Mac Fixes

MacBook Pro Speakers Crackling

The MacBook Pro scratching sound is one of the most common MacBook issues, and it can negatively affect your listening experience. This problem can stem from one of many reasons, and fixing it as soon as possible is crucial if you want to maintain an excellent listening experience.

 

While the issue is complex to solve, you thankfully have multiple possible solutions. Today, we’ll show you how to fix the crackling sound on MacBook Pro and stop MacBook Pro audio popping. To ensure that the problem doesn’t reoccur, you’ll also discover the top reasons why this happens in the first place.

Before we start

 

When your MacBook Pro speakers sound distorted, you’ll probably have to fix one of your in-device settings. However, finding these manually can be quite time-consuming. So, using a third-party tool is often a better choice.

 

MacKeeper’s Find & Fix tool is a quick solution to find any Mac-related issues that require urgent fixing. You can use the solution for both security and performance problems.

 

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Download MacKeeper.
  2. Go to Find & Fix, which you should see close to the top of your screen.
  3. Tap Start Full Scan once you’ve found the Find & Fix tool.
  4. MacKeeper will then scan your device for problems and notify you when it finds these. Tap Fix Items Safely to solve any issues found.
  5. Select Continue to begin fixing the problem and follow any on-screen instructions you’re prompted to.  
  6. Press Empty Trash if you’re required to do so. Then, wait for your Mac to do that and check to see if your MacBook Pro speakers stop making a scratching sound.

Why are your MacBook Pro speakers crackling

The MacBook Pro speaker buzzing problem can stem from multiple causes. Some problems are hardware-related, whereas others are a result of software issues. You’ll find the top reasons below:

1. Software problems

Outdated software is one of the most common reasons why you’ll have problems with MacBook Pro clicking noise from speakers. As your software becomes older, your device needs to work overtime to perform basic functions. So, it’s vital that you always keep your macOS up-to-date.

2. Errors in the audio console

If you’ve changed your MacBook Pro audio settings, you may encounter errors that stop the sound from coming out as it should. For example, changing the sound input may result in fuzzy noise from your headphones or speakers.

3. Wrong audio sample rate

You can play sample rates up to 96 kHz on your Mac. But while this works for files that have the capacity to play audio at higher sample rates, it’s not always the case. You need to consider the types of audio you usually listen to and adjust your settings accordingly.

4. Damaged speaker surround

The MacBook Pro scratching sound is sometimes caused by damaged speaker surrounds rather than software-related problems. If external debris or liquid has gotten into your speakers, that could potentially stop your audio from playing as it normally should.

5. Inspect sound effects

Sometimes, your audio doesn’t sound as it should on a Mac because of conflicting sound effects. For example, some files might have old film-like noises. These can make it appear like your audio sound is crackling, even though that’s the intended effect.

How to fix MacBook Pro speakers crackling and buzzing

Luckily, it can be easy to fix most sound not working on MacBook problems yourself. Whether your speaker is crackling at high volumes, you’re hearing random clicking or popping sounds, or any other audio-related problem, our guide will take you step-by-step through numerous tried-and-tested solutions:

1. Make lower your MacBook volume

The easiest place to start is by lowering your MacBook volume. On your MacBook Pro touchbar, do the following:

  1. Tap the volume with the sound icon.
  2. Drag the slider to the left until you’re happy with your noise level. Then, try experimenting to see if your speakers are still crackling.
If you want to fix the crackling sound on a MacBook Pro, start by tapping the volume icon. Then, Move the slider to the left when it appears to turn your volume down.

2. Restart your MacBook

If you tried turning down the volume on your Mac, but the issue prevails, reset your device as a next step. Follow these instructions to do that:

  1. Go to Apple logo > Restart in the top left-hand corner.
  2. Select Restart.
  3. Tap Restart when the pop-up window asks if you want to shut your device down.
  4. Wait for your Mac to restart. Then, enter your login details and experiment again with the sound through your speakers.
If your MacBook Pro speakers are still crackling, turn your Mac off and on again. Go to System Settings > Restart to begin the process via the top toolbar.
Step 1. Apple logo > Restart
After selecting the Restart button, a pop-up message will ask if you want to continue the process. When it appears, select Restart again. Your device will turn off and on.
Step 2. Confirm that you want to restart your MacBook via the pop-up message

3. Try to play sounds via different programs

Sometimes, issues with your MacBook Pro speakers crackling are app-specific. To ensure that the problem doesn’t impact your entire device, open different programs and play sounds. For example, you can experiment with Safari, Spotify, and audio or video editing software. Simply choose a file, song, or video and tap the Play button.

