How to Use the Microphone and Microphone Settings on a Mac

how to use microphone settings on a mac computer macbook speaker audio adjustment

The number of Americans working from home skyrocketed by 42% in 2020. Though that number is slowly declining in 2021, there are still plenty of employees clocking in from their living room.

If you’re a remote employee, then you know that a well-functioning computer setup is key. The microphone and video settings on your device can help you communicate with teammates, customers, and managers alike.

Are you a Mac user struggling to understand how to access your microphone or use the microphone settings? We’re here to help. Today, we’re sharing how to access this important Macintosh computer feature and use it the right way. 

Know Where to Find Your Microphone

The first step is to find the microphone on your Mac. While this step sounds easy enough, it can be challenging due to the component’s tiny size. 

Mac microphones are actually built into the computer, so they’re not easy to distinguish. To add to the confusion, the exact placement may be different depending on the year of your model.

The microphone isn’t at the top near your camera, although that might be the first place you think to look. Rather, you’ll find it in the bottom casing of your laptop.

Look to the right and left of your Apple keyboard. Do you see those two columns of small dots? Those are the speakers.

If you’re using a 2019 or 2020 Mac, then the microphone is built into the bottom portion of the left speaker. If yours is newer, then the microphone will be on the same side but at the top, not the bottom.

Accessing the Microphone Settings

Now that you know where the microphone is located, let’s talk troubleshooting. Have you noticed that others can’t hear you in a video call? If so, then there may be an issue with your internal mic not working

If it’s physically broken, then you may need to take your computer to a repair specialist to correct the problem. Otherwise, there are a few settings you can check and adjustments you can make to optimize the sound.

Before you move forward, go ahead and close out any programs that might require use of your microphone. This includes any third-party apps or websites. 

Then, follow these steps to open your Mac microphone settings. 

Step 1: Open Your Sound Options

First, click on the Apple icon located in the top left corner of your home screen. Scroll to the second tab labeled System Preferences. You’ll find it right under the first tab labeled About This Mac.

Next, click on the Sound button, followed by the Input button.

This will reveal a full list of all of your connected microphones. Your internal microphone will be labeled with your computer name, and the designated device type will be Built-In. 

If you have any external microphones connected with a USB, then those will appear on this list, too. 

Step 2: Review the Current Settings

Once you’ve selected your built-in Mac microphone, the next step is to check the input level. Speak into your computer at a normal volume and notice how the Input Volume changes.

If it looks high, then this could mean that your microphone is too loud when you’re speaking to others. If it’s too low, then they may not be able to hear you. The same applies to the Output Volume.

Often, adjusting these levels will correct any problems you’re having with the mic. You can lower or raise the Input Volume until the level looks balanced. Move the slider to the right until the Input Level bars align at the halfway point.

You may need to restart your Mac to save all of the changes. 

Step 3: Disable Additional Microphones

Sometimes, users will connect an external microphone to their Mac using a USB cord. If you do not want this device to pick up on your voice while you use your built-in microphone, then start by following Steps 1 and 2 above. 

Select the microphones you want to adjust, and look at the Input Volume. Move the slider all the way to the left to eliminate the Input Level and essentially silence that device.

If you prefer to use your external microphone and you don’t want to use the built-in option, then perform those same steps in reverse.

Setting Sound Permissions

To make the most use of your Mac, you need to understand your microphone privacy settings. There are many apps and programs that require access to this feature. Usually, they’ll request access via a pop-up notification that you can either accept or deny.

Wondering how to set up a microphone for a particular program? Click the Apple icon on your Mac laptop and scroll to System Preferences again. Instead of the Sound button, click Security and Privacy.

Click Privacy, and then select Microphone on the lefthand menu. This will reveal a list of all the programs on your Mac that are using the microphone. If you want to change any of the settings, then click the lock icon on the lower left side of the screen. 

From here, you can add or delete programs depending on your preference. For instance, you may want to permit Zoom to use your microphone but prohibit Facebook. Select or check the programs that you want to use the mic, and deselect the ones that you do not want to use it. 

Keep in mind that allowing third-party apps to use your microphone means accepting their terms and privacy policies. Make sure you understand these fully before enabling permissions for your Macbook speakers. 

Optimize Your Mac Microphone Today

Your Apple computer microphone plays a major role in your connectivity and productivity. If it’s disabled or too low, then you might spin your wheels trying to figure out what’s going wrong with the audio settings. 

When you know how to access your Mac microphone settings, you’re one step closer to solving the mic problem. Now, you can make sure that everyone hears you loud and clear on your Macbook speakers!

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