(Last Updated On: July 22, 2020)

Apple’s proprietary earphones can be used as a mic and headphones on PC and other non-Apple products/applications.

Anyone who uses Apple’s earphones knows the exclusivity of using such a product. The proprietary lightning cable and the optimized hardware for Mac and iOS makes it difficult for people to use Apple’s headphones with any non-Apple product.

Apple Earbuds on a computer
Apple earbuds on a computer (Photo by Sanni Sahil)

Now imagine if you were put in a position where you had no other choice but to use your Apple EarBuds as a mic on PC for an important Skype, Zoom, or Slack call. The compatibility issues with the conflicting devices is more than just a minor inconvenience. It can really make you feel like you’re not making the most out of your Apple headphones.

That’s why we’ve made this step-by-step guide that will not only help you use your Apple earbuds as a mic on PC, but also as your main headphone audio source as well. So keep reading to find out more!

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Can iPhone Headphones Be Used as a Mic on PC?

Although it may not be intended, your Apple headphones can indeed work effectively as a mic on your PC.

However, because most of Apple’s hardware is specifically designed for Macbook and other Apple products, it isn’t surprising that you’ll run into some compatibility issues connecting with non-Apple products.

Connecting your Apple earbuds to your PC won’t be a simple plug and play experience compared to if you were to connect them to your Macbook or iPhone. These earbuds just work more optimally on Apple devices.

There’s no need to worry though! We’ll give you detailed step by step instructions on how to use Apple headphones on PC. Not only will you be able to use them as your main source of audio on PC, but you’ll also be able to use them as a mic as well.

Things You Need to Use Your Apple EarPods as a Mic

  1. Earpods with 3.5mm Plug
  2. Lightning to USB-A Connector
  3. Audio Splitter

1. EarPods with 3.5mm Plug

Apple EarPods with a 3.5mm Jack
Apple EarPods with a 3.5mm Jack

The easiest way to use Apple earbuds as a mic on a PC is to have EarPods that already have a built-in 3.5mm jack. However, if your earbuds use Apple’s proprietary lightning cable, then you’ll need the next item.

2. Lightning to USB-A Connector

A lightning to USB-A audio connector (From: anker.com).
A lightning to USB-A audio connector (From: anker.com).

You’ll need a female lightning cable to USB-A connector if your Apple headphones has a lightning cable and you want to use it as a mic on your PC or laptop. Quite frankly, due to proprietary hardware and manufacturer limitations, this is on the only option available.

Here’s a great lightning to USB-A connector audio adapter and a video of the product for you to check out.

You might be thinking: “why can’t I use female lightning to male 3.5mm adaptors?” These adapters do not exist simply because lightning transmits digital signals while 3.5mm uses analog. The conversion from digital to analog just wouldn’t make sense.

3. Audio Splitter

An audio splitter device (From: ebay.com).
An audio splitter device (From: ebay.com).

An audio splitter is a device that splits a singular audio signal to 2 or more paths, however this device is only really needed if your PC has a dedicated headphone and microphone jack port.

How to Use Your Apple Earbuds as Mic on PC

You’ll find that the process on how to use Apple headphones as a mic on PC has six simple steps.

  1. Connecting Your Apple Headphones to Your PC
  2. Configuring the Audio Settings

Connecting Your Apple Headphones to Your PC

1. Identify the Recording Slot

The first thing you have to do is identify the recording slot of your computer or laptop. Most computers and laptops nowadays have a single audio slot, which means you can simply plug your headphones in. However, some computers still have two separated slots, one dedicated to headphone audio and the other to recording/mic input.

If your PC has two slots and you want to use your Apple earbuds as a mic, simply determine the recording slot which is usually colored in pink and/or marked with a mic symbol.

The microphone and headphone slots on a PC (From: wiki.nus.edu.sg).
The microphone and headphone slots on a PC (From: wiki.nus.edu.sg).

2. Plug Your EarBuds to the Recording Slot

Now that you’ve determined the recording slot of your PC, simply plug in your Apple earbuds to the designated slot.

Plugging in your Apple earphones to a Laptop
Plugging in your Apple earphones to a Laptop

Configuring the Audio Settings

1. Launch the Control Panel

There are many ways for you to open the control panel, but here are the 3 fastest ways to do it.

  1. Left-click the Windows icon at the lower left of the screen or press the Windows key.
  2. Type “control panel” in the search box.
  3. Click on the Control Panel app or “Open
Using Windows search to find the Control Panel
Using Windows search to find the Control Panel
Way 2: Quick Access Menu
  1. Right-click the Windows icon at the lower left of the screen or press Windows key + X.
  2. Click on Control Panel.
Using the Quick Access menu to navigate to the Control Panel
Using the Quick Access menu to navigate to the Control Panel
Way 3: Run
  1. Press Windows key + R.
  2. Type “control panel” in the empty box then click OK or press Enter.
Using the Run window to launch the Control Panel
Using the Run window to launch the Control Panel

