Issue: Loose headphone jacks in MacBooks

Many people are having problems keeping headphones connected on the unibody 13-inch MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro. It seems as though a connected plug will easily slip out of the jack enough to lose the connection, causing the audio to switch from "He

Computers

Description: Many people are having problems keeping headphones connected on the unibody 13-inch MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro. It seems as though a connected plug will easily slip out of the jack enough to lose the connection, causing the audio to switch from "Headphones" to "Internal Speaker."

Tiny Tiny--

"I was having difficulty with 3 pairs of headphones that I own. Upon insertion into the MacBook aluminum headphone jack, I would only get a very loose connection. A slight wiggle would disconnect headphone sound and revert to internal speakers. I went to the Apple store today in Toronto, and tested a few of their units on display. Same thing!!!"

It appears the problem may be from a faulty or poorly designed batch of headphone jacks that Apple used at least in the first Unibody MacBooks. The 17-inch computers do not appear to have this problem, and it is uncertain if this still affects 13-inch and 15-inch models being shipped now.

While this problem is mainly that the audio plug will not stay in, it is accompanied by the audio blaring through the internal speakers when the connection is lost, since the computer will automatically switch to the internal speakers when the plug is removed.

This can be very frustrating, but luckily, the jack will stay in if you take care not to touch it; however, this will require you to get into the habit of not touching the audio cables. Unfortunately, Apple has not yet recognized this as a problem. However, it is worth it to take your computer into an Apple store to show the employees the problem and request they repair it. There are a couple of workarounds to this problem that you can consider if your audio jack is loose.

Workarounds:

1. Set the computer on the audio cable.

One way to help anchor the plug into the jack is to plug the audio cable into the computer and then pull it under the computer, using the computer's weight to keep it in place. In some instances, headphones cables are not long enough, but a cheap audio extension cable can  be purchased to help with this.

2. Use USB/Bluetooth headphones.

There are plenty of USB and Bluetooth headphone options that Mac users can choose from. Since the unibody MacBooks ship with both USB and Bluetooth, they are ready to connect to these devices out of the box.

3. Get another audio interface.

Another way to get a working jack on the computer is to bypass the built-in audio altogether. One option is to get a USB or FireWire audio interface, which will provide at least one additional input and output for the computer. This has the drawbacks of having to lug around another device with the computer, but it is an option. Alternatively, there are some ExpressCard audio interfaces that are being developed for Mac OS X that you can try out, such as the Echo Indigo IOx (http://www.echoaudio.com/)--developers have just released OS X beta drivers. External interfaces can be a bit expensive, so these options may only be useful for you if you have other needs for an advanced audio interface.

4. Set internal speaker volume.

Some people might be OK with the audio cutting out when the headphone jack gets disconnected; however, the problem then is with the internal speakers blaring the music. The easy fix for this is to unplug the headphones and turn down or mute the audio when it's playing through the main speakers. OS X has separate volume settings for headphones and the internal speakers, so with the internal speakers muted the audio should not play when the connection to the headphones is lost. 

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