How to Fix an External Microphone That Is Not Getting Detected on a MacBook Air

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External microphones can make MacBook Airs more functional with apps like Discord and Skype. However, if the microphone is not working, it can be frustrating as it limits the things we can do on our computer. Fortunately, there are ways to troubleshoot problems with an external microphone on a MacBook Air.

Before you throw your mic out the window or start talking to Siri out of sheer desperation, try the solutions we’ve listed below. And don’t forget to double-check that your mic is set up correctly — we don’t want to send you on a wild goose chase for nothing!

How to Properly Set Up an External Microphone on a MacBook Air

To avoid problems with your external microphone, you need to set it up correctly on your MacBook Air. We’ll teach you how below.

Connecting the External Microphone

Depending on the microphone that you are using, it will connect to your MacBook Air in various ways. Regardless, all these connections usually lead to one place: the USB port.

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The most common type of microphone available is the USB mic. To use this, just plug its cable into an open USB port. Another microphone type is the Headset mic. This type is often compatible with headphone jacks and USB ports, which means it’s more versatile.

Some newer microphone types can be connected via Thunderbolt. Although they’re new, they function the same way USB-type microphones do. They only differ by the connection protocol they use and the connector style.

Configuring the Microphone

To use a microphone, you simply need to plug it into an available port and use it as you normally would. Things may only get complicated when you configure it.

To start with the configuration, follow these steps:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Select Sound.
  3. Navigate to the Input tab.
  4. Locate your microphone and set it as the system input. You can do that by clicking on your microphone’s name.

That’s it! You can start using your microphone.

What to Do If Your Mic Is Not Detected on MacBook Air

Is your external microphone not getting detected on your MacBook Air? Fret not because many have already found a way to fix the problem. These include the following:

Solution #1: Configure Your MacBook Air’s Microphone Settings.

Sometimes, all you need to do is configure the microphone settings of your MacBook Air. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Navigate to System Preferences.
  3. Find Sound and click on it.
  4. Open the Input tab.
  5. Select Internal Microphone. If there is no Internal Microphone option, try to speak in your microphone and check if the blue lines in the Input Level moves. If the blue lines are rising as you speak, then your microphone is working just fine. Otherwise, your microphone is faulty. If the blue lines are not rising, simply drag the slide next to Input Volume to the maximum level.

Solution #2: Restart Your MacBook Air.

Is your microphone still not working? Consider rebooting your MacBook Air. Give your computer a fresh start and check if the microphone now works.

To restart your MacBook Air, go to the Apple menu and select Restart.

Solution #3: Reset Your MacBook Air’s PRAM.

Since it is a hardware issue, it is worth trying to reset the PRAM. Follow the steps below to reset the PRAM on your MacBook Air:

  1. Shut down your MacBook Air.
  2. Switch it on by pressing the Power button and holding the CMD + P + R + Option keys. Release all of them once you hear the startup tone. By now, you have already reset your computer’s PRAM.
  3. After resetting the PRAM, configure your microphone’s settings. You may refer to Solution #1 for a detailed guide on how to configure your microphone settings.

Solution #4: Create a New User Account.

Oftentimes, the problem is only within a specific user account. When you log into another user account, the problem does not exist. So, to fix the problem, you might want to create a new user account. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Choose Users and Groups.
  4. Log out of your current account and create a new one.
  5. Log in with it. Do not switch accounts.
  6. Check if the problem persists.

Solution #5: Contact the Program’s Support.

If you see the blue bars moving when you speak into the microphone, then it is an indication that it is configured properly and that your MacBook Air can hear it. If you wish to verify that, you can use online mic test tools.

Your problem lies within the program where you are using the microphone. It might not be configured properly; hence the mic does not work. There might be issues with the program’s settings— for instance, the microphone input may not be selected correctly, or the input volume could be set too low.

Now, if the settings are correct, your last resort is to contact the program’s support. Explain to them your problem and ask for possible solutions.

Solution #6: Run a Mac Repair Tool.

In some cases, MacBook Air issues arise due to problematic files and apps. When left unsolved, these issues may trigger more problems, affect other programs or worse, corrupt your macOS.

To fix them, all you have to do is to download and install a reliable Mac repair tool. Once installed, perform a quick scan. Wait as it identifies and resolves issues on your MacBook Air.

Solution #7: Visit an Apple Genius.

If all else fails, you may take your MacBook Air to an Apple Genius. Have the experts check on your computer and figure out what’s causing your microphone problems. This is the best and safest option for MacBook Air users who are not confident with their technical skills.

Please note that while these solutions can help with many common issues, they won’t resolve every problem. If your microphone still isn’t working after trying these steps, it’s best to contact Apple’s customer support.


Connecting an external microphone to a MacBook Air should be easy. Basically, you just need to plug and play. But if you are having issues with it, you might need to try the solutions above or check if the microphone itself is faulty.

If you have additional tips or methods for resolving microphone problems on MacBook Airs, feel free to share them in the comments below.


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2 years ago

I have an akg lyra mic. It is not recognized by my macbook air. But it works with my macbook pro. What could be the problem?

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