Can You Plug A Microphone Into The Headphone Jack of an iPhone?


Can you plug a microphone into the headphone jack of an iPhone

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If you have an iPhone 7 or a later iPhone model you’ll know that it doesn’t have a headphone socket. But if you have an earlier model, like an iPhone SE or 6S, the headphone socket is there. So can you plug a microphone into an iPhone whether it has a 3.5mm jack or not?

Yes, you can plug an external microphone into an iPhone, in fact, any iPhone, whether it has a 3.5mm headphone socket or a lightning connector. However, you may need a TRS to TRRS adapter or the headphone-to-lightning adapter that came with your iPhone.

Can You Plug A Microphone Into The Headphone Jack of an iPhone - Pinterst image

First of all, you need to know there are two types of 3.5mm jacks that microphones might come with. They are the TRRS and TRS jacks.

TRRS vs TRS 3.5mm jacks – What are the differences

TRRS vs TRS 3.5mm jacks

Superficially these 3.5mm jacks look the same. They are both 3.5mm wide and they are the same length. But take a closer look and you’ll see one is divided into four sections while the other has three sections.

Both have a Tip, that’s the T at the start of their names. The next section is called a Ring, that’s the R part. But the TRRS has an extra R, or Ring. Then finally, both have a Sleeve, that’s the S in their names. So a TRS jack has three sections, the same as the number of letters in its names, and a TRRS has four sections, again the same number of letters in its name. TRS may also be called 3-pole jacks and TRRS may also be called 4-pole jacks.

Now that you can identify a TRRS from a TRS jack how about their compatibility?

A microphone with a TRS jack connector will work when it is plugged into a PC, camcorder, or a DSLR/Mirrorless camera. But it won’t work when plugged into an iPhone or iPad.

However, a microphone with a TRRS jack will work when plugged into an iPhone’s, or smartphone’s, headphone socket.

iPhone microphone options

ImageProductDescriptionBuy on Amazon
Rode SC4 TRS to TRRS Adapter
PowerDeWise Lav MicLav Mic with TRRS Jack and TRS adapter
Movo LV1Lav Mic with TRRS Jack
Rode VideoMicroOn-Camera Mic with TRRS Jack
PowerDeWise Video Mic KitOn-Camera Mic with TRRS Jack cable & TRS Jack cable plus smartphone video kit
Movo LV1-DIDigital Lav Mic with Lightning Connector

Connecting a microphone with a TRS jack to your iPhone 

If you have an iPhone with a headphone socket, that’s an iPhone SE or older model, you can plug-in any microphone that has a 3.5mm TRRS connector. However, despite what I said earlier, you can plug a TRS jack into an iPhone’s headphone socket provided you have a TRS to TRRS adapter.

So, can you plug a microphone into a headphone jack on an iPhone? Yes, you can, but be warned, not all TRS to TRRS adapters are compatible with your iPhone.

Audio Technica TRS to TRRS adapter sold with the ATR3350 iS lav mic
Audio Technica TRS to TRRS adapter sold with the ATR3350 iS lav mic

I have a collection of adapters that do not work. Fortunately, a number of microphone manufacturers have produced TRS to TRRS adapters that can make microphones with TRS jacks work with iPhones. These include the RØDE SC4 3.5mm TRS to TRRS microphone cable adaptor and the Movo MC3 3.5mm TRS to TRRS adapter.

Microphones with TRRS jacks designed for iPhones

Over a very short number of years smartphones, especially iPhones, have hugely improved their video capabilities. In response, microphone manufacturers have either launched new microphones to work with smartphones or provided their microphones with TRS to TRRS adapters.

Examples of microphones with 3.5mm TRRS jacks include the Rode smartLav+, Movo LV1 lavalier microphone, and the PowerDeWise lavalier mic. Existing lavalier microphones, like the Audio-Technica ATR3350 have been packaged along with TRS to TRRS adapters so that they can work with the iPhone’s headphone socket.

In addition to lavalier microphones, a number of mini on-camera shotgun mics are now available that can plug into the iPhone’s headphone socket. Examples include the Rode VideoMicro and PowerDeWise Video Mic Kit.

Using 3.5mm mics with iPhones that have a Lightning connector

Since the iPhone 7 the 3.5mm headphone socket has disappeared from all subsequent iPhones. At first sight, you might think that it would be impossible to use a TRRS microphone with a newer iPhone. This is in fact not the case.

