Hey there! If you’re like most Macbook Air users, you’ve probably tried to locate that tiny built-in microphone at some point and struggled to find it. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. With its super slim and sleek design, Apple has cleverly hidden the microphone on recent Macbook Air models.
In this guide, I’ll show you exactly where to find the microphone on any Macbook Air model. Whether you have an older version from a few years back or just got your hands on the snazzy new M2 chip Macbook, I’ve got you covered. We’ll also chat about what makes the Macbook microphone so special, how to access it, the beamforming technology behind it, and even test out the mic quality. Sound good? Then let’s dive in!
Location of the Microphone on Different Macbook Air Models
The location of the built-in microphone actually varies depending on which Macbook Air you have. Apple has moved the mic around in newer models to accommodate design changes. Here’s a quick overview of where to find it on different versions:
Older Macbook Air Models (Pre-2018)
If you have an older Macbook Air from 2017 or earlier, the microphone is super easy to find. It’s located right next to the headphone jack port on the left side of the laptop. You’ll see a tiny pinhole labeled “Mic” – that’s your guy! Having the mic visibly exposed like this by the ports was a dead giveaway.
2018 – 2020 Macbook Air Models
Starting in 2018, Apple completely redesigned the Macbook Air case. One of the changes was hiding away the microphone internally behind the speaker grills instead of out in the open.
So if you have a 2018, 2019, or 2020 Macbook Air, you’ll find the microphone surreptitiously tucked away under the left speaker grill next to the keyboard. The mic is no longer visible from the outside, but it’s still there under the vents doing its thing. Pretty sneaky, Apple!
M1 and M2 Chip Macbook Air Models (2020 – Present)
The newest Macbook Air models with the super fast M1 and M2 chips launched in 2020 and 2022 have the most concealed microphone yet. Since these sleek new versions don’t have any visible speaker grills, Apple stealthily stashed the mic right between the keyboard and screen.
So if you just got your new hotness Macbook Air with the Apple silicon chip, look at the top of the keyboard – the microphone is embedded right in there, doing its job without being seen. Very covert!
The Macbook Air Microphone Array
Now that you know where to find the microphone on any Macbook Air, let’s talk about what makes this mic so special.
Starting with the 2018 redesign, the Macbook Air microphone actually uses multiple microphones built into an array. This means that instead of just one microphone, there are 2 or 3 embedded into the laptop.
The microphones work together using a technology called beamforming to enhance audio quality and pickup. The beamforming basically means that the mics combine their signals to zero in on your voice and minimize background noise. Pretty high tech!
This tiny microphone array gives the Macbook advanced voice pickup capabilities rivaling much larger professional mics. The beamforming focuses directly on your voice to deliver super crisp audio for videos, calls, dictation and Siri requests.
So while the Macbook Air mic may be concealed out of sight, it performs like a pro!
Controlling and Accessing the Microphone
Now that you know where the mic is hiding and what it can do, let’s talk about how to control access and test it out.
You can choose which apps on your Mac are allowed to use the microphone in your System Preferences:
- Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences
- Click Security & Privacy, then select the Privacy tab
- Under Microphone, check or uncheck apps to allow/deny access
You can also test if your microphone is working properly right in your settings:
- Open System Preferences > Sound
- Go to the Input tab
- Speak into the mic and check the Input Level for activity
Another handy way to test the microphone is using QuickTime audio recording:
- Open QuickTime and click File > New Audio Recording
- Click the record button and speak into the mic
- Play it back to check the audio quality
If you can hear your voice coming through clearly, your Macbook Air mic is working perfectly!
Microphone Quality and Intended Use
You may be wondering – how good can this teeny built-in microphone actually be? Surprisingly, Apple has optimized it incredibly well!
The beamforming microphone array provides shockingly crisp, full-bodied audio for all your voice needs. It picks up the subtle tones and textures of your voice far better than cheap external mics. You really have to hear it to appreciate the clarity.
Of course, it’s not designed for recording pro music or complex audio effects – for that an external professional mic would be better. But for calls, videos, voice commands and dictation, the Macbook Air’s mic array is awesome.
The bottom line is that for the intended uses – communicating and talking to your laptop – the built-in mic is designed to deliver crystal clear voice quality and performance. For most users’ needs, the Macbook Air microphone is pretty darn great!
Here are some quick answers to a few other common questions about Macbook microphones:
- Do Macbook Pros have microphone arrays? Yes, Macbook Pros also include built-in multi-microphone arrays with beamforming technology.
- Where is the microphone located on Macbook Pros? The mic array on Macbook Pros is in the same place as the 2018-2020 Macbook Airs, hidden beneath the left speaker grill adjacent to the keyboard.
- Did older Macbook models have microphone arrays? No, only the 2018 redesign and later include the advanced microphone arrays. Earlier models just had a single visible microphone port.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully now you know exactly where to find that sneaky Macbook Air microphone, no matter which model you have!
The key points to remember are:
- Older models have a single visible mic port
- 2018 and later hide the mic array under the speaker grills
- M1/M2 models have the mic stealthily embedded between the keyboard and screen
Plus, you now know these are not just ordinary mics, but super smart arrays leveraging beamforming for crystal clear voice pickup.
So the next time you need to jump on a call or ask Siri a question, you’ll know where that voice-enhancing microphone is hiding on your Macbook Air!