Home Issue How to Troubleshoot the Microphone on your Mac

How to Troubleshoot the Microphone on your Mac

Posted: April 2, 2021

If you are having trouble using a microphone with your Mac, then you probably need to start troubleshooting the problem as soon as possible. The best troubleshooting steps are usually the same, regardless if you are using Mac's built-in microphone or an external one. Here is what you need to do to use your microphone again:

See if the External Microphone is Connected

Depending on the microphone you are using, you might need to check the connection on both ends. Make sure that the cable is plugged in properly because it may be very easy to unplug it by accident. Even if just 1-2mm of the jack are not plugged in, this may cause the microphone to malfunction or not work at all.

Check Application Permissions

It is possible that some applications may not have access to the microphone. Verify that this is not causing the issue by going to the Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Security and Privacy. Select the Privacy tab, click on the 'Microphone,' and then see which applications have permissions to use it. Make sure to enable access for the applications you wish to use – Skype, Zoom, Discord, Slack, etc.

Check Microphone Settings

Go to System preferences -> Sound -> Input. Select the microphone you are using, and then make sure to set the input volume to the maximum value. You can also start speaking to see if the 'Input Level' bar is picking up your voice. Low 'Input Volume' may be one of the reasons why your Mac microphone is not working.

Reset the MAC PRAM

The Mac's Parameter RAM (PRAM) is meant to save information about a lot of Mac settings and services. If the microphone is not starting for some odd reason, then resetting the PRAM may get it up and running again. To reset the Mac PRAM, you need to:

  • Shutdown the laptop/computer.
  • Press the power button, and hold the buttons Command + ALT + P + R for at least 20 seconds.
  • Let go of the buttons and wait for the device to boot up.