All Macs have an in-built microphone that comes in handy on several occasions. These occasions include when you are having a video call with someone, recording music, or playing video games.
However, you may feel like your computer is listening to you or third-party apps invade your privacy through your Mac’s in-built microphone. If you have no use for the microphone, it would be best to turn it off.
But how do you turn off the microphone on a Mac?
You can disable the microphone on Mac in two ways: reducing the microphone input volume to zero and choosing a different audio input device to prevent the inbuilt one from picking up any sound.
This article discusses the two methods of turning off the microphone on a Mac.
Method #1: Reduce Input Volume to Zero
Technically, you are not disabling the microphone in this method. Instead, lower the input volume to prevent the microphone from picking any sound.
Here’s how to lower the input volume of the in-built microphone on a Mac:
- Click the Apple logo on your Mac.
- Select “System Preferences” on the drop-down menu that appears.
- On the new window that opens, tap on “Sound”.
- Select “Input”.
- Click on “Internal Microphone” under “Select a Device for Sound Input”.
- Drag the slider to the left on the input volume settings until you hit the lowest point (0%).
- The microphone cannot detect any sound when the input volume is zero.
To ensure the microphone doesn’t pick any sound, test it by speaking some words and checking if the microphone icon appears on the system tray. If you see the microphone icon on the system tray, the microphone is not yet disabled. Check that the input volume is zero and test the mic again.
The process was successful if the microphone icon was absent from the system tray.
Method #2: Select a Different Audio Input
The line-in is an audio jack on a Mac that lets you connect an external audio device such as a microphone to your computer. You can disable your in-built microphone by selecting a line-in audio device. Follow these steps to achieve that on your Mac:
- Click the Apple icon.
- Tap on “System Preferences” on the menu that appears.
- Click on “Sound” on the new window that opens.
- Select the “Input” tab.
- Tap on “Line-in”.
- Close that window, and your internal microphone should cease picking any sounds.
You can only select a different audio input device to disable the inbuilt microphone on older versions of Mac OS X. To disable your microphone on a newer version, plug in a different line-in source, select it, and lower its input volume to zero.
How To Prevent an App From Using the Microphone on Mac
Sometimes, you need a microphone with some apps such as Skype, Zoom, and Fortnite. However, you might be skeptical about other apps eavesdropping on what you are saying. Fortunately, Apple lets you control which apps access your Mac microphone.
Here is how to prevent an app from accessing the microphone on Mac:
- Click on the Apple icon on your Mac.
- Select “System Preferences”.
- Click on “Security & Privacy”.
- Tap on the “Privacy” tab.
- Click on “Microphone”. A window with the apps accessing the microphone appears.
- Deselect the app you want to deny access to the microphone.
An in-built microphone on a Mac has several benefits, including making your voice audible during video calls and helping you produce high-quality recordings. Unfortunately, the mic may listen to you unbeknown and jeopardize your security and privacy, especially if third-party apps have access.
To turn off the microphone on Mac, lower its input volume to zero to prevent it from picking any sounds. Alternatively, you can disable the mic by changing the settings to select a different audio input device.
Frequently Asked Questions
The microphone on your MacBook Air is in the upper left corner of your keyboard. In older models, the microphone is beside the speaker grills. For newer models, you can locate it hidden within the speaker grills.
To turn on the microphone on Mac, follow these steps:
1) Click on the Apple icon.
2) Navigate to “System Preferences”.
3) Click on “Security & Privacy”.
4) Select “Privacy”.
5) Click on “Microphone”.
6) Select the apps you want to give access to the microphone.
You can tell when your microphone is mute on a Mac. The first way to know is to check the microphone input volume; if the volume is zero, the microphone cannot pick any sound.
Alternatively, you can know your in-built microphone is disabled by checking the selected audio input device under sound input settings. Here is how to check which audio input device is on:
1) Open “System Preferences”.
2) Select “Sound”.
3) Tap on the “Input” tab.
4) Check which device is selected under “Select a device for sound input”.
If another device other than the in-built microphone is selected, the inbuilt microphone is mute.
If there is a microphone icon on your settings tray, your Mac listens to you. All Macs have an inbuilt microphone, and unless you turn it off, it will constantly listen to you. You can turn off the microphone by lowering the input device’s volume to zero or selecting a different audio input device.
Here’s how to choose a different audio input device on your input sound settings:
1) Click on “System Preferences”.
2) Select “Sound”.
3) Tap on “Input”.
4) You’ll see the inbuilt microphone and another audio device named “Line-in” under “Select device for sound input”.
5) Select “Line-in”.