General Question

shrubbery's avatar

My volume controls (F10, F11, F12) are not working on my macbook pro, what can I do?

Asked by shrubbery (9832 points ) October 13th, 2011

So in the last few days I’ve noticed that pressing my volume change keys actually isn’t changing the volume on my macbook pro at all. When I press the volume up or down keys, it makes the recognisable pop sound but stays at the same volume while the squares go up or down. I mute it but my computer still makes sound. It’s the same with the volume control up the top of the screen, too. I slide it up and down and it doesn’t change the volume at all. The only way I can change the volume is with my speakers or the program I’m in (iTunes, VLC etc). I restarted and it seems to be okay then I go to change it a couple minutes later and it’s back to not working again.

I’ve checked my settings- the “use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard fuction keys” is not switched on, and I have tried a suggestion of moving the com.apple.systempreferences.plist file out of the library and onto the desktop and restarting and neither of those seem to make any difference whatsoever. I’ve tried to find online forums but the only suggestions I found were those two and they didn’t work.

I’m just annoyed because I usually have the worst luck with technology but my macbook had been going strong and I got it because of the apparent lack of things that could go wrong, but of course even if there is one thing that could go wrong it will happen to me.

Please help!

(I’m running 10.6.8)

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20 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

This page has a few troubleshooting tips and fixes.

shrubbery's avatar

@XOIIO I already tried suggestions on that page and they didn’t work, looks like they didn’t work for the other people either, or were just temporary at best, or for a different issue (no sound because computer thinks headphones are plugged in). It’s not that I don’t have sound, it’s that I am unable to change the volume.

XOIIO's avatar

Oh, sounds liek the audio jack is broken then, try manually changing the output device, or plugging the ehadphones in, shutting down, take them out and restart.

Response moderated (Spam)
shrubbery's avatar

How can it be the audio jack when I’m still getting sound? Out of the computer speakers, out of headphones AND out of external speakers plugged into the jack. I am still getting sound out of my computer. I just cannot control the volume with the F keys or slider. I have tried restarted many times, with and without things plugged into the jack.

XOIIO's avatar

Oh, I missread that. It sounds like a roblem with the OS, is there any way to do a repair install with osx?

shrubbery's avatar

I don’t know, how would I go about doing that? I’m sorry, I’m really bad with technology which is embarrassing considering which generation I belong to.

XOIIO's avatar

@shrubbery Well I know with windows it’s easy, I’ll have to google around for with macs.

XOIIO's avatar

I saw some stuff about going to disk management and repairing the disk, but that seems to be for damaged sectors or something, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot about repair installations.

shrubbery's avatar

@XOIIO Thanks anyway for your help, hopefully a mac expert (cough @johnpowell cough) will come along soon.

DeanV's avatar

Do they still work when you hold down function when you press them?

shrubbery's avatar

@DeanV they do the other functions like showing everything I have open or moving everything to the side so I can see the desktop.

Response moderated (Spam)
DeanV's avatar

Here’s the screenshot of what I think might be wrong. Make sure the box saying “Use F1, Fwhatever as standard function keys” is unchecked otherwise you’d have to press and hold Fn whenever you wanted to use them as actual volume controls.

shrubbery's avatar

Nope that’s not it. That’s the first thing I checked, it’s always been un-ticked. It’s still doing it occasionally but might go back to normal after I plug in my earphones or speakers but then a while later it’ll stop working again.

DeanV's avatar

Sounds like a definite hardware issue then. When they stop working as volume keys, do they stop working as regular function keys as well? As in do they work for anything else? If they’re cutting out all together, even intermittently, there could just be something wrong with the connection to the logic board.

Sorry if you’ve answered all of these before, I haven’t read the whole thread.

shrubbery's avatar

Don’t be sorry, thanks for trying to help. They still work as keys, as in the volume square still comes up with the picture of the speaker and I still hear the little pop as I press the key as if I were changing the volume but then actual loudness of the volume doesn’t change.

DeanV's avatar

Oh, that’s really really weird. What does your audio/midi setup window look like? It can be found in the utilities folder, and you’ll have to hit “show audio window” if it isn’t there. Is “Built in output” set as default, like mine?

shrubbery's avatar

Yep it looks exactly the same as yours :\

afguia's avatar

If your Mac’s volume buttons still work (the screen shows the volume going up and down) but the output sound isn’t changing, the problem CAN be found within the audio jack for the headphones. It’s happened to me before. I just took a Q-tip, pulled off all the cotton, and pushed it into the headphone jack, and almost immediately my volume buttons worked again. It’s a common Mac problem, where the jack doesn’t read that the headphones have been pulled out. Simple fix! :)

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