I am trying to connect microphone to my early 2011 17" MacBook Pro, but I cant get it working. MBP 17" has 2 audio jacks so I supposed the second one is for microphone but just doesnt work (Mac or Windows) and I gotta use USB audio card shipped with my headset.

Am I doing something wrong or the other jack is not supposed for audio input with classic 3.5mm microphone jack?

EDIT: I of course selected the Line-In device in preferences. The bar under device list wasn`t doing anything while I was talking, but when I was moving with the cable it blinked (I guess because I created some noise by moving the cable).

4 Answers 4


Actually, if you plug in an TRRS plug (the one with three rings on it) into the headphone jack, your Sound menu will switch from "internal mic" to "external mic" and you don't need a powered headset. So if you have a headset with two plugs, you'll need a combiner Y-adapter for that. They're about $4.

Edit: the TRRS plugs come on headsets like the iPhone headset as well. Those work fine.

  • What should I put into Google to find one of those?
    – Beetle
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 14:10
  • The magic words appear to be "headset splitter".
    – Beetle
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 14:15

Mac laptops have not supported a non-powered microphone input for years.
The input you see is a "line-in" input that requires more input signal level than a passive (non-powered) microphone can deliver.

You will need an additional pre-amp or active mic (a microphone with phantom power will suffice).

  • Thank you. However I'd like to know why is that? Why dont they support non-powered mics? I just dont get it, every headphones has one. Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 0:19
  • @ZdeněkTopič Generally, a Line-In port is more flexible than a traditional Mic port for pro-audio uses. However, many of the newer Macs will support Apple's iPhone headset's microphone via the headphone port and therefore will also support IK Multimedia's iRig Mic.
    – harpermd
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 16:40

If you microphone has a physical mute switch, this can confound the Mac a bit. If you leave it muted, it seems either the port or the OS eventually decide there is no mic there and switch back to the internal/built-in mic.

When this happens, the only actions that work for me to get the mic recognized again are to:

  1. Open the mute switch
  2. Unplug from the port
  3. Plug back in again

I recently had a similar problem. I was plugging in a 3 ring (TRRS) iRig2 guitar device into my 2012 MBP. This model has both headphone and line in jacks. I wrestled with it for days but finally figured out that plugging the iRig into the headphone jack worked. As soon as I plugged it in, my sound preferences pane changed to show an external mic as a new input.

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