Forwarding Address: OS X

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Incessant popping noise: a few days ago the speakers on my 12" Powerbook started making an incessant popping noise that sounds very much like a spike being sent to them, seemingly at random. For a few seconds it'll be fine, then some popping, then silence, then a pop, then... etc.

Its making this machine completely unusable since the sound is maddening, akin to being subjected to a constant drip of a faucet. Anyone have any idea what might be causing this new-found issue? Anyone at all?


  • I've had problems with my powerbook speakers as well, but I was more hearing the pop before a sound was played when it was running on batteries. The audio hardware was turned off and had to be turned on causing an annoying pause and the pop.
    This was the solution for me:

    I'm not sure if this is the same problem you're experiencing though...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:58 AM  

  • this happens to me also, but only when i'm plugged into the AC. my plug is slightly bent, so not sure if that's the cause.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:05 PM  

  • I have this exact same problem, on a first generation 12". On mine it lasted for a few days, then went away, but it still comes back occaisionally. It actually sounds as if the sound hardware is being turned on and off, because it is actually effecting the sound output through the speakers. Music from iTunes for example cuts in and out with the clicks. However, it's only the speakers; when I use the headphone jack the problem goes away, which leads me to believe that it's not a software problem.

    I have gone through different theories, but I suspect that there is a bad solder joint in the sound card that might be effected by heat. I am glad to see you post about this, because this is the first complaint of sound clicks that matches what I'm getting. I'll probably eventually take it in to an Apple store for Applecare repair, but I'm sure that when I do it won't be making the noise.

    By Blogger rrrob, at 10:05 PM  

  • Welcome!

    This very problem is topic of several discussions at "", e.g.
    "". Search for "speakers popping" or "audio popping".

    Unfortunately there is no solution to this problem. I also encountered this on my 12"/867, so I used a headphone plug (w/o cable) to shut up this beast. With my new 12"/1250 there is no problem, NOT YET???



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 PM  

  • For me this problem occures sometimes after plugging out my earphones. Plugging in and out again helps all the time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:40 AM  

  • From your description it might be a dirty headphone jack.

    Typically such jacks have a make/break switch(es) activated by plugging the headphone in. It's a simple mechanical connection and usually not sealed from the elements. Maybe a blast from can of pressurized air? Or a series of plugging/unplugging of the headsets might dislodge the dirt.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:26 AM  

  • So no solutions per se but at least I'm not alone in this. At the moment I'm leaning towards it being a) battery-related and/or b) heat related. Time to get the liquid-cooled fusion generator add-on.

    By Blogger Chris, at 4:21 PM  

  • As suggested by a number of people I tried sticking headphones into the headphone jack and then removing them while the machine was on. Since I did that yesterday morning I haven't heard a single pop.

    Very strange.

    By Blogger Chris, at 12:12 PM  

  • My 12" powerbook just started doing the constant popping thing today (I installed Tiger on April 30). I did the headphone plug in-out thing as suggested above and it seems to be working so far (10 minutes).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:28 PM  

  • my powerbook , has also started making this irritable popping noise, it is comming from the left speaker only, and only occurs when somethign triggers the auio, like if i turn up the volume, but muting the volume does nothign to stop the popping , the only solution is when i plugin external speakers.. this is possible only when its at my house , if i try to write a paper or use it in a quiet area outside my house , people look at me like im an assshole,,,,, anyone take their powerbook to the apple store? any words , im driving it up to one this week.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:00 PM  

  • i have this issue as well on a 1st gen 12" powerbook. it HAS to be the headphones jack. next time you hear it, go to your sound preference panel and you'll most likely see the output source switching from internal speakers to headphones with each click/pop.

    usually plugging the headphones in and then pulling them out and then raising and lowering the volume with F4 and F5 will make it stop for me.

    By Blogger drew, at 7:46 AM  

  • this is definitely a problem with the headphone jack hardware. the jack is a "switched" jack that makes or breaks contact when you unplug/plug in headphones, this is so when you plug headphones in it knows to turn off the external speakers. the popping back and forth is due to the switch contact in the jack not making a good solid connection. a quick remedy is to plug something into the headphone jack and rotate it back and forth to wipe the contacts then pull it out, and maybe a bit of quick plugging/unplugging if that doesn't work. for me, this works for a few days usually but it has me wondering - has anyone out there ever replaced a headphone jack? is it possible to do? is it possible to get an exact replacement part from apple? this type of contact is a sort of bent-metal friction contact, and sometimes even when clean they don't make good contact if the two pieces of metal aren't pushing themselves together with enough force to make a good connection - making it more of a mechanical problem than a contact surface cleaning problem. rather a pain that a $1400 computer can be rendered so annoying by what is probably a $2 part.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:23 PM  

  • I've had my 12" PowerBook for about 5 years now.
    This 'popping' sound has just started, and having read the postings on this forum it definately appears to be the phone socket at fault. Tiny particles of dust on the switch contacts can become carbonised and then will cause this kind of problem. simply plugging a phone jack in and out of the socket will give a temporary fix. For a longer term solution spray a little switch cleaning fluid on the tip of the plug and inset and remove it a few times, this should remove anything on the contacts.

    By Blogger pooter01, at 6:51 AM  

  • This page made my day! My stalwart 5 1/2 year old 1st gen 12" PowerBook started popping relentlessly, annoying people in the library. Sure enough, Drew's tip about the sound output flipping between headphones and speakers was right. A gently moved paper clip instantly cleared out the dust or whatnot and now I have peace! Thanks for making the world a better place and saving me a trip to the Apple Store.

    By Anonymous W. Tersch, at 4:23 PM  

  • Thank you so much for this post and comments! I've been going insane, wondering if HDD death had found a new sound...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:41 PM  

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