Here, it says how to use the audio jack as in input. On my MacBook Pro 13" (mid 2012), It doesn't seem to have the option in settings. Is it not possible with these computers?

sound input preferences

  • it is plugged in !!
    – Skyler 440
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 21:22
  • It is not, since our system does not recognize it and thus does not display the option for it. Do you have another mic, one with power source build in.
    – Ruskes
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 21:52
  • Perhaps @Buscar웃 was trying to ask you to describe what you have plugged into your Audio in port. Is it a male to male metal stereo TRS jack or perhaps a mono jack or even a TOSlink optical jack? We can presume you have more details about your setup, but as written, we can only guess what your real problem is.
    – bmike
    Commented May 4, 2013 at 18:51
  • I had a mono Mic plugged in
    – Skyler 440
    Commented May 5, 2013 at 13:24

8 Answers 8


All PowerBook and MacBook models support analog audio in via the headphone jack.

In your specific case, it is possible to use external microphone on MacBook pro and Air 2012 Models.

It looks like Apple has redesigned it to be a multifunction plug, without telling us in plain English. What they do say is you can use the Apple iPhone headset with microphone! Now that is a Hint !

enter image description here

Since there are multiple options to connect a microphone lets take a look.

1 - For stand alone microphone with cable you could use a USB connector type or Audio to USB converter.

2- You could use a BlueTooth type microphone/Headset.

3 - And last not least, you could actually use your Headphone (as marked) the 1/8 inch plug, but NOT with standard audio plug.

Here is the how: The plug is like the headphone port on iOS devices, this jack supports audio input as well as output—with as described in Apple specification.

Looking under the hood of Apple "About this Mac" you get the answer (it says it does support it).

enter image description here

The microphone or headset in question must be of the three-ring variety, just like Apple’s headsets. The fourth pin (ring) is for the microphone !

enter image description here

OK, what now? Lets assume you insist on using your microphone!!!

Get the 3.5mm 4 Position to 2x 3 Position 3.5mm Headset Splitter Adapter - M/F

enter image description here

... this headset splitter adapter breaks the audio port out into two distinct ports - one that can be used for a microphone input connection, and the other for connecting external (output) speakers.

I found stores in Europe (for about €10), but sure you can find it where you are.

  • 3
    Now that's what I call hitting it out of the ball park! Not only will this help the asker determine what might be going wrong, but others can surely learn how the hardware is designed.
    – bmike
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 13:18
  • 11
    It's also important to note that the mic must be switched on before you plug it in or the detection hardware won't recognise it. Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 8:17
  • 2
    Worth noting that unpowered mics (like my call recorder mic) don't seem to work at all this way.
    – aendra
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 12:07
  • 1
    @mike_k: I was having the same problem. It turns out not all mics are equal. For me, I need to first plug it in with a mic it likes (and headphones, both connected to the splitter before connecting to the laptop), and then (while leaving the splitter in the laptop) switch to the mic I actually want to use. This is a clear case where Apple was trying to make things "just work" (in this case, auto-choosing internal speakers vs. headphones, and internal mic vs. headphone mic), but their design in this case is a disaster for more advanced use cases, requiring arcane plugging/unplugging protocols.
    – Matt
    Commented May 7, 2020 at 12:42
  • 1
    Note that not all TRRS-to-TRS splitters work with all Apple devices; I bought a weird one that works with iPhone but not iMac. Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 9:01

I post my solution hoping it can help someone.

I've have a MBP mid-12 13in, with the so-problematic unique audio jack. I'me sure that external&internal usage is possible because of the iphone headset test.

So I bought the TRRS cable, and my first tests fails: I got an external audio detected, but no luck with the internal line.

Then, I found an amazon comment about the cable, solved:

  • First, connect your external and internal lines to the Y cable
  • Second, connect the Y cable to the MB
  • It should take a couple of seconds to be recognised as an external mic

When I trying it fails again. But I've found the trick:

  • The internal line must be a microphone
  • So after being detected by the MB as an external mic, you can unplug the mic and connect anything else (an iphone)
  • Note: I've can only testing with a cheap non-powered computer mic

The Griffin iMic is probably the most commonly touted solution for this "new" problem. This way you can monitor through the headphone jack, and the USB headphone jack also....I would assume. Maybe it's one or the other, however.

