How to Output Your Mac's Audio to Two Pairs of Headphones at the Same Time

Friday August 17, 2018 4:42 AM PDT by Tim Hardwick

Next time you're on a flight with someone and you both want to watch a video on your Mac without disturbing other passengers, try this convenient solution for sharing your Mac's audio among two pairs of headphones.


The method described below should work regardless of whether you're using one wired pair and one wireless pair of headphones, two pairs of Bluetooth headphones (i.e. two sets of AirPods), or even several pairs.

How to Output Mac Audio to Two Audio Devices

  1. Make sure that the headphones you want to use together are paired with your Mac over Bluetooth and/or connected via the headphone jack.
  2. Launch the Audio MIDI Setup app, located in Applications/Utilities.

  3. Click the plus (+) button at the lower left of the Audio Devices window and select Create Multi-Output Device.

  4. Right-click (or Ctrl-click) the Multi-Output Device in the list that you just created, and select Use This Device For Sound Output. (You can also opt to Play Alerts and Sound Effects Through This Device from the same menu.)

  5. Tick the sets of headphones that you want to use in the Audio Device list. (If one is a wired pair, tick Built-in Output.)

  6. Select a Master Device in the drop-down menu.
  7. Tick Drift Correction for the slave device in the Audio Device list.
  8. Launch System Preferences (select  -> System Preferences... from the menu bar) and open the Sound pane.

  9. Click the Output tab and choose the Multi-Output Device or "Aggregate device" in the list, and you should be good to go.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
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21 months ago
In my day, we used a headphone jack splitter.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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21 months ago

to me, this is one of the greatest strengths of macs in the audio sphere...I often create multi in/ multi out devices that span a few firewire/USB devices to address my signal routing needs. Ableton/Mainstage/Logic all play along just fine. Whatever foundation apple laid (years ago) to support this, is phenomenal.



Be quiet man, they might remove that feature if they find out people like and use it
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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21 months ago
would love to have the same feature in iOS devices..
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
21 months ago
to me, this is one of the greatest strengths of macs in the audio sphere...I often create multi in/ multi out devices that span a few firewire/USB devices to address my signal routing needs. Ableton/Mainstage/Logic all play along just fine. Whatever foundation apple laid (years ago) to support this, is phenomenal.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
21 months ago

This is great but more often I want the inverse: one pair of headphones (usually Bluetooth) streaming audio from several devices simultaneously. Eg. Listening to audio on my work computer, pick up my phone and listen to a short message, then quickly resume working—without going into menus on each device to switch.

I do this regularly with my Bose QC35 headphones. They connect to my iPhone and MBP simultaneously, so if a call comes in while I'm listening to something on the computer, I just pause what I'm listening to and take the call. No switching or selecting required. I wish my AirPods would do the same thing.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
21 months ago
Good to know, but i am disappointed that Apple is holding back the Bluetooth 5.0 dual audio feature for new Macs, iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs. I can imagine a few of scenarios, where it would be useful to pair two bluetooth headphones/speakers to one device. Samsung offers this feature since the release of the galaxy 8 (2017).
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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