How to Change the Microphone or Speakers to Use on a Mac

There are several ways to change the audio input and output settings on your Mac to use a different microphone or set of speakers.


iMac on the desktop with speakers

Changing your Mac’s sound settings to use a different speaker or microphone might seem like a simple task, and it is, but Apple offers several solutions to the same problem. Sometimes too many choices can make it difficult to make a decision.

Whether you prefer to access Settings from the menu bar or System Preferences, we have a workable solution. Let’s see how to change audio input and output devices in macOS.

Change audio input and output from the menu bar

Accessing your Mac’s audio controls from the main menu bar is one of the quickest ways to switch input and output devices. By default, macOS will only show the volume icon when an external speaker or microphone is active. However, you can activate this function permanently in your His preferences.

Here’s how to add a missing volume icon to your Mac’s main menu bar:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Sound.
  2. Check Show sound in menu bar.
  3. Switch to one or the other still or when active.
    mac-sound-preferences

Once the volume icon appears in the menu bar, you can click it to quickly switch input and output device at any time. However, the microphone setting does not appear automatically.

To direct sound to an external speaker or headphones, simply click the Volume icon and select the new output device. But to change the input method to a different microphone, you’ll need to hold the Options key before clicking. Otherwise, the parameter remains hidden.

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Change audio input and output from Control Center

If you don’t want extra icons cluttering your Mac’s menu bar, you can use the macOS Control Center to access the same audio input and output settings.

Here’s how to change audio input and output devices using the Mac Control Center:

  1. Click it Control center icon in the menu bar.
  2. Click it sound panel. If you want to change input, you will have to hold the Options key by clicking.
    Mac Control Center Panel
  3. Select a new input or output device.
    Mac audio panel with input and output devices

Change audio input and output from sound preferences

Accessing your Mac’s audio controls from Sound preferences offers a few more options, including speaker balance for output and microphone sensitivity for input. Although changing the settings in this way adds a few extra steps to the process, the additional commands can be useful.


Here’s how to switch input and output devices from Mac Sound preferences:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Sound.
  2. Click either Production or Grab.
  3. Select a new input or output device. The relevant parameters should appear at the bottom of the window.
    Mac Audio Preferences Output Panel

If you’re having audio issues, you can take action in these preferences to identify the cause and fix the audio issues.

Many Ways to Access Audio Settings in macOS

When you’ve paired a Bluetooth speaker or microphone, macOS will usually automatically connect to that device as soon as it’s available. If, however, your Mac isn’t reading your mind accurately and sending the audio to the wrong place, using the volume icon, Control Center, or System Preferences to make the change is a quick and easy fix. .


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Steven L. Nielsen