If you need to switch between speakers, headphones, headsets, or other audio output devices in Windows 11, you have a great option to use Windows 11 itself and its Settings and a shortcut on the taskbar.
How to choose a sound output device via Settings
There wouldn’t be a problem changing speakers through Windows Settings. To do so follow these steps:
- Right-click the speaker icon in your taskbar. In the menu that pops up, select “Open Sound Settings” (As a alternative way, you can press Windows+I to open Settings, then navigate to System > Sound)
- After that, the Windows Settings app will open automatically to the “Sound” settings page. In the top section you will see “Output” tab, find the menu labeled “Choose where to play a sound” and expand it if necessary by clicking it once
- There will be a list below of all the audio output devices Windows 11 has recognized. Select the circle button beside the device you’d prefer to use as your audio output
And that is how you select a proper device. Then simply close the Settings window, and you’re good to go. In the same way, you can change your audio device at any time.
How to choose a sound output device via the Taskbar
You can also quickly switch speakers from the Windows 11 taskbar. To start changes use this guide:
- Open the Quick Settings menu by clicking the hidden button around the speaker icon in the lower-right corner of the taskbar
- When the Quick Settings menu opens, click the sideways arrow (caret) beside the volume slider
- When you see a list of audio output devices, click the one you’d like to use
Once you are done, click anywhere outside the Quick Settings menu to close it. You will still be able to switch between speakers at any time again by using the Quick Settings menu at any time.
How to switch audio devices through Windows 11’s Taskbar
If you often work with audio devices on Windows 11 and need to quickly switch between headphones, speakers, or other sound devices, there is a good method that is not immediately visible on the taskbar. The method is very convenient and you can see a guide on how to do it:
- First things first, click the speaker icon on the far right side of the taskbar. You will find it just to the left of the date and time
- When you click the speaker icon, the Quick Settings menu will appear. In case your volume slider is still visible, click the “>” arrow just to the right of the slider. However, if you cant find it, you’ll have to click the pencil icon, then “Add,” and select “Volume” from the list
- Once you have clicked the arrow beside the volume slider, a list for available audio devices will take over the Quick Settings menu. Simply choose the audio device you’d prefer to use in the list by clicking it
The Quick Settings menu is very handy if you need to dig into more detailed audio settings in Windows 11. Just click the arrow beside the volume slider, and select “More Volume Settings” at the bottom of the menu
After that, the Settings app will open, navigating you automatically to System > Sound, where you are able to manage sound input and output options.
Note: Before you select an audio output device, make sure it is turned on and working fine. In addition, some output devices may not be listed if you connect a speaker or headphone to an existing one. For example, you are able to switch between the Bluetooth headphone and inbuilt speaker in a Windows 11 laptop. However, if you connect a wired headset to your laptop directly, the audio will only play through the headset until you decide to unplug.
Thus, through the Quick Settings menu, you can control your audio devices and organize your work.