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I have 5 iMac in my office. We use skype for conversation. I have used almost 5 different brand's headphone but headphone's external mic not work at all.

I have checked sound settings. In the sound settings under "Input" section, when I select "Line in" for my headphone the mic does not work. But when I select "internal microphone" it works.

The same headphones are working perfectly on windows system.

Does iMac require any special headphones?

  • Did you check the sound settings and input source selection in Preferences? – nohillside Apr 17 '13 at 6:03
  • Yes I have checked sound settings, In sound settings under "Input" section, when I select "Line in" for my headphone mic not work. But when I select "internal microphone" it works – Irfan DANISH Apr 17 '13 at 6:06
  • How is the headset connected to your Mac, via audio cables or via USB? – nohillside Apr 17 '13 at 6:13
  • Via audio cables, one for headphone and one for mic. – Irfan DANISH Apr 17 '13 at 6:14
  • Do you see it in Skype set up ? – Ruskes Apr 17 '13 at 6:36
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iMac line-in for Microphone is not powered!

Means you can not use a standard microphone.

It has to be one with power-source build in to the microphone.

In your case there are 3 choices.

Buy a line-in microphone with preamp.

Get a USB type Microphone (headset)

Cost reducing alternative: If you have a Bluetooth headset for your phone (which you should if you making phone calls in the car), you can use it it 2.

  • You don't have to use the line-in, you can use the TRRS headphone port instead. – speakr Feb 20 '14 at 16:11
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Apple's iMacs use a 4-pin TRRS headphone port which combine analog audio output and input and need a connector like this:

enter image description here

(© wikipedia, user Imaadwhd)

Just take an adapter like this, plug in your headphones and mic, and it should work. I just verified this with my 2010 iMac. Another report stating the same can be found here.

Unfortunately, Apple decided to not provide any documentation about that.


The same answer for a related question can be found here.

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