4. Clear your speakers

You should also make sure that nothing is blocking your speakers and stopping them from playing audio at their maximum capabilities. To clean the surface, use something like a toothbrush or microfiber cloth. Our advice is to ensure that bits don’t end up in your speakers, and DON’T use liquid—if you do, you could damage your speakers beyond repair.

 

You can also try using a compressed air can, which you can purchase from many homeware stores. It’s also possible to order compressed air online.

5. Close unnecessary processes

Too many processes running at the same time can stop your MacBook Pro from running its hardware efficiently. Therefore, your speakers may also not operate as they should.

 

You have two options for closing unnecessary processes:

Quit apps that you don’t need anymore

To quit an unnecessary app:

  1. Hover your cursor over the icon in your Dock.
  2. Press control + trackpad at the same time to reveal a dropdown menu.
  3. Select Quit when the list of options appears on your screen.
Quit apps and processes to fix crackling sound on MacBook Pro. Hover your cursor over the icon for each app you want to close, before tapping control + trackpad and pressing Quit.

Quit processes via the Activity Monitor

To close processes via Activity Monitor instead, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Spotlight and search for Activity Monitor.
  2. Press the Memory tab and highlight any processes you want to quit.
  3. Tap the x icon.
  4. Select Quit when the pop-up window appears.
Open Spotlight via the magnifying glass icon at the top of your computer. Once you've done that, you can search for Activity Monitor and begin the process of closing any processes you don't want to use.
Step 1. Go to the top toolbar > select the magnifying glass icon
Search for Activity Monitor via Spotlight. The app will usually be the first result that appears, and you can open it once it appears. Here, you'll have access to CPU, energy, and many other processes.
Step 2. Search for Activity Monitor in Spotlight
Tackle problems with your MacBook Pro speakers crackling by quitting processes in Activity Monitor. Highlight everything you want to quit and tap the x icon when you've done that.
Step 3. Highlight processes you want to quit and select the x icon
A pop-up window will appear and ask you to confirm your decision. When it does, select Quit. After that, you can close the Activity Monitor app.
Step 4. Tap Quit when you see the pop-up window

6. Turn off user interface sound effects

Your Mac will make sounds upon starting up, receiving notifications, and in several other circumstances. You can turn off these sound effects to make sure that you only use your speakers for essential sounds, which could help preserve them. Follow these instructions to do that:

  1. Go to System Settings > Sound.
  2. Toggle off these options: Play sound on startup, Play user interface sound effects, and Play feedback when volume is changed.
Stop your MacBook Pro speakers from crackling by turning off your internal sound settings. Open your System Settings, go to Sound, and toggle off the options that you're allowed to.

7. Change the sample rate of your audio device

If you feel like your current audio sample rate is hindering your Mac’s ability to perform properly, you can change it via Audio MIDI Setup. Here’s how:

  1. Open Spotlight and search for Audio MIDI Setup.
  2. Select MacBook Pro Speakers and expand the Format dropdown menu.
  3. Choose a different sample rate from the list. You may have to experiment to see what works best for you.
Open the Spotlight app and search for Audio MIDI Setup. Normally, it'll show up if you just type
Step 1. Open Spotlight > search for Audio MIDI Setup
To change your MacBook Pro sample rate and stop your speakers from crackling, go to MacBook Pro Speakers > Format. Here, you can change the sample rate.
Step 2. Select MacBook Pro Speakers and go to Format
You can choose from different sample rates for your MacBook Pro speakers. Simply pick your preferred option and, if needed, experiment to see which one works best.
Step 3. Choose the new sample rate for your MacBook Pro speakers

Note from our experts: 

 

If you have problems with Mac screen recording no sound, you can adjust your sample rate. But you can also try several other fixes, such as looking for malware infections and updating macOS.

8. Turn off Core Audio

Core Audio handles all of your MacBook Pro’s audio settings, but it can also result in your speakers crackling. So, you should try turning off Core Audio if you still can’t use your device properly:

  1. Go to Activity Monitor.
  2. Search for Core Audio.
  3. Tap the x icon.

9. Regulate your sound settings

A crackling sound from your speakers could be the work of a built-in sound effect. To check your sound settings:

  1. Go to System Settings > Sound.
  2. Look for Sound Effects. Here, turn down the Alert volume slider.
Regulate your sound settings on your Mac by going to System Settings > Sound. Here, you should turn the alert volume down. You can also change the alert sound and check if that makes a difference.

10. Cool down your MacBook

Your audio speakers crackling could be a result of your MacBook Pro heating up. Your device may get hot because you’re using it outside in warm weather, but it could also have something to do with you running too many processes at the same time. Either way, the best thing you can do is let your device cool down:

  1. Switch off your MacBook and leave it in a cool place indoors, away from direct sunlight.
  2. Wait a few hours before turning on your MacBook again and trying to use it as normal.

