How to Connect an External Microphone to an iPhone?

You can connect an external microphone directly to an iPhone if you have the necessary cables and adapters to make it work. You can also use an audio interface, but you’ll still need the proper cables and adapters to pull it off. 

This post will show you how to connect an external microphone to an iPhone. I’ll walk you through the steps to make this happen and provide you with some other information to keep in mind to use a mic with your iPhone. 

Let’s get rolling. 

Key Takeaways

  • Some microphones are available that are designed to be used with an iPhone, and you can plug them directly into the charging jack. 
  • You can connect another microphone if you have the necessary adapters and cables to make this happen. 
  • Using an audio interface will result in better sound quality than just using a microphone plugged directly into your phone. But you’ll still need to use the proper cables and adapters to make this work. 

How to Connect an External Microphone to an iPhone

There are several ways to connect an external microphone to an iPhone. They are all pretty easy, but some require you to get the cables and cords to make it happen. 

Let’s take a quick look at a basic microphone cable to show you how to connect it to your iPhone. Most microphones connect to an XLR cord, the standard mic cable. You’ll need to connect this to your iPhone to record using that mic. 

Since the charging port in your iPhone is not a standard mic line input, you need to turn that XLR cord into the output that will plug into your phone. You’ll need a few adapters to do this, which I’ll walk you through in the sections below. 

But first, let’s start with the easiest way to connect an external microphone to an iPhone. 

Method 1 – Connect the External Microphone Directly to iPhone

If you get a microphone built to work with the iPhone, you’ll have the easiest time connecting everything. You don’t need any special equipment to make this happen. You just have to get your hands on a microphone that works. 

Microphones built for the iPhone will have an output that plugs directly into the charging jack of your iPhone. Simply plug in the cord, and you should be ready to go. You might need to power on the Mic or plug it in. 

Once you have the microphone plugged in, you can begin recording. Open any recording app that you have to start. GarageBand and Voice Memos are built-in apps on the iPhone you can use to get started. 

You’ll still want to do a sound check to ensure you get good recording levels before recording anything important. But the setup for connecting an external microphone to an iPhone is as simple as plug and play. 

Method 2 – Use Cords/Adapters to Connect External Microphone to iPhone

If you don’t have an external microphone that can plug directly into your iPhone, you can still make it happen. You’ll just need to use some extra cables and adapters to get the connection from the mic to the iPhone. 

As I explained earlier, a standard microphone cable is called an XLR. If you have a regular microphone, you can plug an XLR cord directly into it. This leaves you with another XLR end, which doesn’t plug into an iPhone. 

Next, you’ll need to use an XLR to ¼-inch adapter. This will plug into the open end of your mic cord and turn it into a ¼-inch jack, similar to what you see on guitar cables and other microphone gear. 

Then, you’ll need to get a ¼-inch to ⅛-inch adapter. This will turn the ¼-inch cable into a ⅛-inch output, which is the standard size for most headphones jacks. But your iPhone doesn’t have a ⅛-inch jack, does it? 

Enter the mighty dongle. This is the now commonly used adapter that turns a ⅛-inch jack into the lighting output that plugs directly into your iPhone. With that attached, you now have the mic connected to your iPhone. 

So let’s review the chain of action here, starting from the external microphone and ending with the iPhone: 

Microphone-XLR cable-XLR to ¼-inch adapter-¼-inch to ⅛-inch adapter-⅛-inch adapter to dongle-dongle to iPhone.

That might seem like a lot of different connections to make this happen. But unless you know of an XLR to iPhone jack adapter or any other way to slim down the chain, it’s what you’ll be stuck working with. 

Also, keep in mind that some microphones might need a power source to turn on, which your iPhone isn’t likely to provide. If this happens, you still might not be able to use the microphone with your iPhone, even if you get all the connections in place. 

Method 3 – Use an External Audio Interface to Connect External Microphone to iPhone

If you have an external audio interface, you’ll be able to get better sound quality than just connecting a microphone directly to an iPhone. Not everyone will have one, but if you are a musician or producer, you likely will. 

Connecting a microphone to an audio interface is easy. You just need to plug the mic directly into the microphone inputs on the interface. 

The next step is figuring out how to connect the interface to your iPhone. This can be pretty straightforward or slightly complex, depending on which outputs your audio interface comes equipped with. 

All interfaces are different, so there’s no way to tell which outputs you’ll have. But you are likely to have a ¼-inch output. From there, you can connect a ¼-inch to ⅛-inch adapter and then a dongle to that, just like in Method 2 above. 

With that in mind, let’s look at the chain to use an audio interface to connect a microphone to your iPhone:

Microphone to XLR cord- XLR to audio interface-¼-inch cable from audio interface to ⅛-inch adapter-⅛-inch adapter to dongle-dongle to iPhone. 

Do You Need an External Microphone for iPhone?

Do you regularly create a vlog, record yourself singing or playing an instrument, tape interviews, create podcasts, or any other number of pursuits where you find yourself relying on your iPhone’s microphone?

If so, you’re in the prime position to get an external mic. It’ll step up your sound quality immediately, which can be a huge help by easing any strain on listeners and making it easier for you to tell how you’re actually performing.

It can even assist in simple circumstances such as when tuning your instrument with an app or recording a voice memo in a busy space.

But if the only time you use your microphone is when you make a call, an external mic probably isn’t the best choice for you and will end up sitting in your desk’s “stuff” drawer.

How to Choose an External Microphone for iPhone

Here are a few key things that you should consider:


Depending on your intended use for your microphone, you’ll be comfortable with different levels of portability and shape.

For example, if you want to use your mic only at home, you might be fine with a small converter for use with larger desktop mics, but if you plan to record yourself out in the field you might want something much smaller that can fold up in your pocket or clip onto your shirt.

Recording Pattern

When recording audio, there are multiple microphone patterns that affect the sound quality and are optimized for specific uses.

The most common polar patterns are cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo, and each offers different pros and cons. You’ll want to research which is best for your intended microphone use, but we’ll get you started with some information in the “Tips and Tricks”.

Recording Quality

The recording quality of your microphone will be measured in bits/kHz, and a higher number indicates a higher sound quality.

However, the format of your final file could end up making this number obsolete, so if you don’t plan on getting pretty technical with your recording then you shouldn’t worry about small numerical differences.


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to connecting an external microphone to an iPhone. 

Do USB mics work on iPhone? 

Not all USB mics will work on an iPhone because it doesn’t have enough power to run them. You’ll need to find a way to power up the USB microphone if you want to use it with your iPhone. An adapter might help solve this issue. 

Does iPhone have a mic input? 

The iPhone only has one input, which is not technically a mic input. You can connect mics to this input if they are designed to work with iPhones. You can also use a series of cords and adapters to connect a microphone to the phone. 

Final Thoughts

The simplest way to connect an external microphone to an iPhone is to use a mic that is designed for that purpose. You can easily just plug the mic into your iPhone and start recording. 

If you don’t have this type of mic, you can still connect it to your iPhone. You’ll just need to use a series of cables and adapters to make it work. This can seem complicated but is pretty easy if you have the right equipment. 

Have you ever connected an external microphone to an iPhone? How did you do it? Let me know in the comments below.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *