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
55 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
55 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: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Edwards007 Avatar
34 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: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ohples Avatar
55 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
55 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
53 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)

Popular Stories

Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
top stories 28jan2023

Top Stories: iOS 16.3 Released, iPhone 15 Pro Rumors, macOS Tips and Tricks, and More

Saturday January 28, 2023 6:00 am PST by
Following last week's hardware announcements, this week saw the actual release of several of the new products as well as operating system updates bringing new features and bug fixes across Apple's platforms. This week also saw some fresh rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup and Apple's upcoming AR/VR headset, while we shared some tips to help you get the most of your macOS experience, so read...
Foldable iPhone 2023 Feature Blue

Kuo: Apple to Release Foldable iPad With Carbon Fiber Kickstand in 2024

Monday January 30, 2023 12:55 am PST by
Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand sometime next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a series of tweets, Kuo said he expects an "all-new design foldable iPad" to be the next big product launch in the iPad lineup, with no other major iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months. The analyst said he was "positive" that the foldable device would arrive in...
Hero0013

Best Apple Deals of the Week: 2021 MacBook Pro Gets Massive $500 Markdowns as Samsung Discounts TVs and Memory Accessories

Friday January 27, 2023 11:07 am PST by
As we near the end of January, this week we saw a collection of deals on Apple's iPad Pro, iMac, and the 2021 MacBook Pro. Additionally, we're tracking new sales on TVs and memory accessories from Samsung. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Samsung...