Since the inception of their company, Apple have remained notorious in the tech space for the exclusivity of their hardware.
Apple specialize in one thing: premade, exclusive products that are designed to only be capable of interacting with other Apple products. As a result, we’ve crafted this tutorial, titled “How To Use Apple Earbuds As Mic On PC: Guide”
Apple’s ‘alleged’ end goal, from the beginning, has always been to increase ease of use. Apple products often pair seamlessly with each other without too many technical issues. Money is clearly a goal for Apple too, though. This exclusivity has given the company the opportunity to scoop up a ridiculously large share of the highly competitive tech market.
So what happens if we’re looking to take a call/record audio on a PC and the only microphone we own is located inside a pair of Apple Earbuds? As it turns out, all is not lost. But you’re still likely to encounter a few compatibility issues.
We’ve compiled a simple step-by-step guide below. Designed to teach you how to use apple earbuds as a mic on your PC.
Even getting kids headphones paired is easy with this guide – for those concerned Technophobes out there!
Can I Use My iPhone Earbuds As A Microphone On PC?
The bad news: Yes, you absolutely can. BUT it isn’t going to be as simple as it normally would be if you were pairing with a Mac. Modern earbuds were not designed to easily pair with third party hardware – and it shows.
You’ll need to follow a small set of instructions and have a couple of additional components handy if you’re looking to pull it off.
The good news: You’ll be glad to know that once you’re set up you’ll not only be able to use your Earbuds for their in-built microphone, you’ll also be able to receive call audio from them too. Which means anyone in-call with you isn’t going to have to deal with the awkward feedback issues people generally experience when someone uses speakers for call audio.
Before you proceed with this guide, take a look at all of your hardware.
Are you using an older pair of Earbuds with a native 3.5mm jack? Or are you using the newer model which makes use of the USB-A lightning jack?
What about your computer? Does it have a dedicated headphone port? Or do you have a separate microphone jack/audio out port exclusively? All of these are important factors you’ll need to consider if you’re trying to use apple headphones as a mic on pc.
Note: if you happen to be using an older pair of apple Earbuds, disregard this segment and scroll down to “Using Older Earbuds With A PC”. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you don’t have to jump through any hoops.
Devices For Connecting Apple Headphones To PC
If you’ve already managed to connect your device without our help, scroll further down to learn how to configure your PC for use with your bluetooth headphones. If not, keep reading here.
There are a couple of different apple headphones on the market. There’s also a couple of different audio interfaces depending on what machine you’re using. If you’re planning to use apple headphones as a mic on pc, then you’ll need to make sure you have the necessary devices to ensure compatibility.
Using Older Earbuds With A PC (3.5mm Jack)
Older earbuds are among the best of all iPhone/Apple headsets for users with a PC. They come with their own 3.5mm jack as a default. If you own a pair like this, all you need to do is identify the appropriate headphone jack on your computer/laptop and plug them in.
There’s only two possible ways you could encounter issues with this approach.
- Your PC/laptop doesn’t have a dedicated headphone jack.
- Your earbuds are broken.
If your earbuds are broken, you’re going to need a new pair. Sadly, there’s no way around this.
If you’re missing a dedicated slot for your headphones, there may be a workaround. See “Using An Audio Splitter” below for more information.
Using An Audio Splitter
Not all desktop PCs have a headphone slot. Some of them have a dedicated slot for an input device (a microphone) and a dedicated slot for an output device (headphones).
If this is the case with your PC/laptop, you’ll need to purchase an audio splitter. These work by splitting a single audio signal into two individual signals.
Once you have your audio splitter handy, plug the microphone and headphone plugs into their corresponding jacks. From here, you just need to insert your 3.5mm jack into your audio splitter and you can begin using your headphones for calls immediately.
Using Newer Apple Headphones With PC (Lightning Port)
If you own one of the newer headsets, you’re going to have a lightning cable instead of a 3.5mm jack. This presents a problem for most PC users, as lightning jacks aren’t built in to PC motherboards.
If you own a newer pair and you still want to use apple headphones as a mic on PC, you’ll need a convertor.
Luckily, you can scoop up a USB-A to USB convertor online. You’ll need a female USB-A to male USB convertor for this to work.
Sadly, there are no USB-A to 3.5mm convertors on the market. Lightning cables exclusively output digital signals whereas 3.5mm jacks can only receive analog.
You could probably add another convertor into the mix. But this would just increase latency for no identifiable gain apart from allowing you to keep a USB slot open.
Where Do I Connect My Headphones?
This depends on if you’re using a PC or Laptop.
For most laptops, there’s a dedicated 3.5mm jack for headphones. It’s normally found on the left or right hand side. It’ll be the only hole this small, as charger inputs tend to be much larger. It’ll also probably be denoted by a symbol representing a headset, microphone or both.
Laptops seldom have separate audio in/out slots. So you won’t need to worry about a splitter.
If you’re using a convertor for later iterations of headphones, make sure you have a USB slot free.
Most modern motherboards will have a headphone jack. Your motherboard inputs can be found on the back end of your PC tower, near the power plug. This jack isn’t always denoted by an icon or text, but it’ll likely have a green rim.
If you can’t find any audio jacks on the backend, your case may have other ports for audio. Sometimes they can be found on the top of the PC. If you built your own PC, you’ll have to be sure these additional ports are connected internally to the motherboard.
Configuring Your Apple Headphones On PC
Okay, so you’ve managed to actually connect your Apple headphones. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be able to start using them straight away.