11. Update macOS to the latest version

A common reason for your MacBook speaker to sound like it’s crackling is that you haven’t installed all the available software updates.

 

To update macOS on your device:

  1. Go to System Settings > General > Software Update.
  2. If your Mac finds a new software update, select Update Now.
  3. Comply with Apple’s licensing agreement before finalizing the update and letting your Mac do the rest.
Update your macOS software by going to System Settings > General. Here, you can select the Software Update tab. After that, your Mac will start searching for available updates.
Step 1. System Settings > General > Software Update
If your Mac finds a software update, select Update Now to commence the process. You'll need to agree with Apple's licensing agreement, after which your Mac will download the software. Wait for the download to complete.
Step 2. Update your Mac software

Hint from our team: 

 

If you want your Mac to install all updates in the future automatically, check the box marked Automatically keep my Mac up to date. Your Mac will send you notifications when it’s required to restart for an update, which you can always choose to do at a later date.

To prevent your Mac software from being outdated in the future, set up automatic updates on your device. Do this by going to the Automatic Updates tab at the top of your System Settings.

12. Use auto repair software

Another potential way to stop your MacBook Pro speakers from crackling is to use software that will automatically fix the problem for you. MacKeeper’s Find & Fix tool is one such program capable of doing this for you.

 

Here are the steps to utilize our Find & Fix tool effectively:

  1. Open MacKeeper and select Find & Fix.
  2. Select Start Full Scan.
  3. Wait for your Mac to scan and return any results. Select Fix Items Safely if your device identifies problems that require fixing.
  4. Choose whether you want to empty your Trash folder or not. You can tap Skip if you don’t want to.
Open MacKeeper and select Find & Fix. Once you've done that, you can tap Start Full Scan to commence with looking for issues on your device.
Step 1. Find & Fix > Start Full Scan
Select Fix Items Safely to start solving any problems you have with your device. You can fix not just speaker-related issues, but also problems with security and more.
Step 2. Select Fix Items Safely
Tap Continue when the button appears. Your Mac will then focus on fixing the problems it has discovered. The duration will depend on how many problems require solving.
Step 3. Tap Continue
After MacKeeper has fixed the issues with your speaker and elsewhere, you can choose whether you want to empty your Trash folder. This isn't mandatory, so tap Skip if it doesn't apply to you.
Step 4. Empty Trash or skip the process, depending on your preferences

13. Run Apple Diagnostics

MacBook Pro speakers crackling could very well be a hardware issue. To check this, try running Apple Diagnostics—a feature built into most Macs used to check your device for any hardware issues. This can be a complicated process, but we’ll talk you through it step by step:

Let’s go to the instructions now.

13.1. How to start Apple Diagnostics on Apple Silicon MacBooks

The process is different for running Apple Diagnostics on Macs with an Apple Silicon chip. If your device falls into that category, continue with the following steps:

  1. Restart your computer.
  2. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds to open Startup Options.
  3. Hold Command + D to enter Diagnostics Mode.

13.2 How to run Apple Diagnostics on Intel-Based MacBooks

For Intel-based MacBooks, the process to run Apple Diagnostics has several more steps:

  1. Make sure your Mac is connected to Wi-Fi and plugged into an AC power source with a power adapter.
  2. Unplug all external devices such as hard drives.
  3. Shut down your Mac.
  4. Reboot your Mac and hold the D key during startup. This should open up the Mac system diagnostics mode.
  5. Once Apple Diagnostics is open, the check-up should start automatically and display a progress bar and an estimation of the remaining time.
  6. Once the test is finished, it’ll display one of two messages:
    • If the test didn’t find anything wrong, it’ll display a No issues found message. If you’re still unsure, you can run the test again.
    • If the test has found any issues with your Mac, it’lll display a brief description of them with reference codes and additional instructions. If this happens, write down the codes and find out what they mean.

14. Reset NVRAM and SMC

Alternatively, distorted audio could be related to an issue in the NVRAM. The NVRAM stores particular settings such as time zone, sound volume, and display resolution, regardless of the power being turned on or off.  A quick(ish) fix for this could be to reset the NVRAM using the following steps (on Intel-based Macs):

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Turn it back on and immediately press and hold the Option, Command, P, and R keys.
  3. After around 20 seconds, these keys can be released. Your Mac might look like it is restarting.
To reset NVRAM on Intel-based Macs, first shut it down and, then, turn it back on, and continue by immediately pressing and holding the Option, Command, P, and R keys. Release the keys after 20 seconds.

