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How to Connect an External Microphone to an iPhone?

Are you a vlogger or podcaster looking to make professional videos? If so, you’ll know that high-quality audio production is an important part of the process.

Many content creators use an iPhone to capture video and audio. The video quality that iPhones can capture is indeed more than up to the task. But, the same cannot be said for the built-in microphone that they come with.

If you want the quality of your audio to match the quality of your video, you’ll need to invest in a decent external microphone. You’ll also need to know how to connect an external microphone to an iPhone. So, let’s take a look at that, along with the different types of mics and the correct accessories to use.



The Problem with the iPhone Built-In Mic

The standard built-in microphone of an iPhone is what’s known as omnidirectional. It’s designed to capture noise coming from all directions. 

If your primary audio requirement is to capture your voice, you don’t want it to be drowned out by any background noise. Regardless if you are outside or in a noisy indoor environment.

Omnidirectional microphones are good if you only have one microphone that needs to capture the audio of multiple people. However, for solo monologues, you probably don’t want any excess noise from your surroundings to compete with.

On top of that…

The internal microphone isn’t very good at capturing audio if you need to stand further away from the phone. Especially if there’s noise to compete with.

Accessories Needed

As you can imagine, there are a ton of external microphones for iPhones available. You’ll need to make sure the mic you buy is compatible with your specific iPhone. You will also need the right accessories. This will vary slightly depending on your model of iPhone.

The accessories needed to make the connection will depend on two things. Those will be if your iPhone has:

  1. A 3.5mm headphone port and a Lightning port.
  2. Only a Lightning port. 

If there is no headphone socket, then you’ll have to use the lightning port. Additionally, this means you have to use adapters. With that said, let’s find out how to connect an external microphone to an iPhone in greater detail.

Connecting TRRS Microphones to an iPhone

Just because your iPhone has a 3.5mm headphone jack, doesn’t mean that it will record audio from any mic that has a 3.5mm connector. iPhones will accept headphones with both TRS and TRRS jacks (both 3.5mm). 

But, if your external mic has a TRS connector, even though it will plug in just fine, it won’t be able to record the audio. Instead, it will revert to the internal mic. With this setup, the audio will only travel in one direction. That is why TRS headphones will work, but TRS external microphones won’t.

Fortunately, the majority of external microphones use a 3.5mm TRRS jack too. In this scenario, you don’t need any adapters. You can just connect the two 3.5mm jacks using TRRS connectors.

Connecting TRS Microphones to an iPhone

Connecting TRS Microphones

However, if your external mic has a 3.5mm TRS connector, then you will need a TRS to TRRS adapter to record, such as this Movo MC3 3.5mm TRS to TRRS Adapter. Simply connect the mic to the TRS side of the adapter, and then connect your phone to the TRRS side.

For newer iPhones without a 3.5mm jack, you’ll have to use the Lightning socket. Therefore, you will need a TRS to TRRS adapter. Same as above, plug your TRS mic into the TRS end of the adapter. Then connect a Lightning jack to 3.5mm adapter into the TRRS end.

Luckily, most external microphones have a TRRS connection. So, you will only have to use the Lightning to 3.5mm jack connector if you have a newer iPhone without a headphone socket.

Connecting Lavalier Microphones to an iPhone

Lavalier microphones are those small external mics that can be attached via a clip to clothing. Therefore, these mics pick up audio very close to its source. They are subtle and easy to use and are the perfect companion for vloggers on the move or for conducting an interview.

You can connect a lavalier microphone to an iPhone with a 3.5mm jack without the need for any kind of adapter. If you have a later model iPhone without the headphone jack, then you will need the above-mentioned JSAUX [Apple MFi Certified] Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter.

If you are recording on the move…

You can make things even more convenient by getting a wireless, lavalier microphone. They connect via Bluetooth to a receiver that’s connected to your iPhone. This allows you to move up to 50 feet away.

However, the receiver has an XLR output. Therefore, you will need to connect it to an XLR to TRRS adapter, such as this Saramonic SR-XLR35 Mic to 1/8″ (3.5mm) TRRS (Sr-XLR35) to connect it to your iPhone. Your lavalier microphone should come with all the necessary equipment.

Connecting Condenser Microphones to an iPhone

For those making content in an indoor environment, a condenser microphone will give you the best possible results whether you are using an iPhone or anything else.

These are the kind of microphones the professionals use. So, if you are looking to take your content’s audio to the next level, this is the best external microphone for an iPhone to get.

Why is that?

Condenser microphones pick up a wider spectrum of frequencies when compared to other external microphones. This makes them more sensitive; therefore, they can be used for a broad array of applications.

Conversely, they are far more expensive than lavalier microphones. But, when you hear the results, you will understand why.

Setting up Condenser Microphones Requires Practice

Requires Practice

To connect a condenser microphone to an iPhone, you will need a soundboard. This will enable you to connect multiple mics and fine-tune the various frequency levels and the audio level. 

It’s a pretty complicated process to set up a condenser microphone to a soundboard and an iPhone. Furthermore, this will probably cause those with no audio experience a few headaches.

You’ll need the following to establish a connection:

As long as everything is connected properly, you’ll have the best possible audio recording setup that you can achieve using an iPhone.

Avoid Using Non-Apple Headphone Adapters

Regardless of what type of external microphone you want to use, it’s best to stick with the official Apple adapters when setting up an external microphone. By Apple standards, they are incredibly cheap, and you can be 100% sure that audio can travel both ways when using them. 

This is important if you want to record as well as listen using these adapters. They also last a lot longer than cheaper copies which are not made to the same standard. And, aren’t always guaranteed to be recognized by your iPhone.

Looking for Great Mics and Recording Equipment?

We can help with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Lavalier Microphones, the Best Condenser Microphones, the Best Interview Microphones, the Best Wireless Microphones, the Best Live Vocal Mics, and the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals you can buy in 2023.

Also, take a look at our comprehensive reviews of the Best iOS Microphones, the Best iPad Audio Interfaces, the Best Portable Audio Recorders, the Best Multitrack Recorder, the Best Cheap Voice Recorder, and the Best Portable Vocal Booths currently on the market.

How to Connect an External Microphone to an iPhone – Final Thoughts

Now, you are equipped with the knowledge of how to connect external microphones to an iPhone. All you have to do is work out which type of mic will best suit your needs.

What type of content you are creating? 

If the situation doesn’t require it, there’s no point in getting the most professional and expensive setup out there. Lavalier mics will offer good enough audio quality for most requirements, especially if you’re recording on the move.

However, if you want to take your indoor sound recording to a professional level, then a condenser microphone can pair up with an iPhone extremely well.

Whatever you choose, a good external microphone is a must if you want to take your content’s audio quality to the next level. Hopefully, the elevated audio standard will be matched by the overall quality of your content. Good luck on your quest to become the new Joe Rogan.

Until next time, make yourself heard.

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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