When a Mac’s headphones port or internal speaker stop working

At times, like after a OS X/macOS update, my Apple Mac’s internal speaker and headphone port stop working.  Neither will put out any sound.  Others report a similar problem on the Internet.  But none of the solutions I found on the Internet worked for me.  Here’s what worked for my Mac Mini:

  1. Using Finder, open the Applications/Utilities folder, then start the “Audio MIDI Setup” app.
  2. Select the “Built-in Output” in the left panel.  Click on the Format selection in the right panel for Output, and select something low like the “2 ch 16-bit integer 44.1 kHz.”  (You may have to go lower to 32 kHz.)
  3. Select “HDMI” in the left panel.  (If you do not have HDMI, select each output in turn.)  Again change the Format in the right panel for Output to a lower-res bit rate like”2 ch 16-bit integer 44.1 kHz”.  (You may have to go lower to 32 kHz.)

With that fix, I can hear sound through a nice set of speakers connected to the headphone port instead of the monitor’s stereo speakers.  Perhaps the problem is related to my use of a monitor with stereo sound that I run using an HDMI connection from the Mac.  Perhaps not.  That is for Apple to resolve.