2. Locate the “Sound” or “Hardware and Sound

Depending on your PC and/or the version of Windows you’re running, the sound options may be labeled differently. As such, the instructions below are for Windows 10 users.
  1. On the Control Panel, locate and click on Hardware and Sound.
    Locating Hardware and Sound in the Control Panel
    Locating Hardware and Sound in the Control Panel
  2. Click on Sound or Manage audio devices.
    Opening the sound settings in the Control Panel
    Opening the sound settings in the Control Panel

3. Select “Recording” and Find “External Mic”

  1. On the Sound window, click on the Recording tab.
  2. Left-click your Apple headphones (usually named as “High Definition Audio”) and set it as default by clicking the Set Default button.
In most cases, you’ll notice that there is a green check mark on your Apple headphones. This indicates that your computer already detects and is connected with the device.
The green check mark on your Apple headphones indicates that your PC detects it.
The green check mark on your Apple headphones indicates that your PC detects it.

4. Enable Your Apple EarBuds as a Mic

  1. On the Sound window under the Recording tab, click on your Apple headphones.
  2. Once highlighted, click on the Properties button.
  3. On the Microphone Properties window, click on the Levels tab.
  4. Adjust the Microphone Levels and Microphone Boost sliders to fit your personal preference.
  5. Click on Apply, then OK to save the changes.
Although it’s possible to boost your microphone up to 30db, it is not recommended due to factors such as hardware limitations and sacrificing audio quality.
Adjusting the microphone levels and microphone boost.
Adjusting the microphone levels and microphone boost.

In the off chance that your PC doesn’t recognize your Apple headphones, here’s what you should do.

  1. Left-click the Windows icon at the lower left of the screen or press the Windows key.
  2. Type “sound settings” in the search box.
  3. Click on Sound Settings or “Open
  4. Under “Choose your input device”, select your Apple headphones.
Selecting your input device.
Selecting your input device.

How to Use Your Apple EarBuds as Mic for Zoom

Here’s how you can set your Apple earbuds as a mic and headphones for your Zoom calls and meetings.

  1. After you join a Zoom meeting, a window pop-up will prompt you to join or test your audio. Click on “Test speaker and microphone”.
    Zoom's Speaker and Microphone test prompt
    Zoom’s Speaker and Microphone test prompt
  2. A ringtone will be played in order to test your speakers. If you don’t hear it, simply click No or use the drop-down menu to select your Apple headphones until you can hear the ringtone. Click Yes to proceed to the microphone test.
    Testing the speakers in Zoom.
    Testing the speakers in Zoom.
  3. Try speaking normally and Zoom should give you an audio replay using your Apple headphone mic. If you don’t hear anything, click No or use the drop-down menu to select your Apple headphones. Once you can successfully hear yourself, click Yes to proceed.
    Testing the microphone in Zoom.
    Testing the microphone in Zoom.
  4. Finally, click “Join with Computer Audio” to use your Apple headphones as a mic and headphones for Zoom.
    Joining with computer audio after testing speaker and microphone in Zoom.
    Joining with computer audio after testing speaker and microphone in Zoom.

Using Your Apple EarBuds as Your Mic for Slack

If Slack has been granted access to your PC’s chosen default microphone/Apple EarBuds (which is usually the case in most scenarios), then it should automatically be able to recognize your earphones and work as a mic with no problems whatsoever.

However, if you still experience audio issues and people can’t hear you during a Slack call, follow these steps to use the right device.

  1. Start a call by clicking on the phone icon.
    Starting a call on Slack
    Starting a call on Slack
  2. Look at the top left corner of the call window and click on the gear icon.
    Accessing settings during a Slack call
    Accessing settings during a Slack call
  3. Click on your input source and select your Apple EarBuds in the drop-down menu that appears.
    Changing your audio input device on Slack
    Changing your audio input device on Slack
  4. Speak normally and check if the voice meter moves up and down while you’re speaking.

Quick Guide for AirPods Users

It’s important to note that the steps to use AirPods as a mic for your PC differs from the methods we’ve discussed so far. If you tried connecting them to your PC and can’t seem to make the mic work for your calls and applications, here’s what you should do.

When you open up the Device Manager, your AirPods will show up as a “head telephone”.

How to Make Your Apple AirPods Work as a Mic

  1. On the Control Panel, locate and click on Hardware and Sound.
  2. Click on Sound or Manage audio devices.
  3. On the Sound window, click on the Recording tab.
  4. Left-click your Apple headphones (usually named as “High Definition Audio”) and click on the Properties button.
    Opening the microphone properties of your Apple headphones.
    Opening the microphone properties of your Apple headphones.
  5. On the Microphone Properties window, click on the Driver tab.
  6. Lastly, click on Update Driver.

Conclusion

Despite the few compatibility issues that come from using Apple headphones on non-Apple products, these workarounds that we’ve provided can help you use your earbuds on PC for Zoom, Slack, Skype, Discord, and more.

So if you’ve followed the step-by-step instructions and processes correctly, then you should successfully be able to use your Apple headphones as a mic on PC.

How did you find our in-depth guide? Please let us know in the comments below. Still got problems using your Apple EarBuds on PC and for other applications? Feel free to ask us for help! We’ll be happy to assist you.