Google Video Calls (Hangouts): Troubleshooting Audio and Video

This article deals with audio and video issues on computers. Note that Google Hangouts still have some issues with Firefox browsers; for best results, use a Chrome browser.

In this article:

Checking the connections before the meeting

Make sure all your devices are securely connected, and turned on. Some microphones have mute buttons, including some headsets. Make sure your microphone is not muted. You can test your own sound before anyone else enters the meeting.

  1. Click the Video Call link (from the calendar invite or from the app itself) to start the meeting, but do not click "Enter the Meeting." 
  2. Click the More Options icon near the lower right corner of the video display.
    Hangouts meeting entry screen with video showing and an arrow pointing to the More Options icon
  3. Click Settings; a box with settings for your camera, microphone, and speakers will appear.
  4. Make sure that the microphone and speaker settings display the speaker and microphone option that you will be using for the meeting. 
    • If you are using headphones or another microphone device, you can click the gray triangle next to the device options and find the device that you will be using for the call. 
  5. Click Test next to the speaker icon. You should hear a sound, typically a phone ringing. 
    Hangouts test screen with arrow pointing towards the test button

If you do not hear any sound, proceed with the troubleshooting steps below.

Checking the video call settings

  1. In the Video Call window, move your mouse until you see the control icons at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Click More Options, then select Settings.
    Video Call controls
  3. Choose specific options for the camera, microphone, and headset or speakers) - not "Default device."
    • If you are using a USB headset with microphone, you should see an option such as "USB Headset" for microphone and speakers.
    • If your only options are "Default device," close out of the Hangout and completely out of the browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc), check that your devices are connected properly, and then restart the browser and re-enter the hangout.

Checking audio settings in Windows

Changing any of these settings may require you to restart your browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc).

The details here can vary with different versions of Windows, so if your computer doesn't say exactly the same thing, look for something similar.

  1. Right-click the volume control (speaker icon) on the lower right in your taskbar. This opens the Sound dialog box.
  2. On the Playback tab:
    • select the appropriate device (here I'm using my Logitech USB headset)
    • click Set Default at the bottom. You should get a green check mark on the device once you've set it as default.
      Sound dialog box
  3. Repeat step 2 on the Recording tab.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Re-enter your video call.

Note: you may need to reset this every time you plug in your headset.

Checking audio settings on a Mac

  1. Click the Apple in the upper left of your computer.
    • If you are already in the call, you may have to move your cursor to the top area of the screen to get the Apple to appear.
  2. Click System Preferences...
  3. Choose Sound.
  4. On the Input tab:
    • Select the correct microphone. This example is using a Logitech USB Headset.
    • NOTE: Only USB microphones will work with a Macintosh computer. Microphones on earbuds or headsets that connect to the stereo mini port will not work.
    • Check that the Input volume is set correctly (it should not be all the way to the left).
      Apple System Preferences window with Sound Output and Input highlighted 
  5. On the Output tab:
    • Select the correct headset or speaker.
  6. Close out of System Preferences and re-enter your video call.

Additional Information

Troubleshoot audio/video issues with video calls (Google's troubleshooting guide)