How To Fix MacBook Pro Speakers Crackling

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You have your beautiful new laptop, and you've settled down to watch some Ted Lasso, when you start to hear your MacBook Pro speakers crackling. And you probably think to yourself, "what would Ted Lasso do in this situation?". The answer is, nothing, probably, because he's fictional.

But here in the real world, we aren't going to offer some warm, homespun bon mot to offset a tortured soul. We're going to give you answers. If you have crackling issues with your MacBook, there are solutions. Here's what you need to know.

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How To Fix MacBook Pro Speakers Crackling

Whether you are watching TV, listening to music, or trying to have a conversation with someone in a virtual meeting, crackling speakers are both annoying and disruptive.

It can be difficult to pinpoint what specifically is causing your speakers to crackle, especially when it isn't linked to an individual app (if it is, then it's usually an issue with that app's software). So work through the following remedies, and hopefully, you'll find one that puts a stop to the crackles and pops. It's a MacBook, not a popular brand of breakfast cereal.

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Here are some well-known remedies that will often resolve your issue:

  • As we so often suggest, try restarting your MacBook. If it's a glitch, then rebooting your system may be all you need to do.
  • Check for pending updates. Make sure you are using the latest version of macOS by going to System Preferences > Software Update. If you are part of the Apple Beta Software Program, it's possible that the pre-release software is causing the issue. So try reverting to a non-Beta version.
  • If you are experiencing speaker crackling in one specific app, then check for updates for that particular app. If that doesn't work, see if you can use an alternative app to do the same task.
  • Check that you aren't overloading your Mac. Open the Activity Monitor, and go to Choose Window > CPU Usage. This will let you know if your CPU is struggling to cope with everyone you are asking it to do. If it is, try closing some apps and see if it stops the crackling.
  • It's also possible that your crackling is caused by some of your sound preference settings. Go to System Preferences > Sound > Sound Effects. If any sound effects are active, try disabling these to see if it fixes the issue.
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If none of these quick fixes works, then try some of the more in-depth suggestions we've listed below.

Reset NVRAM

Non-Volatile Access Memory is used by your MacBook Pro to store specific settings, including sound. So resetting this can resolve the crackling issue. This option may not work on M1 Macs, but should work on older models. To do this:

  • Switch off your Mac.
  • Turn it back on, and press and hold the Command button, Option, P and R keys. Keep them held down together for around 20 seconds.

Restart Your MacBook In Safe Mode

Safe Mode can help to identify whether this is being caused by a software issue. The process varies slightly, depending on whether you are using an Intel-powered MacBook, or Apple silicon.

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For a MacBook with an Intel processor:

  • Turn on your Mac and wait for the startup sound.
  • Press and hold the Shift key until a bar and an Apple logo appear on the screen.
  • Your MacBook will now start in safe mode.

On an M1 or M2 MacBook:

  • Power down your Mac. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds.
  • Release when you see the startup options window.
  • Choose your startup disk — hold down Shift.
  • Click Continue in Safe Mode and release the Shift key
  • Log in to find your Mac in safe mode.

Run Apple Diagnostics

Apple Diagnostics can be used to check for any hardware issues. Once again, the process to use this varies slightly depending on what type of processor your MacBook has.

For a MacBook with an Intel processor:

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  • Plug your laptop into a mains power supply and make sure you are connected to WiFi.
  • Unplug any external devices.
  • Shut down your MacBook. Once it has powered down, you can reboot it, and hold down D during startup. This will open diagnostics mode.

Once this is open, it should automatically run a system diagnostic, and let you know whether it has identified any issues.

On an M1 or M2 MacBook:

  • Restart your computer.
  • Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds to open Startup Options.
  • Press and hold Command and D to enter Diagnostics Mode.

If none of these remedies works, then it might be time for you to contact Apple Support for further help and advice. They will be able to advise you on your warranty status, as well as any other options if your MacBook Pro needs to be sent away for repair or replacement.

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What Causes The MacBook Pro Speakers Crackling Issue?

There are generally two umbrella headings under which crackling speakers fall - hardware and software.

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Hardware issues typically mean a physical fault with the speaker itself. And in this situation, there is very little you can do other than get it repaired or replaced. This is when you need to hope you are still under warranty or have decent home insurance.

Software-related issues tend to be more diverse, and therefore can be harder to diagnose. But the payoff is that these are more easily fixed. This includes things like firmware issues, macOS bugs, or can even be linked to specific apps. A good indication that your issue might stem from a software source is if the problem is intermittent, or happens with one specific app.

Work your way through the solutions we outlined above, and hopefully, your crackling speakers will soon be a thing of the past.