Disable the Internal Microphone on your Mac

Jun 25, 2010 - 23 Comments

disable internal microphone mac

If you want to disable the internal microphone on your Mac, you can do so through a variety of methods. We’ll cover the two easiest; reducing the input volume so that no sound is picked up by the microphone, and also by selecting a different and nonexistent audio input source so that the Mac will not detect audio.

Note these work to disable the Macs internal (that is, built-in) microphone in all versions of OS X and with just about every Mac. To disable an external microphone, simply unplug it from the Mac:

Disable the internal microphone by reducing the input volume to 0

* Launch System Preferences
* Click on “Sound”
* Click on the “Input” tab
* Drag the “Input volume” slider all the way to the left, as seen in the above screenshot
* Close System Preferences

This works just by reducing the audio input to zero, effectively making the internal microphone unable to capture any sound. If you want to basically disable the internal microphone’s ability to hear audio, use the below method instead.

Disable the internal microphone by selecting a different audio input

* Launch the System Preferences
* Click on “Sound”
* Click on the “Input” tab
* Select “Line-in”
* Close System Preferences

This works by changing the audio input to the line-in, also known as the audio input port on your Mac. As long as you don’t actually have any audio input device connected, such as an external microphone or some other line-in device, this method is very effective.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

23 Comments

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  1. Mr. Man says:

    Also, if you have the sound icon in the menu bar, you can option-click it to change input/output sources from there.

  2. Bugs says:

    This is, unquestionably, the most useless and banal “hot tip” I have ever read on any Mac forum.

    • Josh says:

      I couldn’t agree more! Absolutely USELESS and completely asinine, the equivalent of telling us to turn the computer on press the power button!

  3. Zach says:

    I have to agree with Bugs, what is the point of this tip and who actually considers it a “hot tip”?

  4. tayker says:

    For security reasons this is a Hot Tip.

    My 13″ MBP unibody doesn’t have a Line-in jack. Too bad there isn’t an app with a simple little button that I can click on so my camera and mic are disabled enough to meet NSA security requirements.

  5. shaf says:

    Here’s my problem. The above tip noted:
    “As long as you don’t actually have any audio input device connected, such as an external microphone or some other line-in device, this method is very effective.”
    I DO need to attach an external microphone, and I DON’T want the internal microphone to be working at the same time.
    Is there a mute switch somewhere for just the internal mic?

  6. harry101 says:

    The reason why people need to turn off the internal mike is to record through another source such as USB without getting environmental sounds on top of the recording. People are complaining about this problem all over the internet.

    The line-in tip works on my PowerBook running OS 10.4, where the non-existent “line-in” can be selected as an alternative to “internal microphone”. On my sister’s mac, running OS 10.6, “line-in” does not appear as a choice and cannot be selected.

  7. Michal says:

    I have developed small application that may help you.

    MuteMyMic. It can mute/unmute the microphone.

  8. macdude2778471974 says:

    Go to Audio/Midi setup in the Applications utility folder and mute the inputs, that way the mic will be turned off, and not just turned down a few decibels..

    • Rob says:

      IS the best answer brother…tasted

      • Dewan says:

        This IS the solution… not that other crap people are posting.

        • DMan says:

          Actually it is the same solution just a different method. If you bring up both the input settings under preferences and and the audio/midi setup at the same time you’ll see that if you adjust the mic levels is system preferences it will automatically adjust the settings in audio/midi to match. Apple programmers tried to make it as simple as possible so you wouldn’t have to go into the utilities folder. So in reality they are both the same solution!

  9. sean says:

    best answer.

  10. scott v. says:

    some of your comments were ignorant. I have a 2nd grade class that I teach at a deaf school. They use sign language and they are required to videorecord themselves, where the sound is not vital to language development. Therefore, imagine when there are sounds associated with the sign language and some of them like to turn on the microphone to annoy and they don’t know any better.

    Thank you.

  11. kelahcim says:

    Check out these two – SoundSource and MuteMyMic. Maybe they will make it easier to adjust the volume.

  12. henry bernard says:

    How to disabled the mic on a mac. Your internal mic is on by default also the built in speakers. goto system tag the speaker cymbal, goto input and tag line in then tag line in . If you have a built in camera and mic at the top center tap on the left of the camera where the mic is and you shouldn’t see any bars indicating sound is present. If this is true now you know how to disable the mic so that it will not be heard while recording. Caution!!!! You must check all preferences in all other programs and make sure your device is tagged and that you have APPLIED it before closing. You then may need to close the program and then go back in to see that out the changes are correct.sometimes restarting helps. Helpful hint always tap the mic on you monitor while record is enabled making sure the mic is not being record on your trac. hope this helps

  13. Not Madeup says:

    None of the above stops the internal microphone from even showing that it is constantly listening to what is available to be heard!

  14. w.pasman says:

    This is not DISABLING, this is just muting it.

    I have a good mic attached but sometimes the mac auto decides to switch back to the built-in. Hard to detect since you still have signals on your recording. Therefore I want to DISABLE the built-in, not just mute it, so that OSX can NEVER re-enable it. How do you do that?

  15. John Oliver says:

    I’ll second the above post… looking for a way to COMPLETELY DISABLE the microphone, so that there is NO WAY for it to “just turn itself back on”, and to lock the slider in the preference pane so a user cannot turn it back on.

  16. osx not good says:

    This is very bad advice

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