How to use iPhone external microphone?

Many iPhone users are using their smartphone for making videos for various applications and vlogging. Though the iPhone has an internal microphone the audio quality is not very good. Also they cannot customize the inbuilt microphone according to the application, especially if the user is recording interviews or a person speaking. Hence many iPhone users are interested in finding out how to connect an iPhone external microphone, whether any additional hardware will be required, the procedure for recording the audio and other considerations for using a microphone with an iPhone.

iPhone model

Users should be aware that the hardware required for connecting an iPhone external microphone will depend to a large extent on the iPhone model. Till iPhone 7 the user could connect the external microphone to the audio jack or lightning socket using an adapter. However, users should be aware that they cannot plug in any 3.5 mm audio jack, they should only connect a 3.5 mm TRRS jack. TRRS stands for Tip/Ring/Ring/Sleeve and indicates the number of conductors in the jack. In iPhone and later models the microphone jack can be only connected to the lightning socket using an adapter. 


While the iPhone allows connection using the lightning connector or audio jack, the connector used in the external microphone will vary greatly depending on the brand and model number. Some of the microphones have a TRS (Tip/Ring/Sleeve) connector while others with better quality audio have a TRRS connector for the left and right audio signal, microphone channel. Increasingly TRRS connectors are being used in microphones for iPhone. To connect the microphone to the iPhone, it is necessary to purchase a suitable iPhone external microphone adapter after consider the connection in the iPhone and the microphone.

Typically a good external microphone for iPhone 7 and later models will have a 3.5 mm TRRS connector for high quality audio. Hence it is advisable to purchase a quality TRRS to lightning adapter to transmit the microphone audio to the iPhone for further processing. In some cases, the microphone has a TRS connector so a suitable TRS to lightning adapter is required. Some of the professional microphones have a XLR connector so in some cases multiple adapters to connect XLR to TRRS and then TRRS to lightning may be required. Additionally an extension cable may be also required, especially if the microphone is kept some distance from the iPhone.

Recording audio

The user should first connect the iPhone to the microphone using the cables and adapter. Then the iPhone user can start recording the audio using the app for the microphone used. In some cases, the audio may not get recorded properly, so the user should check if there is any kind of connection problem.A few microphones have a lightning connection, so no adapter will be required for these microphones. For iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, Apple was shipping the TRRS to lightning adapter free of cost, however, in later models this accessory has to be paid for separately. It is advisable to purchase adapter, cables and other accessories from reputed brands since they offer a warranty.

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