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Where is the Microphone on a MacBook Pro? (Use It & Fix It)

The MacBook Pro is the premier laptop as far as the display, operating system, and microphone go. However, it isn’t immediately clear where the microphone is when you first look at a MacBook Pro. So, where is the microphone on a MacBook Pro?

There are 3 microphones by the speakers along the left and right sides of a modern MacBook Pro from 2018 or later. The left side features one microphone, and there are two more on the right side of the keyboard. MacBook Pros from 2017 and earlier only feature one microphone, and it is located above the escape key on the left side of the keyboard.

You must enable microphone access for each app you use via the System Settings menu. Go to “Privacy and Security” and select each app that you want to enable microphone access. Follow along as we explore where you can find the microphone on a MacBook Pro and what to do if it won’t work.

Where is the MacBook Pro Microphone?

Microphone placement varies based on which MacBook Pro model you have. The microphone on older generations of MacBook Pros is typically above the escape key. You can find it on the top left side of the keyboard. This applies to most MacBook Pros that came out before 2017.

However, modern MacBook Pros from 2018 onward have 3 microphones. The microphones are where the speaker grids are on the left and right sides of the keyboard.

How to Use the Microphone on a MacBook Pro

The microphone on your MacBook Pro will only work if you enable microphone permissions. You cannot enable the microphone across the board, but you can enable it for each app. Open the Apple menu, select “System Settings”, then click “Privacy and Security”.

Select “Microphone”, then scroll through the apps that have microphone access. Click the bar beside each app that you want to permit to use the microphone. You can also use the microphone control several features on your MacBook Pro if you enable Voice Control.

Open the System Settings menu and select “Accessibility”. Select “Voice Control”, and click “Open Guide”. Now, you can control your MacBook Pro with your voice.

Why Won’t My MacBook Pro Microphone Work?

Faulty Sound Input Settings

MacBook Pros automatically come with the internal microphone as the audio input setting. However, you must switch it back to the built-in microphone if you’ve recently used an external microphone. Click the Apple icon, go to “System Settings”, then “Sound”.

Click “Input” and select “Built-In”. Now, your MacBook Pro will default to use the internal microphone.

Outdated Operating System

Your MacBook Pro’s operating system controls everything from the display and processors to the microphone. Apple releases operating system updates throughout the year, and failing to install them can cause performance issues. Open the Apple menu, click on “System Settings”, and select “Software Update”.

The new macOS update will boost your MacBook Pro’s performance, add new features, and fix the microphone if the problem is due to outdated software.


It’s no secret that viruses can throw your MacBook Pro’s processors off. Not only will your sensitive information be vulnerable, but hackers can access your microphone when they hack your MacBook Pro. If you suspect a virus and your microphone won’t work, you must scan for malware and remove it.

Software like Norton, McAfee, and CleanMyMacX can scan the system for viruses and malware. Ideally, you should always maintain an active anti-malware software subscription to avoid problems and protect your MacBook Pro.

Dictation is Disabled

The Dictation feature lets you use your MacBook Pro’s microphone to dictate words as you speak. If your MacBook Pro is old and prone to glitches, you may need to enable this feature to use your microphone. That doesn’t mean that you need to use Dictation, but you may simply need to enable it if your microphone won’t work otherwise.

Click the Apple logo to pull up the menu and select “Keyboard”. Scroll down and click the bar next to “Dictation” to enable the feature.

Overloaded PRAM

The Parameter RAM, or PRAM on your MacBook Pro controls many important functions, such as the display, volume, and time zone. However, it can also affect the performance of the microphone as the PRAM stores regulatory and operational information on your MacBook Pro. If your microphone is not working, you can often fix it if you reset the PRAM.

Turn off your MacBook Pro via the Apple menu, or simply press the power button. Next, press the power button to turn it back on and quickly press Option, Command, P, and R. Hold each of these keys for 20 seconds and let go.

The Apple logo will show up on the screen and quickly disappear. You may also hear the MacBook Pro startup sound, but only if you have an older model. This will reset the PRAM and your user settings.

Physical Damage

While the microphone on a MacBook Pro is quite durable, it’s still susceptible to physical damage. The microphone itself may cost between $10 and $25 for the part depending on the model, but that doesn’t include installation. As this Redditor found out, Apple charges up to $600 to replace the microphone on a MacBook Pro between parts and labor.

If you are tech-savvy, you can simply buy the part online and replace it yourself. However, you risk damaging internal components, and Apple doesn’t recommend this.

You Haven’t Restarted Your MacBook Pro in a While

You will experience several performance issues if you don’t regularly restart your MacBook Pro. This is especially true if you typically set your MacBook to sleep mode instead of turning it off. MacBook Pros need to reboot every once in a while to ensure a fast and smooth performance.

Restart your MacBook Pro once per week or as needed when the microphone won’t work and apps run slowly. Click the Apple icon on the menu bar and select “Restart”. If that won’t work, you can manually restart your MacBook Pro if you press the power button to shut it off, wait a moment, and turn it back on.

However, you will lose any unsaved progress on documents and applications if you press the power button without saving first.

Can I Use an External Microphone With My MacBook Pro?

You can use an external microphone for your MacBook Pro if you are unhappy with the internal microphone. This is also quite common for people who use GarageBand or their MacBook Pro for professional recordings and video meetings.

However, it only works if you connect a microphone via the headphone jack or to the USB or USB-C port. Simply plug the microphone into the headphone jack or USB/USB-C port. Next, you must change the audio input.

Click the Apple icon, select “System Settings”, and choose “Sound”. Select “Input” to pull up a list of available audio devices and select the external microphone. Now, you can use the external microphone if it’s compatible with your MacBook Pro.

So, Where Is My MacBook Pro Microphone?

The microphone on a MacBook Pro is above the escape key on models from 2017 or earlier. Modern MacBook Pros have featured 3 microphones along the left and right sides of the keyboard since 2018. Make sure to enable microphone access for each app, or else you won’t be able to use your MacBook’s microphone.