Trying to talk into the microphone on your Mac only to find that it is not working?
The Mac is a great desktop/laptop and is easily one of the most recognizable and iconic series of computers around the world. However, as Apple users, we can all agree that there are some things that just randomly malfunction.
Having a working microphone is perhaps one of the most underrated features a laptop can have. Things like this, we don’t miss till it stops functioning. Luckily, fixing your microphone should be one of the easier things you can fix on your mac.
We’ve compiled a list of general, specific, and helpful solutions from all over the internet to help fix your microphone issue. With these methods, any problems your microphone is experiencing should finally be fixed.
Let’s get started!
- 1. General Troubleshooting.
- 2. Check Your Application’s Permissions.
- 3. Adjust Microphone Input Volume And Disable Ambient Noise Reduction.
- 4. Increase Your Application’s Input Level.
- 5. Reset Permissions Through Terminal.
- 6. Enable Dictation Mode.
- 7. Reset Your Mac’s PRAM and NVRAM.
- 8. Test a New User Account.
1. General Troubleshooting.
First off, let’s start by troubleshooting your problem. This will save you time by locating the problem quickly, so you won’t have to fiddle through other methods.
Are you having problems with the built-in microphone on your Mac? If so, try plugging in a headset or connecting a Bluetooth earphone to your device. If the headset and Bluetooth earphone works, then perhaps your built-in microphone might have a problem. This is usually related to a hardware problem and can only be fixed by a capable electrician or at a nearby Apple Store.
If you find that the Bluetooth earphone works, but your plugged-in headset does not then the audio port of your Mac might be the problem. If this is the case then, just like the built-in microphone, you might want to get your audio port examined.
If you’ve already been testing with a headset since the beginning, try plugging in a different one. This will eliminate the possibility of your first headset being dysfunctional. If the issue persists on all peripherals (plugged-in and Bluetooth), then we can conclude your issue must come from a software problem. Go ahead and proceed to the methods below so we can try and fix your microphone issue.
2. Check Your Application’s Permissions.
The applications you’re using require access to your microphone. The lack of sound on your end might come from the application’s inability to use your microphone. However, before proceeding, check if your microphone works on other applications like Messenger, Telegram, Discord, etc.
If your microphone doesn’t work on all your applications, including the default ones, then perhaps you can skip this step as the problem may originate from a different reason. However, you can always double-check your permission settings to be sure.
Here’s how you can check your application’s microphone permissions:
- First, click on the Apple logo located at the top-left side of your screen and open System Preferences.
- Now, select Security and Privacy.
- After that, on the left pane, click on the Microphone. You should see all the applications which can be granted access to your microphone on your right side.
- Finally, check and uncheck the applications according to your judgment. This will grant and remove their access to your microphone.
Quickly restart your application and check if the issue has been solved. If the application you were using was not granted permission to your microphone, then this should have fixed your problem immediately.
3. Adjust Microphone Input Volume And Disable Ambient Noise Reduction.
Next, we’ll check the default settings of your microphone. The input volume of your device might be too low, or a feature called ‘Ambient Noise Reduction’ is probably on. If your input volume is too low, then the sound from your microphone will automatically be reduced.
Apple included the ‘Ambient Noise Reduction’ feature to remove any background or non-organic noise like your electric fan, aircon, leaves rustling, and so on. This feature can come in handy but if it malfunctions there is a chance that your voice will also be omitted from the microphone.
Here’s how you can adjust the microphone input volume and disable ambient noise reduction:
- Go ahead and open up System Preferences and then navigate to Sound.
- Now, select Input from the top bar and proceed to Internal Microphone.
- Next, drag the input volume towards the right side to increase your volume.
- After that, disable Use ambient noise reduction by unchecking on its respective box. Feel free to repeat this step and apply it across all your microphones.
- Finally, click on Save changes and exit.
Test your microphone to see if it is working like normal. Open up a Messenger or Discord call, for example, to check.
4. Increase Your Application’s Input Level.
Even though the application you’re using has direct access to your microphone, if the input level is low, then your voice will struggle to be heard. A lot of applications offer the option of changing the input level of your voice, which is responsible for the volume of your microphone.
Just like the default input level in the method above, the application you’re using should have an input level bar somewhere in the settings.
Although we can’t provide all the steps for every application that accesses your microphone, generally you navigate to that setting by going to Settings > Audio > Voice.
5. Reset Permissions Through Terminal.
Although your application might already have permission to use your microphone, there is a chance that the permission may have bugged. Doing a hard reset on these permissions is probably your best bet if this is the case.
