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How do I find out whether the 3.5mm audio jack on the side of my MacBook Pro (2.9 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, early 2015) allows audio input from a headset microphone. (I need a headset for Zoom).

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In answering the more general question on headsets that will work on your MacBook Pro with Zoom I suggest considering Bluetooth and USB headsets in addition to headsets that connect by a TRRS 1/8" phone jack.

USB and Bluetooth headsets will be "future proof" since the TRRS phone jack is disappearing from new hardware. Another "future proof" option is Apple's USB-C adapter to go with any headset that uses the TRRS 1/8" phone jack. https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MU7E2AM/A/usb-c-to-35-mm-headphone-jack-adapter

Apple produced this USB-C adapter for their iPad Pro but it works on many other devices, including those not made by Apple.

I don't want to talk you out of a headset with a 1/8" phone jack. I just want you to know that if you can't find a headset with a phone jack that fits your needs then there's USB and Bluetooth headsets as options.

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  • Thanks that's a very helpful point. I suppose I'll be paying more to get the same phone jack quality audio with USB or bluetooth...? – Dan Feb 20 at 0:20
  • @Dan I have seen computers, not from Apple (yet, in my recollection), that put bothersome noise on an analog 1/8" headset output. The noise appeared to come from a mouse or drive as the noise will come and go with mouse movement or drive access. Using USB or Bluetooth isolated the headset from this noise. The DAC, ADC, and amplifiers used in a USB and Bluetooth headset will be likely identical to that used in a computer. Barring some shielding problem from an internal component like I found in a handful of instances there will be no difference in audio quality by using the 1/8" jack. – MacGuffin Feb 20 at 3:49
  • @Dan Getting a TRRS headset may or may not be cheaper than a USB or Bluetooth headset. There's all kinds of parts that make up a headset, and the connection to the computer will be but a small part of it, and may come to nothing noticeable in price by the consumer because of things like economy of scale. Don't assume TRRS headsets will be cheaper, or offer better audio quality. Consider long term costs as well. One headset that works on two devices is cheaper than two headsets for two devices. You have only one head (I assume) and may have only a MacBook now, but may have an iPad later. – MacGuffin Feb 20 at 4:23
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All PowerBook and MacBook models support TRRS style audio input. Check with the vendor of your headset if you want to use any buttons or volume control if you have questions. Apple branded headphones work well, as do many third party options.

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  • I agree with @bmike to check with the vendor that your MacBook model is supported before you buy and not simply look for a TRRS connector. There's two common standards for wiring a TRRS plug, and a half dozen less common standards: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phone_connector_(audio)#TRRS_standards I would suggest considering a USB headset. USB headsets are widely supported on Apple and Android phones, Windows, Linux, and Mac computers, and many other consumer electronics. Alternatively consider getting Apple's USB-C to TRRS adapter to allow this headset use on things besides a MacBook. – MacGuffin Feb 19 at 0:25
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Yes, it does support a combination of headphones and mic input on that jack (limited to Apple's spec) as indicated by the specs here: https://support.apple.com/kb/sp719

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    The answer would be more accurate if it noted that while microphone input is accepted, such input is apparently limited to Apple's specification. The actual language on the Apple page cited is Support for Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphone. – DavidSupportsMonica Feb 18 at 16:27
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    Added, thanks for the comment. – Didi Kohen Feb 18 at 17:31
  • Very good. Upvoted. – DavidSupportsMonica Feb 18 at 17:42
  • And I just discovered that the Apple spec works with any TRRS-type (3-ring) microphone plug. See this: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/55851/… – DavidSupportsMonica Feb 18 at 17:44

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