If you connect your Mac to an external display, you may find that the Mac's on-screen and keyboard volume controls are disabled. That's because HDMI, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt connections carry a fixed volume digital audio signal, so the external device (in this case, a monitor) controls the sound level.

mac volume disabled
This can be frustrating if the volume controls on your external display are concealed in the bezel or buried in a fiddly on-screen menu. Fortunately, it is possible to re-enable your Mac's native volume controls and use them to adjust the sound level coming out of your monitor's speakers. The steps below show how it's done, although you will need administrator privileges to follow them.

  1. Download the free SoundFlower extension (v2.0b2) from Github.
    enable mac volume control of external monitor speakers00

  2. double-click the SoundFlower.dmg file to mount it.

  3. Hold down the Ctrl key and left-click the Soundflower.pkg file, then choose Open from the contextual menu.
    enable mac volume control of external monitor speakers1

  4. If you see a dialog asking if you're sure you want to open it, click Open. If you see a dialog saying the package can't be opened, click OK, open System Preferences' Security & Privacy pane, and in the General tab click Open Anyway.
    enable mac volume control of monitor speakers 3

  5. Let the Soundflower installer continue and enter your password if necessary.
  6. Next, download the SoundflowerBed utility (v2.0), mount the .dmg file, and drag the flower icon to your Applications folder.
    enable mac volume control of external monitor speakers3

  7. Launch the SoundflowerBed utility.
  8. Click the SoundflowerBed icon in the menubar and select DisplayPort, Thunderbolt or HDMI as the output in the (2ch) list.
    enable mac volume control of external monitor speakers04

  9. Click the volume icon in the menu bar and choose Soundflower(2ch). You can also make this selection in the Sound System Preference pane.
    enable mac volume control of external monitor speakers5

You should now be able to adjust the volume of the speakers in your HDMI or DisplayPort monitor using the native media controls on your Mac.

Top Rated Comments

ChromeAce Avatar
31 months ago
I installed this once 10 years ago and it conflicted with other audio apps. It took me 5 years to figure out what the problem was and get rid of the driver (by finally doing a clean install). Never again.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xflashx Avatar
31 months ago
Apple really should add native support for this in macOs. Every other OS (at least Linux and Windows) are able to adjust the volume when audio is delivered over HDMI/DP.
I’m waiting for this functionality to be added since forever...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ohples Avatar
31 months ago
Make sense that because it's a digital signal it would be harder to adjust the "volume" but you would think there would be some CEC ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_Electronics_Control') like mechanism so the volume control on the system can adjust the monitor/external device volume.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Val-kyrie Avatar
31 months ago
I installed this once 10 years ago and it conflicted with other audio apps. It took me 5 years to figure out what the problem was and get rid of the driver (by finally doing a clean install). Never again.
The need for this hack demonstrates Apple's lack of forethought both in its hardware and in its software.

I personally would not bother with this since it can cause more problems than it solves.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
falcn Avatar
29 months ago
And, it works with the standard Mac volume keys. The only thing that's not perfect is the volume range. When it's at the lowest volume, it's not quite as low as I might want it.
Just installed this and it seems to be working well for me. As BobMcBob mentioned the volume control range is not as expansive as I would prefer, but volume control from my keyboard is back, so I am happy.

It is on sale at the moment so I bought a license after downloading and installing the trial version.

Thanks for the tip!
Sorry for late reply, I don't visit macrumors often.
You can go lower than one notch of volume, hold Shift+Option+[your volume key]. It's stock Mac OS feature.

A similar problem is adjusting the brightness on an external monitor. The standard Mac brightness keys don't work. I installed Brightness Slider from the app store. It's not bad, but it doesn't use the normal brightness keys. You can set your own keyboard shortcut, but you can't use the normal brightness keys. Does anyone have a better solution for that?
I use free app called Lunar https://lunarapp.site
It works if your external monitor supports DDC (most of them do)
It mirrors your internal screen brightness level on your external screen, which is great if you have auto-adjust on.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Edwards007 Avatar
11 months ago
I used and appreciated Soundflower for years, but it quit working when I upgraded to High Sierra, and it doesn't appear to be supported anymore. I tried something called blackhole, but I couldn't get it to work, so I downloaded the 15 dollar sound control app mentioned by pizzapizza, and it works perfectly with my HDMI display.

Being able to control the sound output from the keyboard controls is so obvious that it is impossible to understand why Apple seems to go out of their way to inhibit this.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
iPhone 13 Battery Life Feature

DigiTimes: iPhone 13 Pro Models to Feature 120Hz ProMotion Refresh Rate and 15-20% Less Power Consumption

Friday April 9, 2021 12:52 am PDT by
The two premium "Pro" models of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will be equipped with a low-power LTPO display, enabling the iPhones to have a 120Hz refresh rate, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. According to today's paywalled report, Apple suppliers Samsung and LG Display are in the process of converting parts of their production capacity to produce LTPO ...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...