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Intermittent Sound Problems on the iMac

By Thursday 21 June 2012Technology

Between Christmas and New Year I splashed out on a iMac (see iMac Part 1 – The Decision to Buy, Ordering & Delivery & iMac Part 2 – From Windows to Mac: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly). My 27″ iMac with it’s high quality screen resolution has replaced my TV & DVD player, and has become my music system, game station and photo albums. It’s become my connection to the world through the Internet and one of the primary ways I get in touch with family and friends (through Facebook, Twitter, iMessage, etc.).

So I was disappointed to start having intermittent sound problems with my iMac. Sometimes when I switched it on, it would chime and then load up as usual. Then I’d log in and then see this:

I’d go into my System Preferences and see this:

When it had this sound problem it wouldn’t play music or movies and sometimes would boot up in Safe Mode. Restarting the iMac usually resolved the issue, but considering how much I paid for the iMac I wasn’t happy with this intermittent sound issue.So I decided that while it’s still under warranty to get it looked at by Apple.

I took screen shots and rang Apple. No queues to speak to someone, friendly and helpful staff. I arranged an appointment to take my iMac to my local Apple Store.

On the day of my appointment I arrived at my local Apple Store, dragging my heavy iMac in behind me. I was about an hour early because the appointment was at a peak travel time. They let me drop it off, do a bit of shopping and come back to the store for my appointment. I saw an Apple Genius Technician who plugged my iMac into a server and checked the hardware. No problems found.

The Genius Technician said if it was a hardware problem I’d have no sound, rather than the problem being intermittent. He said it was probably a software issue. He showed me how to reinstall OS X Lion. You do this by holding down the ALT key when you first switch the iMac on. The great thing about reinstalling Lion is that you don’t loose any of your files or settings (like you would on Windows).

I believe the Genius Technician, after-all he’s the Apple expert. But I remember having an intermittent sound issue with a Window’s PC and that was because of a loose connection on the motherboard.

So I’ve now reinstalled OS X Lion and will just have to keep an eye out to see if my intermittent sound issue returns.

Write soon,



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