Mysterious Chrome OS bug causes the right speakers of some Chromebooks to crack

Google markets Chromebooks as “easy to use” devices unlike any other laptop, all thanks to Chrome OS. While that may be true to some extent, Chromebooks sometimes suffer from the same set of issues that Windows and Mac computers also experience. One such bug that has been plaguing a few Chrome OS users for a while now is crackling sounds from the right speaker and poor audio output.

Since late January, there have been multiple reports from Chrome OS users tracking Google issues about hearing crackling sounds coming from their device’s right speaker during Zoom calls, watching videos on YouTube, or the broadcast of any sound. The bug is not hardware related as it affects Chromebooks from different manufacturers including those from Asus, Acer and Lenovo, both old and new. The crackling sound also doesn’t happen all the time, making it hard to pinpoint what’s causing it.


The issue appears to be a low-level audio driver issue, as the issue exclusively targets the right speaker of the affected devices. Since it seems to have started suddenly on different versions of Chrome OS, it’s hard to pinpoint which update is the culprit here.

Some Acer Spin 713 owners had the speaker replaced under warranty to no avail, assuming it was a hardware issue. Others have tried restarting or even resetting their Chromebook, but the problem persists. The crackle only occurs when playing audio from the device’s speaker and not via Bluetooth. A reboot seems to work temporarily, but the bug seems to reliably reappear after putting the device into sleep/sleep mode.

The good news is that Google has identified the possible cause of the problem, and the fix will be “passed to the next round of the M98 after more checks”. Until then, all you have to do is be a little patient.

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