How to Select Mac Computer Audio Input & Output Devices (2022)

Change sound source & output in your Mac's audio settings.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

When you change input or output devices for your Mac audio, sometimes the speaker settings don't correctly update automatically. This can leave you with audio still coming from your MacBook speakers even when you've set up external speakers, or vice versa. Fortunately, it's easy to go into the sound control panel and set audio output and/or input to whatever you want.

Why You’ll Love This Tip

  • Manually choose the speaker input or output devices for all sound on your Mac.
  • Easily use headphones, a headset with a built-in microphone, external speakers, or other special audio devices with your Mac.
  • Select both the speakers and microphone your Mac uses.

How to Change Audio Output & Input in Mac Sound Preferences

To learn more about your Mac features and settings, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter. Whether you're an amateur DJ or a casual listener, setting sound input and output is very simple once you know where to access the sound control panel. The input device is the device that “listens” to you if you are speaking, for example, your built-in Mac microphone. The output device is the device that plays sounds for you to hear, that is, your speakers. Here's how to change audio input and output settings on your Mac:

  1. Click to open the Apple menu.

    Select Mac menu
  2. Click System Preferences.

    Click on System Preferences…
  3. Click Sound to open the Mac Sound settings.

    Click on Sound to open sound settings.
  4. To change sound output, click Output on the menu at the top.

    To change sound output, click on Output.
  5. Click a device to set it as the new sound output. The options will list all currently available devices. Whichever one is highlighted is currently selected.

    Click to select a device for sound output. The options will list all currently available devices. Whichever one is highlighted is currently selected.
  6. To change sound input, click Input.

    To change sound input, click on Input.
  7. Click to select a device for sound input. The options will list all currently available devices.

    Click to select a device for sound input. The options will list all currently available devices.

That's all there is to it! Now you know how to change your Mac audio input and output source whenever needed. If you're interested in changing the AirDrop name of a device, you can also learn how to customize the AirDrop name for your iPhone or Mac

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Author Details

Devala Rees's picture

Author Details

Devala Rees

Devala Rees has been a writer since the age of eleven, and a loyal user of Apple products for even longer. His writing background is quite eclectic, from freelance professional articles to Hindu religious scholarship to fantasy novels. Much of his writing on various topics can be found on Quora.com.