MacBook Air Mysteries: Discovering the Hidden Mic on Your Sleek Device

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The MacBook Air, known for its sleek design and exceptional performance, has become a popular choice for consumers seeking a lightweight, powerful laptop. A key feature of the MacBook Air is its built-in microphone, which allows for high-quality audio recording and communication. In this article, we’ll explore where the mic is located on a MacBook Air, its functionality, and how to troubleshoot common issues.

Microphone in MacBook Air Models (2018 & newer)

Location of the Microphone

1. Three-microphone array

In 2018, Apple introduced a redesigned MacBook Air featuring an upgraded three-microphone array. This enhanced microphone system improves audio quality, reduces distortion, and ensures better noise cancellation.

2. Placement on the left side of the keyboard

When asking Where is the mic on a MacBook Air? for 2018 and newer models, you’ll find the three-microphone array located on the left side of the keyboard, near the escape key and the function keys.

Purpose of the Three-Microphone Array

1. Improved sound quality

The three-microphone array in MacBook Air models from 2018 and newer offers superior audio quality, making it easier for users to capture clear, high-quality recordings and engage in video calls with minimal distortion or background noise.

2. Noise cancellation

By analyzing and eliminating background noise, the MacBook Air’s three-microphone array delivers a more immersive experience for users during video calls and online meetings.

Using the MacBook Air Microphone

1. Recording audio

The location of the mic on a MacBook Air (2018 and newer) allows users to record audio effortlessly, whether narrating a video, capturing the sound of live performances, or participating in a podcast.

2. Video calls

The MacBook Air’s built-in microphone is also ideal for video calls and conferencing, providing crystal clear communication with teammates, friends, and family.

Microphone in MacBook Air Models (2017 & older)

Location of the Microphone

1. Single microphone design

In older MacBook Air models (2017 and older), a single built-in microphone was used instead of the three-microphone array found in newer versions.

2. Placement on the left side of the webcam

For those wondering, Where is the mic on a MacBook Air? in these older models, you can find the single microphone located on the left side of the webcam, situated at the top center of the laptop’s display.

Usage and Limitations of the Single Microphone

1. Sound quality

While the single microphone in older MacBook Air models provides reasonably good audio quality for basic use, it doesn’t quite match the level of performance offered by the newer three-microphone array.

2. Noise cancellation

Older MacBook Air models lack the advanced noise cancellation capabilities found in the 2018 and newer models, which may lead to increased background noise and reduced audio clarity during calls and recordings.

Using the Older MacBook Air Microphone

1. Recording audio

Despite its limitations, the microphone on older MacBook Air models is still suitable for basic audio recording tasks and voiceovers.

2. Video calls

The mic’s location on a MacBook Air (2017 and older) still provides acceptable audio quality for video calls, though users may experience slightly lower clarity compared to newer models.

Troubleshooting Microphone Issues

Ensuring Proper Microphone Settings

1. Checking Sound preferences

If you’re having issues with the microphone on your MacBook Air, first ensure that the built-in microphone is selected as the default input device in your System Preferences under Sound.

2. Adjusting input volume

You can also adjust the input volume of your MacBook Air’s microphone from the Sound preferences to ensure a comfortable recording level.

Diagnosing Hardware Issues

1. Verifying the presence of the microphone

If your MacBook Air seems to be lacking a microphone, consult the device documentation to confirm where the mic is located on your specific model.

2. Considering external microphones

If you believe there’s a hardware issue with your MacBook Air’s built-in microphone, consider using an external microphone to confirm whether the problem originates from the built-in mic or a broader audio issue.

Addressing Common Software Issues

1. Granting permission to apps

Some apps may require permission to access your MacBook Air’s microphone to function correctly. Review your Security & Privacy settings to ensure the appropriate permissions have been granted.

2. Updating macOS

Occasionally, software issues can affect your MacBook Air’s microphone performance—ensure you’re running the latest version of macOS and have installed all relevant software updates.

Enhancing MacBook Air Microphone Functionality

Using External Microphones

1. USB microphones

If you’re seeking improved audio quality or more advanced features than your MacBook Air’s built-in mic, consider using an external USB microphone. Many of these microphones offer plug-and-play capabilities for easy setup.

2. 3.5mm jack microphones

Another option is using a 3.5mm jack microphone, which can be connected to the MacBook Air’s headphone jack (for older models) or a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter (for newer models).

Sound Enhancement Applications

1. Audio editing software

Enhance your recording experience using audio editing software to clean up and improve the quality of your MacBook Air’s microphone recordings. Programs like Audacity and Adobe Audition offer a wide range of features to finalize your audio projects.

2. Noise-cancellation apps

Apps like Krisp are designed to reduce background noise during calls and recordings, further enhancing the functionality of your MacBook Air’s microphone.


Knowing where the mic is located on a MacBook Air is crucial for optimizing sound quality and capturing crystal clear audio. While older models feature a single built-in microphone, newer models boast a superior three-microphone array. Familiarizing yourself with your MacBook Air’s mic location and understanding how to troubleshoot common issues are essential for a seamless audio experience. And remember: don’t be afraid to experiment with external microphones or noise-cancellation apps to further enhance your MacBook Air’s microphone capabilities.


Where is the mic on a MacBook Air (2018 and newer)?

For MacBook Air models from 2018 and newer, the mic is located on the left side of the keyboard, close to the escape key and function keys. These models feature a three-microphone array.

Where is the mic on a MacBook Air (2017 and older)?

For older MacBook Air models (2017 and older), the single built-in microphone can be found on the left side of the webcam at the top center of the laptop’s display.

Does the MacBook Air have noise cancellation?

Yes, the MacBook Air features noise cancellation, with newer models from 2018 onwards having a more advanced noise-cancellation system thanks to their upgraded three-microphone array.

Can I use an external microphone with my MacBook Air?

Yes, you can use an external microphone with your MacBook Air. USB microphones and 3.5mm jack microphones are both compatible depending on the specific model of MacBook Air and any necessary adapters.

How do I check my MacBook Air’s microphone settings?

You can check and adjust your MacBook Air’s microphone settings by going to System Preferences and selecting Sound. From there ,you can adjust input settings, including selecting the correct input device and altering input volume levels.

What can I do if my MacBook Air’s built-in microphone is not working?

If your MacBook Air’s built-in microphone is not working, try troubleshooting by checking your sound preferences, ensuring the correct input device is selected, and adjusting the input volume. Additionally, check for hardware issues and software compatibility.

Can I improve the sound quality of my MacBook Air’s microphone?

Yes, you can improve the sound quality of your MacBook Air’s built-in microphone by using external microphones or sound enhancement applications and noise-cancellation apps to refine and clean up your recordings.

How do I grant permission for apps to use my MacBook Air’s microphone?

To grant permission for specific apps to use your MacBook Air’s microphone, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Microphone, and check the box next to the app you want to grant access to the microphone.

Is the microphone quality different between older and newer MacBook Air models?

Yes, newer MacBook Air models (2018 and newer) feature a three-microphone array that offers improved sound quality and noise cancellation compared to the single microphone design found in older models (2017 and older).