Before you can use apple headphones as a mic on pc, you’re going to need to scroll through a handful of configuration settings to make sure your audio device is working properly.
Step 1 – Boot Up The Control Panel
Press the windows key on the bottom left of the keyboard or click the windows icon to the bottom left of your screen. Once this is open, hover your mouse over the “type here to search” box.
Type in “control panel” from here. There should only be one app on your PC named this. Click it and get ready for the next step.
Note: if you’re having trouble with this step, you can also just right click the windows icon and select “control panel”. The end result is the same. You can even type “control panel” into the windows run feature.
Step 2 – Navigate To “Hardware And Sound”
Once you’ve opened the control panel, click on “hardware and sound”. This will open up an overview of all the local hardware on your computer. Right now, we only need to select “manage audio devices” under the “sound” tab.
Step 3 – Check If Your Mic Is Active
Once your sound panel is open, you’ll have to switch over to the “recording” tab. This shows you all of the available devices for recording/microphone input.
Normally, a pair of Apple Earbuds will appear under the name “High Definition Audio”.
Right click this device and select “set as default device”.
You can also rename your device from the HD audio manager. I normally give each device a nickname so they’re easier to remember and identify.
Step 4 – Configure Accordingly
Click on your Apple headphones again and select “properties”. From here you should navigate to “levels” under the microphone properties section. You can use this to “boost” your audio input and gain a little bit of amplification. This is pretty handy if you feel your microphone is a little too quiet (which it often is).
Be wary of boosting your levels too high, though. You’ll eventually experience a degradation in audio quality and some interference depending on how sensitive you make your mic.
Once you’re happy with the levels, select “apply”.
Step 5 – Enjoy
You can now use Apple headphones as a mic on this operating system. Enjoy. If you’re encountering difficulties at this stage, you’ll have to troubleshoot.
Issues you encounter at this stage can occur as a result of having outdated/incompatible drivers for your input device.
You can update your drivers by doing the following:
- Reopen your control panel
- Navigate back to hardware and sound
- Select “manage audio devices” again under the sound tab
- Select the “recording” tab
- Select your “high definition audio” device again. Or the new nickname you’ve given your device if you took the liberty to do so.
- Select “properties” on the bottom right.
- Open the “driver” tab and update drivers.
This should fix any issues you’re encountering. If you’re still experiencing problems after this, it may be a hardware fault. This sadly means you’ll have to consider getting a new pair of headphones.
How To Use Apple Headphones As A Mic On Zoom
If you’ve managed to successfully configure your headphones, there’s still a chance you’ll encounter issues on Zoom. You’ll have to configure Zooms own audio settings to get them working properly.
Here’s how you do it:
Step 1 – Launch Zoom And Enter A Call
The quickest way to configure your audio settings in Zoom is to attempt to enter a call. Before you enter the call, you’ll get a pop-up. This pop up will give you two options. Either “join with computer audio” or “test speaker and microphone”.
Select “test speaker and microphone”.
Step 2 – Test Your Audio
The first stage of the testing process will play the default Zoom audio call ring tone to your speakers. If you can’t hear anything, you’ll have to open the drop-down menu and navigate through the list of available speakers until you can hear it.
Once you can hear the ring tone, simply click yes to proceed to the microphone test.
Step 3 – Test Your Mic
The next stage of testing is the microphone test. Now that you know your speakers are working, you need to speak into your microphone to hear audio playback. If you’re unable to hear it, you’ll have to open up the drop-down menu and scroll through available microphones until you begin hearing audio feedback.
If you’re unable to detect your microphone from Zoom but can from your PC’s audio settings, there may be an internal error with the software. You’ll have to troubleshoot Zoom itself for this solution.
Step 4 – Join Call
Now that you’ve properly configured your Zoom settings, you can now use apple headphones as a mic for calls. Click “Join with computer audio” to begin your call.
Anyone struggling to hear you at this stage in the process is likely experiencing trouble on their end, so you can rest easy know you’re not at fault.
If you’re certain that you’ve configured your devices properly and a friend/colleague can’t hear you, get them to make sure they haven’t left you on mute. You can also double check you haven’t muted yourself.
Whilst Apple hardware is often poorly compatible with operating systems and hardware from third party sources – you don’t need to fork out cash for a new microphone. It doesn’t matter how old or new your apple Earbuds are. There’s a simple workaround and handful of solutions for every iteration of them. Including the newer, more exclusive, USB type A headphones.
The only prohibitive factor is money. If your hardware is outright incompatible, you might need to spend a small amount of money on an adapter or convertor of some kind.
If you’re planning to use apple headphones as a mic on PC, your best bet is an older pair. Older headphones feature a 3.5mm lead which can plug directly into a microphone jack/recording slot without any issues. Configuration of an older pair of headphones is also as simple as spending a few brief minutes in the control panel.
Do Apple Earbuds work as a mic?
Absolutely. Depending on your model, they may not be immediately compatible with your PC. But the handful of simple workarounds we’ve detailed in the list above should be more than enough to get you up and running as quickly as possible.
Just be wary that newer models of Earbuds can often mean that you’ll have to splash out money on a converter to make them compatible with your USB port.
The audio quality is adequate enough for zoom/skype calls. You won’t be able to record music with it, but odds are you’d already own an XLR mic if this was your intention.
How do I use apple headphones as a mic on PC/Windows 10?
Consult with the guide above. It was written specifically for users who are utilizing windows 10.