These iPhones come with an Apple Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter. If for some reason you do not have an adapter you can buy one online quite inexpensively.

Apple Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter
  • This adapter lets you connect devices that use a 3.5 mm audio plug to your Lightning devices.
  • Works with all devices that have a Lightning connector and support iOS 10 or later, including iPod...

Last update on 2020-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

By using the adapter you can connect microphones with a 3.5mm TRRS jack to the Lightning socket on any iPhone, including pre-iPhone 7 phones that have the Lightning socket. So, if you have an iPhone SE, you can plug your external microphone into the digital lightning socket and still have the headphone socket available for headphones.

Microphones with Lightning connectors

Ther are now some microphones that have Lightning connectors instead of 3.5mm jacks.

If you prefer the on-camera micro shotgun type of microphone take a look at the Saramonic SmartMic+ Di. It has a Lightning connector that connects and secures the microphone to the iPhone.Lavalier mics with Lightning connectors include the lightning lav mic Movo LV1-DI, which is the popular MOVO LV1 converted for use with modern iPhones.

Saramonic SmartMic+ Di L/Weight Smartphone Mic Lightning/m
  • Broadcast-quality directional microphone for smartphones and tablets with Lightning headphone...
  • Ultra-lightweight and compact with a flexible and durable mount that clips to your mobile device
  • 3.5mm headphone output for listening to playback and while recording (app dependent)
  • Simple plug-and-play usage, never requires batteries or charging, ultra-lightweight and compact

Last update on 2020-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

At a higher price, you can find the Apogee ClipMic digital, which is a Sennheiser ME2 microphone with an Apogee 24 bit/96 kHz digital interface designed specifically for Apple devices.

Apogee ClipMic digital
  • Plug and play - connect ClipMic digital to the Lightning port on your iOS device and begin...
  • Sennheiser ME 2 microphone - omni-directional capsule delivers superb clarity and speech...
  • Lightning connector - is Apple MFi Certified to insure reliability.
  • Digital interface - Apogee 24 bit/96 kHz digital interface designed specifically for Apple devices...

Last update on 2020-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

iPhone external microphone FAQ

Can I hook up a microphone to my iPhone?

Yes, you can. Prior to the iPhone 7, you could plug in a microphone with a 3.5mm jack into the headphone socket of the phone. From the iPhone 7 onwards you have to use a microphone with a Lightning connector and plug it into the iPhone’s Lightning socket.

How do I connect an external microphone to my iPhone?

AudioTechnica-TRS-to-TRRS-adapter

If your iPhone has a headphone socket, i.e. an iPhone before the iPhone 7, you can plug a microphone with an iPhone compatible TRRS jack into the phone’s headphone socket.
From the iPhone 7 onwards you can only plug an external device into your iPhone using the Lightning connector on the base of the phone. To use an existing microphone with a TRRS jack you will need to use the TRRS to Lighting adapter that comes with your iPhone. Plug your mic into the adapter and then plug the adapter into the Lighting socket on your iPhone. Alternatively, you can use a microphone whose cable terminates in a Lightning connector and plug this directly into the iPhone’s Lightning socket.

Is there an external microphone for iPhone?

There are numerous external microphones for the iPhone that either have a TRRS or Lightning connector. Typical TRRS mics include the Movo LV1, Saramonic SmartMic, and Comica Smartphone Video Kit CVM-Vm10-K2 with shotgun mic.  
Typical Lightning connector microphones include the Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone, RØDE VideoMic Me-L, and BOYA BY-DM200. Mics with TRRS jacks can be connected to later iPhones by using the headphone to lightning adapter.

Do iPhone earphones have a mic?

Can you plug a microphone into the headphone jack of an iPhone - earbuds CU

iPhone earphones do include a built-in microphone in the in-line remote, which is normally used for making phone calls. However, this can also be used as an input microphone for your video recording app. Apple Airpods also include built-in microphones, and these can be used to record audio by video camera apps that can use Bluetooth microphones , such as FiLMiC Pro.

Tosh Lubek runs an audio and video production business in the UK and has been using the Canon EOS R since it was released in the Autumn of 2018. He has used the camera to shoot TV commercials for Sky TV, promotional business videos, videos of events and functions, and YouTube creator content. He has also won international awards for his advertising and promotional work. You can meet him by visiting his “video booth” at HashTag business events across the country.

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