How to Activate a Microphone on Mac

Apple's Macintosh computers usually come with built-in microphones. You can control the sound level for these and other microphones that you plug into the computer. Microphones can be used to capture sound, music, or speech in recordings. They may also be used to have spoken online chats with Apple's iChat or other chat programs. Try these steps to activate a microphone on a Mac.

Steps

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    Turn on your Macintosh computer if it is not already on.
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    Plug in an external microphone to your computer if using one. Try plugging it into 1 of your computer's USB ports.
    • USB ports may be on the side of a laptop or the back of a desktop monitor. They can also be located on the front or back panel of a desktop computer's hard drive.
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    • Check your computer's instruction manual or Apple's online support to find where you can plug in a microphone for your particular Macintosh computer.
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    Click once on the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen. A drop-down menu will appear.
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    Click on "System Preferences" from the drop-down menu.
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    Look for the icon labeled "Sound" in the "System Preferences" menu. It may be under the category called "Hardware." Click on the "Sound icon."
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    Click the tab labeled "Input."
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    Check that your Macintosh computer's built-in microphone is receiving sound.
    • Make sure "Internal microphone" is selected on the menu listing sound devices under the "Input" tab.
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    • Move the slider for "Input volume" to the right to make the volume louder.
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    • Test that the built-in microphone picks up sound. Speak or make a noise to see if the sound registers in the meter marked "Input level."
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    Select your external microphone to use it instead. Look for it in the list of sound devices under the "Input" tab.
    • Speak into the microphone to see if it works properly.
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    Close the "Sound" preferences window when finished.
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    Check your iChat preferences if using a microphone for an online audio chat.
    • Open your preferences in iChat. Depending on which version of iChat you have, look under the "Video" or "Audio/Video" section.
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    • Select the microphone you wish to use to speak into while chatting.
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Tips

  • If using audio software that goes with your external microphone, you may also need to set the software's preferences to make the microphone your Mac's input device.
  • Technical support for Macs is also available by phone or email. Phone support may be free if used within the first 90 days of owning a Mac.
  • Set the slider that controls the "Input volume" level to about 70 percent to pick up optimal sound for recording.
  • You may also be able to access "System Preferences" by clicking its icon in the bottom menu of the Macintosh's screen.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer's instruction manual
  • Online support
  • USB or other port for microphone
  • External microphone
  • "Sound" preferences
  • iChat preferences
  • Audio software

Article Info

Categories: Mac