Enhanced Compatibility – Using Apple Headphones as a Mic on PC

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Can you Use Apple Headphones as a Microphone on PC

Apple has always differentiated itself from Microsoft and other brands, going the extra mile at times to ensure that its products are fully compatible only with the iOS eco-system. A prime example of that are headphones. Although Apple’s wired headphones do connect to android devices and PCs, they aren’t fully compatible at times.

This begs the question; can you use apple headphones as a mic on PC?

In 2019, Apple’s AirPods dominated the headphones market with sales amounting to an average of 54.5% of 33 million wireless units sold throughout the year. However, more than 77% users preferred a Windows operating system compared to 13% MacOS X users in July 2019. This means people are more likely to try and use Apple’s headphones on a Windows PC.

Can you Use Apple Headphones as a Mic on PC?

Fortunately, the answer to the question is a resounding yes. Not only can you use your Apple headphones on PC for sound without it acting up, they can also be used as a mic on PC. However, using them as a microphone won’t be as simple as it is on iOS devices – they aren’t plug and play on the first go.

AirPods

Apple has always strived to make its product as user-friendly as possible. AirPods, ever since their release, have been famous for being as simple as connecting a Bluetooth device to iOS, Android devices, and PCs alike for Audio output.

Although when you connect them to a PC, it shows up in the Device Manager as a “head telephone”. Some users have complained that the mic doesn’t work with Skype, Discord, Steam, or other applications. To make them work, you are going to have to;

  • Right click on the Volume Icon in the bottom right corner of your screen
  • Go to Recording Devices
  • Here you’ll see a list of connected devices. Choose your AirPods
  • If they are grayed out, click on Properties or try disconnecting and reconnecting them.
  • A popup will open with information about your AirPod’s mic. Click on Properties
  • Choose the Driver tab in the next popup and Update Driver.

Once done, you should be able to use your AirPods as a microphone easily. You are, however, going to have to invest in a Bluetooth device for PC, if you don’t have one already.

Remember, functionality of hardware devices is entirely dependent on the software versions and hardware configuration of your PC. What works for others might not work for you and vice versa.

Wired Headphones

Where AirPods can connect easily to PC via Bluetooth for audio output, the same cannot be said for wired Apple headphones. Users have complained of frequent disconnection, distortions, and other problems with the audio output. The input is non-existent altogether unless you play with the settings a little.

How to Use Apple Headphones as a Microphone on PC

Configure Your PC’s Audio Settings

For wired headphones, you can follow the same steps as mentioned above for AirPods with one key change. Where you don’t necessarily have to select your AirPods as default in order to use them for audio input or output, you have to do so for wired headphones.

You can find the option to select as default input device in the Recording panel to select it as the default mic.

To ensure smooth audio output,

  • Right click on the Volume Icon
  • Go to Playback devices
  • Select your headphones (they might just be showing up as speakers). Try all of them out just to be sure.
  • Click on Set Default.

Use a Headphone-Mic splitter

Unfortunately, most full-sized desktop PCs, be it servers or gaming rigs, have two separate 3.5mm ports for input and output. This means that you can’t use your headphones or earbuds as an output or input device at once.

This is not something a software patch or an at-home work-around can fix. To fix this, you are going to have to buy a separate adapter; a headphone-mic splitter. This can either be in the form of a cable or a small port with one female and two male 3.5mm ports.

It is natural to get attached to a selected headset or earbuds. While Apple has definitely made it difficult for their headphones to be used outside their eco-system, it is possible. So, before you go out to invest in another pair of headphones that works with your PC, you should follow the above-mentioned steps on how you can use Apple headphones as a mic on PC.

 

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