Solve all problems with microphones on Mac — 2022

The microphone on Mac is essential to perform many daily tasks, such as making calls or summoning Siri. This, just like any other component, can end up failing. There can be various causes, either because it has not been configured correctly, because of a software error that prevents it from working properly and even because the microphone itself or the Mac is damaged. In this article we go over everything that needs to be done to correct this tedious problem.

Built-in microphone failure

All Macs have a built-in microphone on one side for basic audio recording. With this you can also give instructions to the voice assistant or make video calls without having to resort to other types of external microphones. This is an internal component of Macs and can end up breaking just like any other. There are several solutions that can be proposed to end up fixing it.

Check the audio inputs

The first thing you should do is check if the Mac itself detects the internal microphone that is failing and does not pick up any type of ambient sound. To perform this type of query, simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Go to the 'Sound' section.
  3. In the upper tabs choose the option ‘Input’.

internal microphone input mac macos

If the microphone is well connected to the computer board, it will be recognized on this screen as 'internal microphone' or 'integrated microphone'. In this way you will be making sure that the microphone is well connected internally and should work correctly. Although obviously in practice this does not mean that you end up recognizing the sounds. You must make sure that the bar of ' input volume ' is not to the left as this will mean that the gain is null and therefore it will not detect any type of sound.

At the bottom of this gain bar, you'll see the input level, which will initially appear completely gray if there are no sounds. If you start to speak and the microphone works correctly, it will move with dark gray tones. In this case the microphone is perfectly detected and picks up the ambient sound.

Is the repair covered by warranty?

If none of the above works for you, you should go to an Apple Store or an authorized technical service in order to carry out an exhaustive diagnosis of the microphone and if it records the audio correctly. In the event that it does not work, it is possible that they can repair it for free as long as the 2-year warranty is still in force. Of course, you must bear in mind that the failure must be due to a factory defect and in no case due to misuse of the device on your part.

Apple Store Alone

If your Mac is out of warranty or is found to be misused, you should pay the full repair. There is no official price list for the repair in these cases, since it depends on several factors such as the model and year of your Mac or the exact component that fails. It is not always the microphone that fails, as there may be something else on the board that is causing problems. Be that as it may, going with the team to have it checked by specialists will be the best option.

Problems with USB or Bluetooth microphones

It is a reality that the sound quality offered by the internal microphone of any Mac is not very good. When you want to record a podcast or participate in a video conference, it is quite a problem that you have to connect a USB or Bluetooth microphone to have better quality. These obviously can also fail, but not because of the microphone itself but because of the Mac.

Check the ports on your Mac and peripheral

The first thing you should do if you connect the microphone and it does not work is to resort to try all ports that the Mac has since it may be that one is causing problems or is simply blocked by a thread. Another obvious thing to keep in mind is to try other USB microphones since it may be a fault that is unrelated to the computer itself and is uniquely related to the accessory you have connected.

mac ports

You should also check the cable that goes from the microphone to the Mac. It is possible that both the ports of the Mac and that of the peripheral itself are in perfect condition and yet there is a cut in the cable that is sometimes not visible and is the cause of the connection being lost. Perhaps it is not the fastest and most comfortable, but if you do not have any other cable with which to test it, you could try to buy another one with the aim of testing it, although making sure that you can return it later if you verify that it is not that element that is causing problems. .

Check the Bluetooth settings on your Mac

In the event that the problem is with a Bluetooth headset that does not have any receiver connected to the ports, you will have to check the configuration of the Mac itself. We recommend that you first turn off and on the bluetooth connectivity of the computer to force it to search for them again. In the event that they do not work correctly for you, you should still restore the headphones (if possible) and pair them again. This way you will make the Mac forget them completely and force the settings as if they were brand new.

mac mini m1 bluetooth failure

If there is any suspicion that the microphone is defective

It is possible that you are going crazy trying to carry out all kinds of checks on the Mac and it turns out that it is the peripheral that is causing the problem, as we anticipated in another point of this article. For finish ruling out problems with the computer itself it is advisable that you try other external accessories. It is recommended that it be another microphone to solve it completely, but you can also try USB memory sticks, storage disks, speakers or any other element to check if they can be recognized in those cases.

It would also be recommended try the microphone on another computer , whether or not it is a Mac. If you finally end up ruling out any problem unrelated to the peripheral and all suspicions are in it, it is best to contact the seller or manufacturer of this accessory. Check if you still have a warranty and if so, carry out the steps indicated to make use of it and have the microphone repaired or in exchange they give you a replacement to solve the problem once and for all. .

Could the software be the cause?

As well optimized as macOS is, the truth is that it is not an operating system that is exempt from specific failures. There are different variants like temporary system version bug, errant background process or even some malicious file in the system. All these possibilities could affect both external microphones and the microphone that the Mac has, so regardless of whether it is failing, you can try the following tips.

Some applications do not recognize it

It is curious, but it may be that the microphone is working for you when you use some applications and yet not in others. Normally, in all the native apps that the Mac comes with, it should work when you have all the permissions active, although in others, however, you will have to give it authorization so that it can capture the audio. Normally a pop-up window appears when the app is opened for the first time requesting it, although if you do not remember giving permission you can check it in the following route:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Go to Security and Privacy.
  3. On the left, click on Microphone.
  4. Click on the padlock that appears at the bottom left and enter the Mac password.
  5. Check in the window on the right if the apps you want to use have the box activated and if not, activate them.

mac microphone

Wandering background processes

Even if you're not aware of it because you don't see any visual clues that it's happening, your Mac runs dozens of processes in the background that can cause some sort of system error. These can be of all kinds and, surprisingly enough, they also affect levels like these in which the microphone does not work correctly. For this reason, and although it sounds a bit like a silly solution, it is recommended that you restart the Mac.

There are two ways to do this process and both are effective. On the one hand, you can shut down the Mac normally through the Apple Menu> Shut down path, waiting several seconds for it to shut down completely and then turning the computer back on using the physical button. The other method is to make the computer restart automatically following the same path indicated previously, only this time by clicking on Restart.

reboot mac

If it is a software bug

When Apple launches a version considered large of the operating system, it is when there are usually more failures. Therefore, if you are on a first-time version of the operating system, it is more than likely that some of the errors that appear are due to it. However, there may be bugs that are not generalized and appear to few users, but they are no longer foreign to them. Therefore, a recommendation that we should always make in this regard is to have the Mac always updated to the latest version available .

Remember that to check this you must go to System Preferences> Software Update, finding here the most recent version ready for download and subsequent installation. If this route does not appear, you can try from the App Store, checking if an update notice appears on the left. If no update appears, you will have to be patient until a new one comes out, although you can always contact Apple to be informed if they are aware of this error.

macos 11.4

Format the operating system

Maybe this is the more abrupt solution faced with this problem, but it can also be the most effective to eliminate any software failure. It is about completely restoring the computer, deleting all the data stored on it. For this reason, it would be recommended that you previously make a manual backup of the data you want to save. If you have iCloud synchronization activated, you can always keep some of them safe, such as calendars, notes, photos or Safari bookmarks.

When performing a clean reinstallation, in most cases, this type of problem will be solved satisfactorily in the event that it was a process that was causing the microphone to not detect any type of sound. It is also possible to make a reset smc by simultaneously pressing the keys Control + Option + Shift plus the power button, when the computer is off.

macOS Utilities