Since this morning I am unable to record my voice on my Macbook Air 2012 internal microphone but the microphone can hear me touching the keyboard, the Macbook case…

I tried to tweak system preferences, enabling/disabling noise ambient reduction and so on without success. Tried to reboot a couple of times with no luck.

Any idea on what should I try next?

I’m on Mountain Lion (10.8.3).

Screen is


  • could you please provide a screenshot of your mic preferences?
    – cyphorious
    Apr 30, 2013 at 11:22
  • @cyphorious Sure, there it is: cl.ly/image/1z0y2Z2v1Z07 Apr 30, 2013 at 11:35
  • Hm. Interesting. One more thing you could try to to find the actual problem. Plugin some external headphones with an microphone to your Mac (e.g. the type of headphones that comes with your iPhone or other smart phones). When plugged in the prefs should change from internal to external microphone. Then try to record your voice again. If this is working you might have an hardware failure on the internal mic.
    – cyphorious
    Apr 30, 2013 at 11:46
  • 1
    It works well with my earphones indeed. Hardware failure really? Strange that it still records me typing on the keyboard. Apr 30, 2013 at 11:50
  • 1
    I solved the issue by going to dictation & speech and changing automatic to default microphone (a guy came up with this in an answer). This makes no sense, but it works…
    – alexpirine
    Sep 23, 2016 at 19:25

9 Answers 9


Go to system preferences, open Dictation & Speech. Under dictation, change default microphone to Internal Microphone if it is Automatic. If not, switch it to Automatic for a second and switch back to Internal Microphone. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it works.

  • 1
    This worked for me. MAGIC!
    – alexpirine
    Sep 23, 2016 at 19:23
  • just had this with catalina
    – minusf
    Mar 12, 2020 at 13:47

my microphone is working on the side from your laptop use a needle to pinch and clean out the hole from the microphone

  • 1
    Be careful when inserting objects inside the mic hole as there usually is a membrane that protects it from dust. Jun 25, 2015 at 0:42
  • 1
    I had the same problem and using compressed air and needle (while it doesn't go through hole) fixed this issue.
    – AlexD
    Jul 3, 2015 at 14:31
  • 1
    Came here to say I was strongly skeptical but this seemed to resolve my issue right away. Same symptoms, keyboard clicks register on but no audio. Sorry for doubting you. Dec 25, 2015 at 2:13

At the moment, my best guess is that the microphone has become dislodged from its spot in the side of the case and is now just sort of floating around inside. This would explain why it picks up all the taps and noises on the case but doesn't pick up anything else well.


Use a toothbrush and an up-and-down motion to clean the port. The microphone port on a Macbook air has incredibly narrow holes. A thin needle will only clear surface debris if that is what's causing the blockage..

Here's an instructional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aWpC8N8W08

  • this is it! simplest
    – watsonic
    Jun 8, 2017 at 6:13

My Macbook Air suddenly stopped hearing me except for Dictation - no sound registered in the Sound app. I opened dictation as suggested above and magically the mic works on other apps such as OneNote. Close dictation and it stops. Makes no sense, but at least I can communicate.


2019 Possible Update

I ran into this issue on my iMac Pro. The sound input wasn't registering my voice at all, however tapping on the iMac moved the input bar.

To fix on Mojave, I went to System Prefs -> Accessibility -> Dictation in the left menu -> Open Dictation Preferences. On the left side under the microphone picture, change it from Automatic to your internal microphone. Close, go back to Sound -> Input, and you should see the needle move.

What I'm running into now that as soon as I leave System Preferences, the mic stops working again. Really annoying, but this should help people narrow down whether the issue is in your hardware or software.


I had what sounds like the same problem and somehow either updating to the latest software (yosemite as of now) and/or opening up dictation and speech has fixed it for now. I have no idea why. But if anyone else has this problem you might as well try it if you haven't already.

I was on skype with a friend, hung up, went to go do something else without moving my laptop at all, and then when I tried calling him again when I got back he couldn't hear me at all. I went to sound under settings first and it couldn't pick up my voice at all even though input volume was on full blast, but it could pick up if i tapped the mic with my finger. So I looked around the internet and did an smc restart, messed with terminal, messed with audio midi setup, made sure nothing was on mute. I didn't have any other mics to select other than the default so I couldn't switch that around. Finally I decided to try the free upgrade to yosemite. At first it still didn't work but then I randomly opened up speech and dictation under settings and it was all working perfectly again and I could talk on skype. BUT when I opened up sound prefs again it stopped working. Opened up speech and it was working again. Perhaps somehow those two panels turn something off and on? Very strange. Anyway I hope this isn't too incoherent as my coffee still hasn't kicked in yet but I hope this helps someone and maybe someone knows why this could work.


2/10/16 I had the same problem. The mic on my macbook air stopped registering sound, but the mic test sites registered key tapping. Thanks to the advice here, my husband poked into the holes with a pin, using a light and magnifying glass. Then he used a solder sucker to pull out the dust or whatever. It works like a small vacuum. It worked perfectly, without having to take anything apart! Thanks for the help. I hope my comment helps someone else.


Could it be that the microphone is loose somehow? it could be that when you tough the case the microphone shifts a little bit and you can hear the sound when you touch the case.

  • That's only output volume
    – Alexander
    Aug 10, 2014 at 18:25
  • Well that means it's muted. So uncheck the box and you'll be able to hear your mic Aug 10, 2014 at 19:20
  • No... It has nothing to do with input. Thats just a mute for volume out.
    – Alexander
    Aug 10, 2014 at 19:33
  • Okay Nevermind then... Aug 10, 2014 at 19:46

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