If you own an M1 Mac, resetting NVRAM will be a different process, as M1-based Macs don’t support NVRAM. Try this alternative way:

  1. Open the Terminal app via Spotlight.
  2. In the Terminal window, enter the following command: NVRAM -c.
Open the Terminal app on your Mac and type NVRAM-c. Your device may then reset the NVRAM, but it's not guaranteed. Still, it's worth trying if you're having problems with your device.

Because NVRAM is used to store settings such as time zone, sound volume, and display resolution, you may need to go to system preferences and adjust any settings that may have been reset.

 

Also, you can try resetting the system management controller (SMC) by following these instructions.

  1. Turn off your Mac and hold the standby button for 10 seconds.
  2. Restart your Mac.
  3. If you’re still having problems, turn off your Mac and hold the right Shift key, left Option key, and left Control key. Wait for seven seconds before letting go and turning your device on again.
Reset the SMC on your Mac by holding the right Shift key, left Option key, and left Control key. After doing this, key functions in your Mac will restart and you should be able to use your device normally again.

Important note: You can’t reset the SMC on an Apple Silicon Mac.

15. Try to restart your Mac in Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a feature available to macOS users that can help you determine whether a problem is being caused by the software when your Mac starts up.  

 

First, determine whether your Mac runs with Apple Silicon or an Intel Processor. You can find this out with the About this Mac feature. A Mac that runs with Apple Silicone will have an item labeled chip and the name of the chip used for your system. A Mac with an Intel Processor will instead mention a processor, such as the one pictured below.

If your Mac uses Intel, you'll see a message confirming this when looking at your device properties. The processor will appear in the Processor section of the pop-up window.

After that, you’re ready to restart a Mac in a safe mode, based on the type of your processor:

15.1 How to restart in a safe mode Apple Silicon Macs

Safe Mode should work to clear your Mac of any problematic software and unnecessary cache, leaving your Mac working faster, and smoother. To boot into safe mode on an M1 Mac, follow these instructions:

  1. Power down your Mac. Then, press and hold the power button for 10 seconds.
  2. Release when you see the startup options window.
  3. Choose your startup disk and hold down Shift.
  4. Click Continue in Safe Mode and release the Shift key.
  5. Log in to use your Mac in Safe Mode.

15.2 How to reboot in safe mode Intel-based Macs

Hopefully, Safe Mode will eliminate any potential startup problems your Mac may have been experiencing. If your Mac has an Intel processor, you’ll instead need to follow these steps.

  1. Turn on or restart your Mac and wait for the startup chime.
  2. Press and hold the Shift key until a bar and an Apple logo appear on the screen. Your laptop will now start in Safe Mode.

16. Reset the PRAM

Performing a PRAM reset on your Mac is good for solving issues related to corrupted hardware on your device. So, it’s well worth trying if you’re still having issues with your MacBook Pro speakers.

 

If you have a MacBook Pro with an Apple Silicon chip, you only need to turn your Mac off and on again. Your PRAM will then reset.

 

For Intel chip users, follow these steps:

  1. Eject all external drives from your Mac and turn your device off.
  2. Press the standby button and hold option, command, P, and R on your keyboard for 20 seconds.

Depending on your device, you’ll notice different prompts for when you can let go of the keys above. On an Apple T2 security chip Mac, wait for the Apple logo to appear and disappear twice. If you use an older device, listen for two chimes before letting go.

17. Turn to a professional service agency

If nothing above worked for you, the best option is to seek help from tech professionals. MacKeeper’s support team is available round the clock, and each member is well-versed in how to solve all kinds of issues related to Apple devices.

 

To contact MacKeeper’s support team, use our Premium Services feature:

  1. Open MacKeeper and look for the customer support tab on the right-hand side. Alternatively, press Premium Services
  2. In the Message tab, type out your issue and press Enter.
  3. Follow the instructions that the customer assistant provides to solve the problem.
If your MacBook Pro speakers are still crackling, contact MacKeeper's Support Team. The team is available round the clock to solve any issues you might have. for macOS and several other devices

Can MacBook Pro speakers get worse over time?

If you’ve had your device for a few years, you can’t expect it to perform at the same level it once did. However, you should only experience critical problems—like your speakers playing unclear audio—should only happen toward the end of your device’s shelf life.

MacBook Pro speakers making a crackling sound? Try these steps

Having speakers that keep crackling isn’t ideal for listening to content, but it’s even worse if you have to edit a professional project. Fortunately, it’s possible to fix the crackling sound on your MacBook Pro. You can update your software, run diagnostics, change your sound settings, and much more.

 

In addition to performing manual processes on your device, you can automate problem-solving via MacKeeper’s Find & Fix solution. Even better, the program also helps you solve any other issues that are causing your device not to run at its best.

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