How to adjust a Mac's overall sound volume and alert volume – Macworld

macOS has two distinct volume control options in the Sound preference pane that affect how a Mac produces sound.
Some people never adjust the Sound Effect tab’s Alert volume and are blasted by pings, plinks, and boops that are substantially louder than the sound they’re listening to through speakers, headphones, or earbuds. You can also find the level is so low or disabled that you’re missing important audio feedback for your actions or those of an app.
Note as well that the “Play sound effect through” popup menu lets you split audio feedback to any selected sound output device instead of routing it through the output destination selected in the Output tab in the Sound preference pane.
If you need more granular control or want to clear up or manage other aspects of the Mac audio system, Rogue Amoeba’s SoundSource ($39) provides an extensive set of options in a system menu.
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Glenn Fleishman’s most recent books include Take Control of iOS & iPadOS Privacy and Security, Second Edition (covering iOS 15/iPadOS 15), Take Control of Your M-Series Mac, and Take Control of Securing Your Mac. In his spare time, he writes about printing and type history. He’s a senior contributor to Macworld, where he writes Mac 911.
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