Friday Q&A: Speakers gone silent

Q. I have an iMac G5, which I bought in 2008, and it is my absolute pride and joy. Unfortunately the internal speakers do not work anymore. I have been in the MIDI setup and nothing works. What is an iMac without its speakers? Why hasn’t Apple got a knowledge-base where one can search for solutions? Clicking on internal speakers in System Preferences, the input level keeps flashing. Please help!
Jackie Ansah-Antwi

A. Do you mean the output volume? Speakers don’t have an input level, and if you click on the Input tab in Sound Preferences, you are looking at the settings for your internal microphone, not the speakers. The flashing you see there is just the ambient sound being picked up.

Have a look at the headphone socket. Is there a red light shining from it? That means that the mechanical switch that triggers digital audio output has got stuck on. This is a good thing, because it is easy to fix. Get a toothpick or cotton bud and gently wiggle it in the socket. Or, you can dip the cotton bud in gin or vodka first. The alcohol and water mix is quite good at dissolving the grease and gunge that causes the switch to stick and there’s no sugar in either drink, so they don’t leave a residue. The disadvantage is you’ll have to do this with the Mac off and give it 10 minutes to dry, so you don’t get the same immediate feedback of seeing the light go out. So maybe use a clean bud and save the drink for a celebration martini.

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This question originally appeared in issue 237 of MacFormat, the UK’s best selling Apple magazine.
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