Where Is the Microphone on MacBook? (MacBook Pro, MacBook Air)

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Similar to many tech companies, Apple has made many iterations to its line of laptops, Apple MacBooks, over the years. And the majority of the iterations mostly have got to do with improving performance alongside design and accessibility. 

This applies to the built-in microphones (and their overall module design) on all MacBooks models as well. 

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There is no denying the fact that Apple has made a number of changes to the placement of the microphone modules, the types of microphones, and the number of microphones used in MacBooks over the years. 

But the overall common microphone placement position that the tech company has used over the years is near the built-in speakers. 

This mainly has got to do with the fact that using the built-in microphones near the speakers shortens the distance of the voice of the user. This results in better reception of the human voice which, in turn, improves the performance of the apps. 

Common microphone placement in MacBook Air models

In most Apple MacBook Air models, Apple has used one or more microphones on the left side of the speaker grill, near to the function key. 

Image credit: Apple Support

Common microphone placement in MacBook Pro models 

Similar to most Apple MacBook Air models, Apple has placed built-in microphones near the speaker grill in most MacBook Pro models. 

Image credit: Apple Support 

Where is the microphone on MacBook: Solved for generation-wise MacBooks

Here’s a brief look at the built-in microphone placements in MacBook Air and Pro models of different generations: 

1. Microphones on MacBook Air (2010- 2011 model) 

Apple has used a single built-in microphone unit on MacBook Air models of the 2010 and 2011 generations. 

Image credit: ifixit 

The built-in microphone in MacBook Air (2010 to 2011 model) is detachable from the circuit board via a dedicated connector. Apple has followed the same design and mechanism in other MacBook Air and Pro models as well. 

Image credit: ifixit

2. Microphones on MacBook Air M1 (2020 model)

Apple has taken a huge leap forward in the microphone department in MacBook Air M1. Apple has now designed the microphones to smartly power audio calls, video calls, notifications, and Siri commands. 

Image credit: Apple 

There is now not just one but three dedicated built-in microphones that are located under the left speaker grille. 

Image credit: ifixit

Similar to older models, the entire microphone module can be detached from the logic board. 

Image credit: ifixit

3. Microphones on MacBook Pro (2018 model)  

Apple has placed built-in microphones under the right speaker grille in MacBook Pro (2018 model).  

Image credit: ifixit

Apple has used the same built-in microphone placement in MacBook Pro 2019 model with Touch Bar. 

4. Microphones on MacBook Pro M1 (2020 model)

According to Apple, the new MacBook Pro M1 (2020 model) now uses high-quality, studio-grade built-in microphones. 

Image credit: Apple

Similar to the MacBook Air M1 (2020 model), the MacBook Pro M1 (2020 model) uses three discreet built-in microphones that improve the overall audio reception of the laptop. 

Image credit: ifixit

Cover the microphone in MacBook

From the large volumes of online search queries, it is clear that many people want to either disable or cover the microphones in their MacBook. 

There are many online search queries such as “How do I hide my microphone dictation in MacBook?” and “Can I cover my microphone in MacBook?” 

If you are having similar queries, we recommend checking out the pointers below: 

1. Why cover the microphone in MacBook?

Many people want to temporarily disable the microphones in their MacBook or physically cover them in order to protect their privacy. 

While it is not entirely clear, Apple does claim that the macOS (including the latest version, macOS Monterey) is one of the most secure computer operating systems around the world. 

And if this is legitimately true, there should be no privacy concerns even if the microphones on the latest MacBooks are constantly on for enabling “Hey Siri” dictation. 

2. How to cover the microphone in a MacBook?

If you aren’t entirely justified by Apple’s claims on privacy protection, you can ensure safety at your end and protect your privacy at all costs.

You can do this by simply covering the microphone in your MacBook. There is no right or wrong way to do this; you can use sticky tapes, cloth pieces, or playdough to block the sound holes that the microphones use for audio reception. 

3. Disable the microphone in MacBook

If you do not prefer physically covering the microphone and instead disabling them at the software level, there are plenty of ways to do it.

To make sure that you do not damage the configuration of your MacBook and the software level, we recommend following the microphone controls guidelines from Apple itself. Check out this Apple support page

Benefits of built-in microphones in MacBooks

Although many people consider the built-in microphones to be a threat to privacy, they actually do a good job of improving the overall performance of MacBooks. 

What’s more interesting to know is that Apple has powered the built-in microphones on the latest MacBook Air M1 and Pro M1 models with smart AI capabilities. 

The three directional beamforming built-in microphones on MacBook Air M1 and MacBook Pro M1 are designed to focus on your voice and cancel out background noise. This helps in clear reception of the audio which, in turn, improves “Hey Siri” commands, voice note dictations, and audio and video call experiences. 

Microphone features in MacBook Air M1 2020

Image credit: Apple

Microphone features in MacBook Pro

Image credit: Apple

MacBook microphone tests

If you are planning to buy a new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro and want to have a good idea of how the microphone performs like, we have got you covered. 

1. M1 MacBook Air v.s. M1 MacBook Pro microphone test – check it out here

2. Intel MacBook v.s. M1 Macbook Air & Pro microphone test – check it out here

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