News, info, and opinion by Mac users, for Mac users.

July 01, 2006


The amazing auto-muting headphone jack

Authored by Dan Moren at 1:30 AM
Category | Tips
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OS X MuteI love finding little features of my computer that I haven’t discovered yet. For example, I keep my MacBook on mute most of the time. That way if an errant beep or alarm sounds, it doesn’t bother everyone else in the cafe where I’m invariably working.

Still, I like to listen to music or watch the occasional video in these places, so I’ll plug in my headphones. However, on my MacBook, I noticed that when I plug in my headphones, the volume icon in the menubar suddenly unmutes. Intrigued, I tried plugging and unplugging my headphones a handful of times, and sure enough, when you pull the headphones out, it mutes the speakers again. This only happens, however, if you’ve actually turned mute on while the headphones are unplugged. If you mute while the headphones are in, you can plug and unplug the headphones all day and it won’t do it.

I’m not sure how long this feature has been around; I never noticed it on my old iBook, and I wasn’t able to find any documentation on Apple’s site about it. I do know that both my 5G iPod and iPod nanos pause the current track if you pull the plug out (though the 5G is sometimes flaky about it), so I’d guess that’s where Apple got the idea. It’s a nice touch from a company known for nice touches.


I belive that OS X remembers the last volume setting that was used when a device was plugged into the audio out jack and applys that setting whenever teh audio out jack is used.

Aaron's got it right. OS X remembers audio settings for various input and output devices.

That includes settings for balance and input levels. Cool.

I suppose it's a bit of a different situation but still a bit the same:

My Sony Ericsson S710a phone does this toom but it changes more than just volume. It detects the headphones and switches the "Profile" fron normal to what it calls "Hands free" and alllllll the phone settings along with it. If i change any setting while the 'phones are plugged in, it saves those settings in the "Hands free" profile and keeps the "Normal" profile unchanged. You can create as many profile as you want.

(and they are all voice-activateable)

I don't know if all phones have that because I've only ever bought Sony Ericssons.

'sup Sony Ericsson!

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