I am using Pop!_OS, installed it a few days ago. I have two audio output devices (correction: read #1 under the post) connected to my PC, one to the 3.5mm audio jack in the front panel and one to the same in the back panel. In the front panel I have my headphones connected and in the back panel I have my stereo speakers connected. I want to be able to switch between the two devices (correction: read #1) like I do on Windows. But I am not able to achieve the same on Linux. (I do not want to be able to play audio from both the devices at once, I don't care about that. I want to be able to switch the output devices with audio playing from only one of them) works kinda like a phone, if I pull my headphones out it automatically starts playing audio from the speakers but as soon as I plug them back in, the audio switches to headphones. Basically my PC is not recognizing headphones and speakers as two separate output devices. Even in settings, only the headphones are available in the list of output devices and line in only appears if I pull my headphones out. Then it starts showing "line in". It works absolutely fine on Windows tho.

Note: Don't freak out after seeing Pop!_OS mentioned it's very similar to stock Ubuntu just with better and more functional features.

1: Someone told me that what I wanna do is not to switch between different audio output devices but rather different audio sinks or jacks connected to the same audio output device. Meaning, my headphone and speakers are not the audio devices, my sound card is which has two different sinks or jacks that my speakers and headphones are connected to. So I don't want to swtich output devicrs, I want to switch audio sinks or jacks.

  • (1) Find out if Pulseaudio is installed or not (it likely is, try starting pavucontrol). (2) Do you want to be able to send different audio output to your devices at the same time, or do you want to just to be able to switch between them? The former may not be possible, depending on your hardware. Please edit the question with this additional information.
    – dirkt
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 6:52
  • isn't it impossible for audio to even play without pulseaudio or Alsamixer? also pavucontrol isn't installed on my machine but as far as I know, pulse audio is. Can you tell me how I can check is pulse audio is installed on my pc? (also I have made the edits you asked for)
    – Sbavert
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 10:11
  • ps axu | grep pulse should also show you if the Pulseaudio server is running. If it is, you should be able to install pavucontrol with whatever package manager Pop!_OS uses (I hope an apt variant...). The bare minimum you need to play audio are the ALSA drivers, and those are part of the kernel. You can play audio just fine without using alsamixer or Pulseaudio running.
    – dirkt
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 10:53
  • someone told me to make a correction to my question. I dont want to be able to switch between different output devices but rather different jacks (connected to the same output device). Apparently each sound card is considered a single output device that plays audio through different hardware connected to different ports. What is the differencr between Alsa drivers and alsamixer?
    – Sbavert
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 10:57
  • alsamixer is a userspace program. As I wrote, the ALSA drivers are part of the Linux kernel. If Pulseaudio is running and you can install pavucontrol, you can change between different ports ("jacks") in the Output pane.
    – dirkt
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 4:07

1 Answer 1


To make it possible to switch between speakers and headphones, follow these steps:

  1. Run alsamixer.
  2. If necessary, select your sound card with F6.
  3. Navigate to "Auto-Mute" with the right arrow .
  4. Disable it with the down arrow .
  5. Press Esc to exit.

Or you can do all these steps with one command:

  1. Open terminal
  2. run
    amixer -c 1 set 'Auto-Mute Mode' Disabled

According to what I understood, maybe this will help.

Doing this prevents automatically switching between speakers and headphones and you can choose which one to use by yourself.

Now you can change between speakers and headphones in the PulseAudio Volume Control.

After applying these instructions you can make your life easier by using Sound Switcher Indicator to quickly switch between headphones and speakers.

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