Where is the Microphone on a MacBook Pro?

Where is the Microphone on a MacBook Pro?

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The built-in microphone on a MacBook Pro is tiny and well-hidden. Finding it takes some sleuthing, even for experienced users. This guide will help you locate the mic.

Key Takeaways:

  • The MacBook Pro mic is not by the camera. It’s tiny and hidden on the bottom near speakers or keyboard.
  • New 2018+ models have 3 built-in mics in the upper right keyboard/speaker section.
  • Older 2017 and prior 13″ models have the mic on the left bottom above the ESC key. Barely visible holes.
  • Built-in mics are convenient, hard to lose, and work for calls, games, and even some music. But it’s not as good as pro mics.
  • You can mute the mic in System Preferences > Sounds. The quality is decent for voice, less so for loud noises or pro recordings.

MacBook Pro Microphone Location

You might think the microphone is by the webcam above the screen, which would make sense for video calls. But actually, the mic is not there. It’s hidden on the bottom of the laptop instead.

Actually, this isn’t the case, and the microphone is always located on the bottom casing, usually near the speakers or on top of the keyboard.

This varies for newer and older models of MacBook Pros.

Note: You can also clear Facetime history by going to the settings.

For Newer MacBook Pros (2018 or Later Models)

The newer models of the MacBook Pro actually have 3 microphones built-in. You really wouldn’t notice where they are unless you had some sort of diagram, but they are all located in the upper right portion of the keyboard and speaker section of the computer.

This picture should give you an idea of where these microphones are located. The yellow circles are the location of the microphones and the red squares are the speakers.

Most models of the MacBook Pro 15” have microphones located under the right speaker casing, which is similar to the diagram above, but there are only one or two microphones depending on what year of computer you have.

For Older MacBook Pros (2017 or Earlier Models)

The MacBook Pro 13” model from years 2017 or earlier doesn’t have any speaker grids and is smaller overall so the microphone is even harder to find. For these models, the microphone can be found on the left bottom part of the casing above the ESC key.

If you look closely, you’ll see a series of small holes, and this is the built-in microphone. Look at the diagram above if your computer is from these years.

Those are the main locations for the built-in microphones from different versions of the MacBook Pro.

See how small and difficult to find they are? The ones located directly under the speakers are actually not visible, so unless you knew where to find them, you never would know exactly.

Benefits of a Built-in Microphone

When you picture a microphone, you likely imagine a singer holding a large, round-topped mic. But technology has allowed mics to become very small, like the tiny, hidden one built into the MacBook Pro.

There are a ton of benefits that come with these tiny built-in microphones. As in,

  • Built-in mics are very small and convenient – they don’t take up extra space or add bulk. You can’t lose a built-in mic or have it get disconnected like an external mic
  • Built-in mics rarely break since they are protected inside the laptop. Having a mic built into your laptop allows microphone functionality without carrying extra gear.
  • They can be used for video calls, phone calls, gaming, singing, and even music recording
  • The audio quality is good enough for most non-professional uses. Unless you’re an audio expert, you likely won’t notice a huge quality difference from an external mic
  • Built-in mics perform many functions of a handheld or studio mic, with comparable quality

The built-in microphone packs incredible functionality into a tiny package. For most users, it delivers everything you need for clear voice and audio recording.

How to Turn off Microphone on MacBook Pro

You can head over to System Preferences (System Settings on macOS Ventura and above), click Sounds, and under Output, hit the Mute option.

Final Words

The location of the microphone on your MacBook Pro can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look. These microphones were built to blend into the surface of the laptop and are really small, so can be difficult to locate. They also have changed locations over the course of the MacBook Pro line updates, so it can vary depending on what year of computer you have.

That said, they are fully functional microphones that can be used in a variety of ways. They might not be as good as really high-end external mics, but they have come a long way over the last decade or so to offer really quality audio.

These mics were more intended for talking and speech than for loud noises or professional audio recordings. Some music professionals would say that it’s not worth your time to try and record voice on Mac with the built-in microphones on a MacBook Pro, but I’ve heard some cool music come from trying.

What do you use your MacBook Pro microphone for mostly? Do you like the audio quality it produces?

About Eric
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Eric currently uses a 15-inch MacBook Pro for both work and personal errands. He did all the research and testing to make sure all the fixes and optimization tips shared on the blog are relevant to Apple’s latest macOS updates as well as fact-checking.

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  • Gerald Williams

    My 2015 MacBook OS Monterey has a semi-failure of sound out. Only began 2 days ago 06/11/22, soon after an OS update. Contacts on WhatsApp & FaceTime report either “very faint sound reception” or “It’s as if you’re talking down a very long drain”. Have tried blowing on keyboard to blow fluff off invisible microphones and checked “Sound” settings on System Preferences. They’re correct.

    Do you have any alternative solutions, please? Thanks in advance. Gerald

  • stugan

    the most irritating thing if you don’t know where the mic is, is this – on Zoom someone has their paper notes on the keyboard, so that they can read them. They move the papers and the mic sends screeches to the output, which can obliterate the sound, and esp if listeners have earphones in, can be very uncomfortable. It’s just happened to me as a listener on an international seminar, though I have sometimes done it as a speaker!

  • JC

    How can I use the micorphone for talking text on my Notes.. it works on my apple iPad but I can’t seem to find it to work on my MacBook Pro .. ?

  • nom

    @Ed yes there is security, at least in the newer models. In Preferences/Security/Microphone you have to explicitly permit apps for microphone access.

    • RegT

      That doesn’t mean the microphone is inactive when no apps are requesting access. There is no way provided to shut it off when you do not want it “live”. Which means if someone can hack your Mac (NSA perhaps – ask Tucker about that) they can listen through your microphone.

  • Ed

    Can you turn off the microphone? The systems preference does not and picks up the slightest breath.

    Is there any security design against hackers picking voices ?

  • Matteo Grander

    For me noises seem to be picked up the loudest at the very top of the left speaker grill…

  • Kadie

    In the image for 15″ mac, the yellow circles in the speaker blocks appear on the RIGHT speaker casing not the left as claimed in the write up. Doesn’t help that the image depicted upside down.

    • Matteo Grander

      At least from what I found by creating a recording of me tapping on both sides of my MacBook it only picks up the tapping if it’s on the left side. So at least in the 2018 MacBook Pro 15″ the microphone seems to be located on the left side…

  • Sean Mooney

    Hi, when I use the internal mics on a Zoom meeting I get regular complaints that I can’t be heard intermittently?


  • Kurt roberg

    RE: Where is the Microphone on a MacBook Pro? latest 13″ model
    January 5, 2020

    You state that the speakers are located in the upper left section of the keyboard, but your illustration is upside down! so the three yellow dots are shown in the lower left.
    turning the picture aroundd into the proper position, woud place the3 mikes in the upper right.
    Please advise the real location.

  • Vince Lee

    How do I connect an external mic to an old 15″ MacBook Pro?

  • james newberg

    do you have to turn mic on ?

  • stephani

    My sons brand new macbook pro does not have the internal microphone listed as an option under sound input – where is it

  • Suzanne Jenifer

    how to mute mic to hide background noise without stopping video/audio in google handout?

  • Hanna

    The diagram does not look like my 2019 MacBook Pro 16 inch. My trackpad is closer to the front with keyboard above. Apple manuals and even Web searches don’t show exact location the microphones. Strange

  • Marilyn J Esparza

    My MacBook Pro microphone does not work when I try to use Zoom or when I attempt to record a video in PhotoBooth and play it back.