How to Customize Sound Settings on Your Mac

Photo of a Mac on a desktop

When using a Mac, it’s quite possible that the only sound-related thing you’ll change on your computer is the volume. But in some cases, you may need to adjust a few more settings – such as whether your Mac is playing sound.

In this article, you’ll discover how to customize your Mac’s settings as well as how to access these features in the first place.

Change Your Mac’s Sound Output

If you find that the song or podcast you’re listening to doesn’t sound as good as it once did, the problem might lie beyond your headphones. This could also be the case if the sound on your Mac isn’t working. Before chucking your earpieces for something new, checking and altering your Mac’s sound output is worth exploring.

To tweak your Mac’s sound output, you’ll first need to access the “Sound” section in your settings. The easiest way to do this is by holding either F10, F11, or F12 and Alt simultaneously. (Depending on your keyboard, Alt might be called Option or instead.)

When the “Sound” window opens, click on the “Output” tab. Choose the device whose sound you want to tweak in the bar toward the top.

Mac Sound Settings Output

If one side of your headphones isn’t as loud as the other, you can toggle the balance between left and right. Move the sidebar under “Settings for the selected device.”

Control Your Mac’s Sound Input

Equally as important as changing how you listen to things is controlling how sound goes into your Mac. Knowing how to do this is especially useful when you do any activity that involves talking, such as recording a podcast.

To alter your Mac’s sound input, you’ll need to go back into your “Sound” settings. But instead of “Output” select “Input.” 

Mac Settings Input Arrow

When you’ve done this, you’ll have the opportunity to alter how loud your input is. You can do this next to the section saying “Input volume.”

Mac Settings Input Volume

If you want to reduce background noise, tick the box next to “Use ambient noise reduction.”

Mac Input Ambient Noise Reduction

It’s worth noting that you can also find the “Sound” Settings by going to the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen. From there, go to “System Preferences … ” and then click “Sound.” 

Mac System Preferences Sound

How to Screen Record on Your Mac with Sound

Screen recording on your iPhone is easy, and doing so on a Mac is also simple. But one common frustration for Mac users is making a screen recording but not hearing any sound, especially when talking.

To screen record on your Mac and talk simultaneously, you’ll need to use QuickTime. Once you’ve opened the app, go to “File” at the top of your screen.

From the list of options, click “New Screen Recording.” 

Mac System Preferences Quicktime Screen Recording

At the bottom, where you see “Options,” make sure “Built-In Microphone” is ticked. 

Start recording whenever you’re ready. Once you want to stop, click on the “Stop” icon on your toolbar at the top of your screen. 

Quicktime Stop Screen Recording

Changing Your Mac Sound Settings Is Simple

Now you know how to change both your inputs and outputs on your computer. We’ve also shown you how you can screen record on your Mac with sound. 

Although your computer’s sound settings aren’t often visited, optimizing this is key to enjoying the best possible experience with your Mac. Why not give it a try?

Danny Maiorca
Danny Maiorca

Danny has been a professional writer for over five years. Now based in Copenhagen, Denmark, he plied his trade working for various companies in the UK — where he was born — before taking the leap into freelancing. He specializes in iOS and Mac.

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