how do i enable volume control for hdmi or displayport audio mac Updated 2022

how do i enable volume control for hdmi or displayport audio mac Updated 2022

Enable HDMI Audio & Toggle Sound Output from Mac OS X Quickly Updated 2022

If you’ve ever connected a Mac to something else like a TV through HDMI, you’ve probably noticed that, unlike the video source, sound output does not automatically change to the newly connected hardware. This is intentional, but many users misinterpret that as a problem with their HDMI adapter or cable, or even their Macs output capabilities, when in fact it’s almost always just a matter of adjusting the OS X audio output settings.

macbook audio through mini displayport hdmi

The standard approach is to go through System Preferences to Sound settings and change output, but there’s actually a much faster way to adjust where sound output is directed, and it can be done from anywhere, without going into preferences at all.

Toggle Audio Output Quickly on the Mac

This works in virtually every version of OS X, revealing all audio sources:

  • Hold down the Option key and click the Sound icon
  • Find the desired audio output destination under “Output Device” and select it from the pull-down menu

The change is immediate, and the set audio output destination will have a checkbox next to it’s name. Play a sound effect or any form of audio to confirm it is working. Though we’re focusing on HDMI here, this will apply to all other means of exporting audio as well, including apps like WavTap that capture all sound.

mac mini displayport hdmi audio

Of course it’s still possible to use the other method of going through System Preferences > Output to control this, but since it can all be done from anywhere without launching into settings there is little reason to go that route.

Switching back to the default audio source (typically the internal speakers or sound port) can be done by again Option+Clicking the sound menu icon and then choosing “Internal Speakers” from the pulldown.

Going the other way, this menu trick will also let you change input sources as well, making it easy to toggle input from an external microphone, another audio source, or back to the default internal mic as well.

Why is the Sound Menu Icon Grey?

You will notice that after an HDMI sound output source (and many other output options) has been selected, the Sound menu icon turns grey:

This does not mean that exporting sound is not working, it simply means that sound volume must be controlled through the hardware the Mac is now outputting to through HDMI, which is typically a TV or presentation shooter, as the internal volume adjustment sliders and keyboard buttons will no longer work.

mac mini displayport hdmi audio

HDMI Audio Output Still Not Working? Check the Mac for HDMI Sound Support

Almost all new Macs support audio over HDMI, and practically anything newer than a 2010 model year will have native support. Nonetheless, if none of this is working, you don’t have the HDMI output source visible in the menu options or the Sound Output preferences, and you’re absolutely positive there’s nothing wrong with the HDMI cables and adapters, then you may want to double-check that the Mac supports HDMI audio output.

  • Hold down the Option key and click the  Apple menu, then choose “System Information”
  • Select “Audio” from the Hardware menu
  • Click the triangles to open each audio channel option, and look for “HDMI Output”, “HDMI / DisplayPort Output”, or something similar

How to Use Your Mac’s Media Keys to Adjust Speaker Volume on a DisplayPort, HDMI, or Thunderbolt Monitor

If you connect your Mac to an external display, you may find that the Mac’s on-screen and keyboard volume controls are disabled. That’s because HDMI, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt connections carry a fixed volume digital audio signal, so the external device (in this case, a monitor) controls the sound level.

mac mini displayport hdmi audio

This can be frustrating if the volume controls on your external display are concealed in the bezel or buried in a fiddly on-screen menu. Fortunately, it is possible to re-enable your Mac’s native volume controls and use them to adjust the sound level coming out of your monitor’s speakers. The steps below show how it’s done, although you will need administrator privileges to follow them.

  • Download the free SoundFlower extension (v2.0b2) from Github.
  • double-click the SoundFlower.dmg file to mount it.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key and left-click the Soundflower.pkg file, then choose Open from the contextual menu.
  • If you see a dialog asking if you’re sure you want to open it, click Open. If you see a dialog saying the package can’t be opened, click OK, open System Preferences’ Security & Privacy pane, and in the General tab click Open Anyway.
  • Let the Soundflower installer continue and enter your password if necessary.
  • Next, download the SoundflowerBed utility (v2.0), mount the .dmg file, and drag the flower icon to your Applications folder.
  • Launch the SoundflowerBed utility.
  • Click the SoundflowerBed icon in the menubar and select DisplayPortThunderbolt or HDMI as the output in the (2ch) list.
  • Click the volume icon in the menu bar and choose Soundflower(2ch). You can also make this selection in the Sound System Preference pane.


You should now be able to adjust the volume of the speakers in your HDMI or DisplayPort monitor using the native media controls on your Mac. If you see nothing in the hardware audio menus about HDMI output, then the Mac doesn’t support exporting audio over HDMI.

If the Mac is brand new and thus supposed to support HDMI sound, then there could be a hardware issue either with the adapter itself (this is a very common problem with the super cheap adapters bought online, get a reliable brand like Monoprice and pay a few bucks more), or, in less usual cases it could be a problem with the Mac itself, and you may want to contact AppleCare to make a determination.