Does anyone know of a way to use my macbook pro's internal microphone while using my Apple "Earpods" for sound? When I look at the Sound Prefpane without my earbuds in the internal mic option is there, but when I plug in my earbuds with microphone it goes away.

Is this intentional? Why does it just disappear? What's the point of even having a preferences if you cant choose which one you want to use?

  • 3
    If you hold down Option when you click on the Sound prefpane, you should be able to select different inputs and outputs. Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 20:56
  • This menu, as well as the Sound pane of the System Preferences, shows only shows 'Internal Microphone' when nothing is plugged in and only 'External Microphone' when one is plugged in. However, both connections are recognised in the System Report.
    – jimjamslam
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 13:16
  • You could try to wrap the microphone connection on the minijack in a thin strip of paper, so that it doesn't make contact when plugged in. It is a dirty solution, but it might just work
    – Brethil
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 11:47
  • This doesn't work for the same reason that you can't use the internal speakers when headphones are plugged in. See apple.stackexchange.com/q/6510/12285
    – Tuesday
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:51

6 Answers 6


Use any stereo 3.5mm to 3.5mm plug. Out that in your computer and the plug in the headphones to the adapter. The stereo adapter will not see the mic, so the computer will not see the mic.

You can get these 6 inches (15cm) long or so, maybe even shorter. If you want just an adapter without a cord, get a stereo splitter. Search for “headphone splitter” and you can find plenty under $5.


As long as you don't plug the earbuds in all the way, you can still use the built-in mic. The catch is that you'll only get audio in one ear of the earbuds.


Plugging in the Apple earbuds with the built in mic (the plug on the left) cuts out the Macbook's microphone. This is useful for things like Skype and other IP telephony, as well as for relatively hands-free use of the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 also has noise-cancellation which may be why the earbud mic sounds nasty when connected to the computer. You will need to plug in a normal 3-conductor set of earbuds/headphones, (the plug on the right,) to get the internal mic working.

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  • 1
    yes I am using the earbuds with microphone. the point is I want to use my earbuds but not the god damn mic because the mic is horrible and has tons of pop. Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 20:15
  • 1
    I've edited my original answer to encompass your enhanced description of the problem. Perhaps if you could describe what you are trying to do, somebody could provide more focused help. If you're trying to obtain clearer Skype or on-line gaming chat functionality, a USB headset is not only inexpensive but often astoundingly superlative to anything else.
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 21:45
  • 3
    I wanna use my iphone earbuds with my internal microphone.. that's just not allowed? Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 23:46

You should be able to bypass the headset mic and use the Mac's internal mic if you select internal mic (double click it to select it) on the sound input preference tab and then plug in your headset.

This troubleshooting procedure is detailed on apples website at: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH25716?locale=en_US&viewlocale=en_US

  • 9
    Nope. As soon as the headphones are plugged in, "Internal Microphone" disappears and "External Microphone" is highlighted as the only choice. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 8:45

Use a 3-connection 1/8" TRS extension cable.

There is no software option exposed to the user for this operation. However I regularly use the big-ass cozy Sony DJ headphones with my MacBook and the built in mic to take phone calls. This works because the MBA/MBP has a sensor for 4-connection TRS male connections and will disable the built in microphone. A simple 3-connection extension will work perfectly fine as a "4-connection to 3-connection adapter".

The shortest such cable I found on Amazon is 12". You can search for "YCS Basics 1 Foot 3.5mm Stereo Headphone Extension Cable".

  • Also if you wanted to know "how do I take Skype/Telephone calls on Mac with a headset and still keep system sounds through the main speaker" the answer would have been: buy a dedicated USB audio card ($7 shipped) Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 15:16

I agree this behavior is very annoying.

I have found that even a 4-connection adapter, like this very short and cheap one works. It does keeps the built-in mic as input and costs less than $2.

The key to making it work seems to be: First plug in the adapter alone, then plug the headphones in. Plugging them together may cause input to switch.

To actually gain some new functionality with your purchase, getting an L-shaped adapter like this one will prevent the annoying and dangerous sticking straight out which could cause your jack/headphones plug to get mangled.

I wish there was a software solution too but it seems not!

  • This is a three ring connector, so it will have the annoying habit of sometimes passing the mic through. Better to get a stereo plug that has no chance of passing the mic through to the computer.
    – lbutlr
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:04

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