Fortunately, Apple programmed a Terminal command that allows you to reset all permission in regards to your microphone. This will disallow all applications that currently have access to your microphone and will require them to ask you for permission once again.
Here’s how you can reset your microphone’s permissions through the Terminal:
- First, go to the Utilities folder and open the Terminal app.
- Now, type in ‘rm -rf ~/Library/Application\ Support/com.apple.TCC’ and press Enter.
- If this didn’t work, then you may have to add ‘sudo’ at the beginning of the command.
- Finally, you will be asked for your credentials, fill this in. After the process, go ahead and restart your Mac.
Any applications that use your microphone should ask you for permission as you open them. This will reset any software problems between your microphone and your applications.
6. Enable Dictation Mode.
A feature that’s often disregarded by its users is ‘Dictation mode’. This allows you to translate your voice into digital words, essentially typing through your voice. Often used by corporate offices, ‘Dictation mode’ is especially useful when you want to record your conversations or meetings through text.
Enabling ‘Dictation mode’ on your Mac will give it instructions to download specific drivers and programs to help it record your voice easier. We’ve found that these drivers can sometimes fix any existing microphone issues, like the one you’re probably experiencing.
Here’s how you can enable ‘Dictation mode’ on your Mac.
- Go ahead and open System Preferences and select the Keyboard.
- Now, click on Dictation located at the top edge of the window.
- Next, enable the feature by switching it On and checking the Use Enhanced Dictation option.
- After that, go ahead and click on Save changes. Your Mac will automatically download and install the needed drivers.
- Finally, when the drivers are installed, go exit the window and restart your Mac.
After your Mac has been restarted, try to test your microphone to see if the issue has been resolved. If the problem persists, go ahead and proceed to the methods below.
7. Reset Your Mac’s PRAM and NVRAM.
Your Mac stores a lot of settings in the PRAM (Parameter RAM) and NVRAM (Non-volatile RAM).
These dedicated blocks of memory remember all your preferences and settings that are dedicated to your user. Because Macs support multiple user accounts, which have different preferences, the PRAM and NVRAM is how your computer preserves your settings.
In this method, we will teach you how to reset your PRAM and NVRAM. This will clear all your preferences, so after your computer restarts, you will have to manually restore your settings back to how you preferred them. There are two ways you can do this, as different iOS and Mac models will operate differently.
Here’s how you can restart your PRAM settings:
- First, start by shutting down your computer. Once it’s off, press the Power button and as soon as you hear the startup sound, hold down the Command, Option, P, and R keys simultaneously. While you’re holding the keys down your Mac should restart.
- Once you hear the startup sound again, you can let go of your keys. If you didn’t hear the startup sound, that’s okay as well. Continuously hold down the four keys for 20 seconds. Your PRAM and NVRAM should finally be reset.
After this method, you will have to head to your settings and reconfigure your settings back to how you preferred them. Try and test your microphone. If the problem still hasn’t been resolved, you can proceed to the final method below.
8. Test a New User Account.
This is the most time-consuming method on this list. If you’re completely out of hope and have exhausted all your options, you can try opening a new user account and testing your microphone there.
Creating a new user account will generate a fresh iOS user experience that should have zero errors and bugs. Hopefully, in this environment, your microphone will function as intended and finally work.
Here’s how you can open a new user account to test your microphone:
- Go ahead and open System Preferences and then navigate to Users & Groups.
- Now, click on the + button located at the bottom-left side of your screen. A prompt will open asking for your details, fill this in and click on Create User.
- Finally, Log off of your account and restart your Mac. Once your Mac has powered on, log into your new account and test for the problem there.
If the issue is fixed there, you will most likely have to transfer all your files to your new user account and use that account instead. However, if you only rarely use your microphone, you can always just continually switch between accounts whenever needed. This shouldn’t take too long and will save you the initial time of transferring all your files and programs until further notice.
After the general troubleshooting, if you’ve found that your microphone is disabled on all three types of input (built-in microphone, audio jack earphones, and Bluetooth earphones), then this should not be a hardware issue.
However, if the sound module on your Mac’s motherboard is compromised, this could explain the complete absence of sound from your microphones. We suggest that you have it checked by a capable electrician or at an Apple Store near you.
It’s also worth checking if you qualify for any warranties regarding your device, which should help discount the repairs or completely replace your Mac. If you wish to consult with Apple first before proceeding with inspection, you may refer to our in-depth guide here on how to reach out to Apple’s online live chat support team.
That brings us to the end of this article. We hope that this guide helped provide solutions that helped fix your ‘Mac microphone not working’ error. If you have other questions related to this article or if you came across another alternative solution, feel free to share it below.
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