Does The Mac Mini have optical audio out?

You are here:
Estimated reading time: 3 min

When connecting sound systems, a mac mini is often used in most homes for configurations because of its size since it makes it possible for it to seamlessly blend in with the rest of the audio equipment. But, does this have optical audio out?

As a general guide, all Mac Mini computers do not have optical audio out. The older Mac mini used to have optical audio out until 2016 when Apple began phasing optical audio ports for USB-C ports and HDMI. The latest Mac minis, therefore, do not feature optical audio out without the use of the 3.5mm connector.

Therefore, if you wish to get optical audio signals on the Mac mini, the 3.5mm port is used. For you to get the optical audio signals, you will have to invest in an optical audio cable, particularly the mini Toslink cable that delivers optical audio signals.


You may now use your mini to playback optical audio sound to your audio speakers using the standard mini-plug (3.5 mm connector).


Connecting Audio on Mac mini


There are two options available to you, you can get digital signals as well as analog signals. For anyone that is using the mac mini for a surround sound system, the most desired signal is the digital audio signal. This is because the analog does not provide you with surround sound


However, the 3.5mm output port that is located on the Mac Mini is capable of outputting both analog signals as well as digital optical signals. The signals that are outputted will be dependent on the kind of cable that has been attached to the port.

 If you attach a mini Toslink cable, you will get optical audio signals. Many Toslink to Mini Toslink cables makes it possible for you to connect the mac mini to any surround system through the use of an optical-in connector on the receiver, which is available on most modern receivers.


IF you do not have a surround sound system, it is recommended that you utilize the regular audio output, You can do this by connecting the audio out to the television with a matching input through the use of a mini-jack to RC adapter to complete the connection. You may have to consult your TV’s handbook to find the proper input.


What is the procedure for using the optical on a Mac?

It is almost universally accepted that all Macs create a digital audio stream capable of producing anything from high-quality stereo sound to 5.1 channel sounds. Any audio signals on the Mac mini may be transmitted via your main sound system if you use the proper connection and software.

To get optical audion on the Mac mini, you should have the following: 


A receiver for home theater or an amplifier and preamplifier combination.

It is necessary to have a Toslink Cable that is long enough just to connect your Mac Mini to your receiver.


You should also make sure to have a Toslink mini adapter. Once everything is ready, you can begin connecting by following the steps below. 


The Adaptor should be plugged into the 3.5mm jack on your mac mini

The Mini Adapter may be connected to one end of the Toslink cable.

Connect one end of the Toslink cable to the optical audio connection or pre-amplifier, and turn on your system.


Don’t be alarmed if you hear nothing. It is necessary to double-check that everything has been properly connected. Check to verify that the receiver is configured correctly. Making a mistake here is easy. Take a moment to double-check that your receiver is set to the correct channel. In addition, be certain that the mute button is not activated or that the volume is not turned down.


Playing music or watching a movie on the Mac mini results in digitized signals being conveyed to your Mac’s 3.5mm port. The encoded data then travels via a mini adapter and along the long fiber-optic Toslink cable until it reaches the destination.


Toslink port on the home entertainment receivers allows the encoded signals to in and the receiver is responsible for decoding the signal. The decoded signal is then played back via 2 to 5.1 speakers on the home entertainment receiver’s audio output.



As a general rule, all recent Mac minis lack optical audio out and require the 3.5mm connector. As a result, the 3.5mm port is used to connect optical audio signals to the Mac mini. To receive optical audio signals, you must purchase an optical audio cable, preferably a mini Toslink cable.

Almost all contemporary Mini macs that came out before 2016 are equipped with optical audio while those that came after that use the 3.5mm jack that can output digital or optical audio signs. The connection is a small TOSLINK connector. It’s important to note that the 3.5mm jack may be used for conventional analog input or output too. 

Was this article helpful?
Dislike 0
Views: 210