Either way the digital solution may improve signal quality also. There are other cheaper versions of the iMic but it seems Griffin was like "Hey Apple, want to make a computer that's missing stuff so we can make some more money?"


If the link breaks just look up griffin iMic. It appears B&H currently sells it for $23.78

I've also seen similar products via https://www.google.com/#q=usb+to+3.5mm

I hope this helps with the "no line-in" problem on the 13" MacBooks and the new 27" iMacs. As well as the "My line-in doesn't recognize my mic" problem.

Alternatively try that 3.5mm 4 Position to 2x 3 Position 3.5mm Headset Splitter Adapter - M/F that Buscar mentioned above.


Yes, it seems the option is missing from your settings: this is what that preference panel looks like on my machine (13-inch, Mid 2009) (with nothing plugged into the audio port):

Sound Input pref pane

Unfortunately it looks like audio input isn't implemented on your model :(

The tech specs for MacBook Pro (13-inch and 15-inch, Mid 2012) have the following for the 13-inch:

  • Headphone port
    • Support for Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphone
    • Support for audio line out (digital/analog)

... it doesn't mention audio line in (which it does for the 15-inch).

Sorry for the bad news. One workaround is to buy an audio input device which plugs into USB.


You can connect an external mic only if it has 4 pins on the 3.5mm jack. The MBP Mid 2012 takes some time to recognise the mic so just wait a little bit. You should see 'external mic' appear in System Preferences>Sound>Input If your jack does not have 4 pins, i think that you can use a 3.5mm female to 3.5mm male 4 pins converter... But the 4 pins are very important to make it work. Hope it helps


My mid-2012 MacBook Pro ("MBP") does NOT have a port labeled for microphone, but it DOES have a 3.5mm (1/8") port labeled with a Headphone (not headset) icon.

When I plug a microphone's 3.5mm TSR plug (TWO black stripes alternating with THREE shiny metal bands) into that headphone port, the MBP does not recognize or receive the microphone's signal/audio.

BUT, when I plug in a headset (combined speaker and microphone) that has a 3.5mm male TSSR plug (THREE black stripes alternating with FOUR shiny metal bands), the MBP DOES recognize and receive the microphone's signal/audio.

I have ordered a splitter (analog, known as "auxiliary" and "audio" splitter), that has one 3.5mm male TSSR plug on one end, and 2 female 3.5 female ports (unknown if TSR or TSSR) on the other end. Supposedly, one female port will provide microphone input, and the other female port will provide headphone/speaker output. From everything I've read and researched, I'm pretty sure this will be what's needed to get microphone in and audio out from the one "headphone" labeled 3.5mm port on the MBP.

I'll try to remember to come back here to update once we get that splitter (http://www.dukabel.com/product_D1M2FFL30.php), to let you know if it works :-)

Also, in the meantime, we are achieving microphone input into the MBP using an old Griffin "iMic" USB microphone adapter. Griffin doesn't make it anymore (due to incompatibilities with new 64-bit computers, they told me on the phone a couple days ago), but it works great for the mid-2012 MBP we have right now :-)


You can use a Playstation 2 singstar microphone USB converter (3€) on any macbook pro


Try removing the soundflower driver.

  • 2
    soundflower is a third party audio driver, it may be disabling the audio port's ability to receive input.
    – zac
    Commented May 5, 2013 at 20:46
  • soundflower is not made by Apple.
    – zac
    Commented May 5, 2013 at 21:04
  • so why would apple put a non apple approved software on they product that inhibits users from using external microphone?
    – Ruskes
    Commented May 5, 2013 at 21:12
  • 1
    Apple did not, sunflower is a driver for a USB audio device. This would have been installed after the initial OS install.
    – zac
    Commented May 5, 2013 at 21:19
  • 2
    I re-read Ashley's response and I don't see what you are referencing. Ashley's screen shot is showing the expected results of looking at the Sound preference pane with the drop down menu for switching between using the port for input/output and there is no sound flower driver.
    – zac
    Commented May 5, 2013 at 21:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .