iPhone microphone not working? Here’s the fix!

iPhone Microphone Not Working How to Fix the Issue

The microphone is one of the essential elements of your iPhone; calls, video recordings, audio notes, and other various apps depend on it. And when your iPhone microphone isn’t working properly, almost every experience is crippled.

But why suffer when these quick and easy fixes can resolve the iPhone microphone not working issue in minutes.  

Inspect the microphone on your iPhone

iPhones have multiple microphones to enhance sound input. On modern models, they’re located at the bottom (near the speaker grill), rear (near the back camera), and in the front (inside the earpiece grill). The list below tells you the exact number.

  • iPhone 8, X, and later – 3 microphones
  • iPhone 6s, 6s+, 7, and 7 plus – 4 microphones
  • iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 plus, and SE (1st generation) – 3 microphones
  • iPhone 4 and 4s – 2 microphones
  • Original iPhone, iPhone 3G, 3GS – 1 microphone
Microphone Placement on iPhone
Image Courtesy: Verizon

Now let’s perform some quick microphone tests.

Note: These tests assume your iPhone’s speakers are working properly. You can also use headphones if your speakers are damaged.

1. Test the primary bottom microphone

Suppose someone on the other end has difficulty hearing you over standard calls and FaceTime. To address this, let’s take a moment to check whether the iPhone’s bottom microphone is working or not.

Open Voice Memos and tap on the red record button. Now hold your iPhone horizontal to your mouth and speak in the bottom (near the microphone hole). After 10-15 seconds, press the same red button to stop recording. Now, play the voice note. If you clearly hear what you recorded, congratulations, your primary microphone is functioning correctly.

2. Test the front and back microphones

Open Camera and swipe to VIDEO. Press the shutter button to start recording. Now, speak into the top of your iPhone. After a few seconds, stop recording.

Now, switch to your iPhone’s front-facing camera. Record a new video while speaking normally at the top side of the device. Next, play both videos. If you hear your voice clearly, the front and rear microphones are working correctly.

Did your iPhone pass both microphone tests above? If so, please keep reading; we’ll most likely solve the issue. In case either test failed, you may have to contact Apple Support and get the device inspected (more on this later.)

8 Solutions to fix an iPhone microphone that isn’t working

  1. Clean the iPhone microphones
  2. Restart your iPhone
  3. Give the app microphone access
  4. Disconnect Bluetooth headsets and wired headphones
  5. Disable noise cancellation
  6. Update to the latest version of iOS
  7. Reset all settings
  8. Contact Apple Support

1. Clean the iPhone microphones

The microphone holes are tiny, and thus it takes special care to clean them. Use a soft brush of any kind (it can be a toothbrush) to scrub the grills carefully. When you do so, make sure to hold the iPhone in such a way that gravity gets to do its job. For example, if you are cleaning the bottom microphone, try to hold the phone vertically so that the dirt easily falls down.

After this, take a few minutes to carefully clean the 3.5 mm headphone jack or the Lightning port.

Note: Make sure your case or screen protector isn’t blocking the microphone holes.

2. Restart your iPhone

In the solutions above, we looked at the hardware side of things. Now, what if the microphones aren’t functioning due to a software glitch?

The first fix is to restart your iPhone. Yes, an action as simple as turning off your device and switching it back on can take care of several small problems!

3. Give the app microphone access

Applications need your consent before they can access your iPhone’s microphones. Usually, when you open the app for the first time or perform an in-app activity that requires the mic, you see a popup asking for your permission. In case you chose Don’t Allow, here’s how to reverse it:

  1. Open Settings and tap Privacy.
  2. Tap Microphone.

    Tap on Privacy in Settings app then tap Microphone
  3. Turn on the toggle for the desired app to allow access to the microphones.

    Enable Microphone Access for iPhone App

Additional Method: Settings → tap on the app name → toggle on microphone access. Next, force close the app and relaunch it.

4. Disconnect Bluetooth headset and wired headphones

We’re humans, and as such, we often forget things. Sometimes you may try to play music, watch a video, make calls, or send a voice note only to find that things aren’t working. This may be because a Bluetooth headset is connected to the iPhone and routing the voice to it, as well as using the on-headset microphone. To tackle this, here’s how to disconnect wireless earphones.

  1. Open Settings and tap Bluetooth.
  2. Toggle it off. This will disconnect all Bluetooth devices.

    Turn Off Bluetooth from iPhone Settings
  3. If you don’t want to turn Bluetooth off, tap on the information icon (i) next to the specific wireless headphone. On the next screen, tap Disconnect.

    Disconnect Bluetooth Headphones on iPhone

Tip: If you use AirPods, tap on the info icon (i) and make sure the toggle for Automatic Ear Detection is on. This will ensure that whenever the buds are connected but not in your ear, they won’t output sound to it or use its microphone. Additionally, you can also tap on Microphone and customize the settings, if needed.

For wired headphones, unplug them. After this, the iPhone’s main microphones will be used for calls and other related functions.

5. Disable noise cancellation

In some situations, like when on phone calls, it may help if you go against the norm and turn off noise cancellation. Here’s how:

  1. Inside Settings, tap Accessibility.
  2. Tap Audio/Visual.

    Inside Accessibility Settings tap on Audio Visual
  3. Disable Phone Noise Cancellation.

    Turn Off Phone Noise Cancellation

6. Update to the latest version of iOS

We remind you to update your iPhone in almost all guides. It fixes bugs, introduces new features, and enhances the experience. Since you’re facing microphone troubles, it’s a good idea to check for pending software updates and install it, if any.

7. Reset all settings

Restoring your iPhone to default settings is a catch all for problems like this. Performing this action won’t delete personal data like music, photos, videos, or apps.

However, all settings that you’ve changed will be removed. This includes Wi-Fi passwords, saved Bluetooth devices, your Home screen layout, notifications, privacy settings, etc.

  1. Launch Settings and tap General.
  2. Tap Reset.
  3. Tap Reset All Settings.
  4. Enter your iPhone passcode and confirm the action.

    Reset All Settings on iPhone

8. Contact Apple Support

Finally, if none of the above solutions work for you, it’s time to contact the big folks! The crux is, if your iPhone microphones aren’t working due to software issues, the above steps (and restores) can take care of it.

But if there’s a physical fault with the circuit board, connectors, or microphones, your options boil down to visiting an Apple Store or authorized service center.

I hope these solutions were helpful and fixed your broken iPhone microphone. If you have any other questions, feel free to put them in the comments down below.

Microphones are interesting! We can’t perform basic tasks like calls, video chats, or video recordings without them. And at the same time, we may be uncomfortable thinking the HomePod, Alexa, Google Home, or other smart devices might continuously be listening to our private conversations!

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Anoop loves to find solutions for all your doubts on Tech. When he's not on his quest, you can find him on Twitter talking about what's in his mind.

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