My Retina MacBook Pro has recently stopped detecting headphones properly when they are plugged in. It will act as if nothing is connected and just continue using the speakers.

How to get a Mac laptop's headphone jack to work reliably

Restarting will cause it to work again, but only until close it. The problem will then return. There can be several causes to this problem, but you can isolate the easy one first: Get a can of compressed air or an air compressor designed for use with computers. Put the laptop on a level surface, and briefly spray air into the headphone jack. Never spray canned compressed air except with the can perfectly level; otherwise, it can leak compressed liquid and damage.

Helpful answers

Does this problem go away? There was just dirt or debris in the hole. This is also a common problem with iOS devices.

Ask Mac 911

Take it to Apple if it remains under its regular warranty or the extended three-year AppleCare warranty, as such a failure should be covered unless you jammed something untoward in the hole at some point. You might look for a trusted local Mac repair outfit that could diagnose and replace just a component.

It may seem pedantic, but you can potentially save yourself from hours of audio troubleshooting by identifying this early.

Macbook Audio Fix-- No Speakers; Red Light in the Headphone Jack Problem

If the device you want to play audio is already selected, choosing a different audio device and then re-selecting the one you want may remedy the problem. Sometimes the solution to an audio problem is as easy as turning off your computer and turning it on again.

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Unlike a restart, shutting down your computer ends all processes and clears your RAM, which should also resolve most lingering audio issues. This information includes audio and display settings, time zone preferences, your current startup disk, and details about any recent fatal system errors.

Audio issues on the Mac usually have quick, easy fixes and are rarely linked to serious hardware problems. However, if you have to reboot your Mac several times or repeatedly reset the Core Audio API to get your sound working, you should probably take your computer in for a check-up.

Unplugging and replugging the eighth-inch jack from the back of the computer fixed my problem. An easier way to reset the Core Audio is to just open the Activity Monitor which also lets you know if Core Audio is using too much RAM , select it, then quit or force quit….

How to get a Mac laptop's headphone jack to work reliably | Macworld

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