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  • TechNest Report | TNR » Page 'Microsoft Office In The Cloud: The Strategy Behind It All'

    TNR Tip: MacBook and red light coming out of headphone/mic jack

    If you’ve ever noticed a red light coming out of your Apple MacBook’s headphone or microphone jacks, here is what’s happening and why. As you are well aware, the 13″ MacBook  and both of the MacBook Pros (15″ and 17″)  – not the 13″ MacBook Air – have two jacks that deal with sound: one for taking sound out and one for listening to sound coming in.  Both of these jacks are capable of performing under analog and digital (optical) modes.  Sometimes, however, the optical (digital) part of the jacks malfunctions and causes the (optical) light to remain on.  Ever see the underside of an optical mouse? It’s red, isn’t it?  The same technology is used here with optical/digital

    Image courtesy of DisruptiveTelephony.com

    Image courtesy of DisruptiveTelephony.com

    jacks.  (PS: the optical light isn’t always the color red; there are blue ones from Microsoft).

    So how do you put an end to this red light so your prized laptop doesn’t emulate a Terminator laser beam?  The goal is to tell the sensor that whatever was plugged into it is no longer there.  If you see the red light, the sensor still thinks that something is plugged into it.

    The solution:

    1. Try to slowly insert a headphone or speaker plug.  Slowly take it out.  If that didn’t turn the light off:
    2. Take a toothpick or a Q-tip and slowly poke it into the jack.  Slowly take it out.  Be careful not to poke it too far as that may damage the optical sensor.
    3. Did you notice the emphasis on slowlySlowly does it!
    4. If you are seeing the red light coming out of the jack on a non-Mac OS (such as when running BootCamp with Windows or Linux), make sure you have all the drivers installed.  And make sure they’re installed correctly.
    5. If none of the above helped, take the machine into an Apple store or call up Apple support as you may have a faulty sensor inside that jack.

    TechNest Report or Alex Luft are not responsble for any undesirable changes, or otherwise, you make to your machine.

    That’s it, folks; good luck and let me know how it goes in the comments!


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    Full disclosure: Alex Luft owns a very small amount of shares in Apple, Inc.

    Posted in Exteme Geek, Mac, TNR tip

    20 comments to “TNR Tip: MacBook and red light coming out of headphone/mic jack”

    1. Very helpful tip! I had this problem and didn’t know what happened to my computer! A simple plug of the headphone jack did the trick!

      Great tips keep em’ coming!

    2. [...] the following article: Link [...]

    3. it is not helping after various times of plugging in and out. any other tips?

    4. Ee, are you running Mac OS X or is the light coming on under BootCamp and Windows/Linux? If it's the latter, it's because it doesn't have the driver installed. If it's OS X, try restarting with headphones plugged into the port.

    5. [...] into an Apple store or call up Apple support as you may have a faulty sensor inside that jack. If you've ever noticed a red light coming out of your Apple MacBook's headphone or microphone jacks,… [...]

    6. YAY!!! thanks alot for the tip!!! :D

    7. No problem! Glad it helped!

    8. worked great! Bu had to use my earphones plug to do it, my headphones plug couldn`t do it(abit ticker).
      Thanks alote !

    9. Perfect instructions! Worked the after the first try.

    10. Nice! Glad I could help!

    11. Tried this and didn't work. My red light doesn't stay on, it sort of blinks any thoughts?? Thanx.

    12. Rad man, thanks. Got kinda' scared for a minute.

    13. THANK U SOOOO MUCH VERY HELP FULL! :) :) :) :) U Know what ur doing :)

    14. You are very welcome!

    15. for my case, i guess its windows driver? cuz the red light only comes out in vista but not OS X. i looked at the properties of the digital output and ran the update there and it says drivers up to date. ( recently uninstalled RealPlayer and re-installed again, i wonder if thts the cause of it) thnks in advance….

    16. Even though Real Player is a big piece of garbage, I don't think it's causing the red light syndrome on you MacBook.

      I think the red light may be standard practice now given Apple's newest Boot Camp drivers.

      I'll look into this.


    17. THANK YOU!! My old HP crashed about 6 months after my speakers stopped working, so when I had this problem with my Mac I got reaally nervous!! But your explanation was really understandable, and worked great!!

      Btw, inserting my head set, and removing it slowing didn't work after several tries, so I thrusted it in quickly held it, and removed it in a similar quick motion, and that worked perfectly for me… Just saying. :)

    18. THANK YOU
      It's been like that for a week
      but now its all good after the first try

    19. it worked thanks!
      My volume is working fine again without headphones, only the headphone jack is still glowing a red (although not as bright..) is that a problem?

    20. this is really a helpful tip but it didn't work for mine.. I bought my mac last year.. i had a one year warranty.
      How much does its cost if i bring my mac to the apple store? is it free?

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