesn't show any audio device at all.
posted by signal at 4:18 PM on September 14


Response by poster: Datapoint: when I boot up the mac, the Volume icon shows up in white, looking the way it does when you mute the sound. If I try to click on it, I get the beach ball, even after everything else is responsive. After about 2 minutes, it goes grey, and then I can click on it, where it shows no audio device.
If I try to open the Sound Preferences, it takes a long time to open up and is a bit wonky.
posted by signal at 4:49 PM on September 14


This happened to me and then my computer died via hardware failure about a day later. So BACK UP YOUR SHIT NOW rather than thinking that it's necessarily a sound-only problem. Exact same thing you're describing, no fixes worked.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 5:17 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: Backing up, thanks.
posted by signal at 6:36 PM on September 14


If you have repair media, it might be interesting to see if the installer has sound, so you could know that it was the old OS that was misconfigured. If you heard the bong, I think that means the boot loader could use the audio. We
posted by nickggully at 8:24 PM on September 14


Response by poster: I soft-reinstalled Mojave and the problem is fixed, so it was a configuration or driver issue of some kind.
posted by signal at 8:14 AM on September 17 [1 favorite]


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