Microphones are an essential part of modern communication and their incorporation with laptops allows us to have conversations with people wherever there is a stable internet connection.
If you want to locate your microphone and have control over its use, then read on.
Let’s dive in!
How do you know if a laptop has a built-in microphone?
If you examine your laptop you may find that there are a few small holes next to one another and this is a tell-tell sign that a microphone is present. A built-in microphone on a laptop is a microphone that is part of the internal hardware of your device so is not always visible. Check the specs to be sure a laptop has a microphone.
There are ways to locate microphones on laptops and find out whether or not your particular model has one.
However, the best way to confirm whether or not your particular laptop has a built-in microphone is to check the software depending on your operating system.
How to check if your Windows laptop has a built-in microphone
Finding out whether or not your Windows laptop has a built-in laptop is as simple as following these instructions:
- Tap the Windows button on your keyboard to bring up the start menu.
- Using the search box, type ‘Control panel’ and then hit Enter on your keyboard.
- For Windows 10 you can open the Start menu and select ‘Windows System’ followed by ‘Control Panel’.
- Select ‘Hardware and Sound’ from the options in the left-side menu.
- Choose to ‘Manage audio devices’. This will open a new window.
- From that window select ‘Recording’ from the tabs.
- Here you will discover whether you have an in-built microphone (and/or an external).
- If no devices are listed then no in-built microphone is present.
How to check if your Mac laptop has a built-in microphone
Here you’ll find all the steps you need to take to confirm whether your Mac laptop does indeed have a built-in microphone. Switch on your MacBook and away we go:
- Open the ‘Apple menu’ by selecting the Apple icon from the menu bar.
- Now click ‘System Preferences’.
- In the System Preferences window select ‘Sound’.
- From the Sound menu, you can discover whether a built-in microphone is present by choosing the ‘Input’ tab and taking a look at whether a device is present. You will also see if an external microphone is connected too.
So rather than turning your laptop upside-down, and scouring its edges for the tiny holes of a built-in mic, you now have the technical knowledge to ascertain whether your laptop has this hardware or not.
Where are microphones found on laptops?
So you know how to use your operating system to discover whether your laptop has a microphone, but what if you really do need to know where exactly the microphone is located.
Well don’t worry, let’s take a look at the most common placement of microphones on laptops.
- Usually, you will find the microphone for your laptop has been placed near the built-in webcam. You’ll find both of these devices at the top of your display.
- Sometimes you may find that the microphone is at the bottom of your display instead.
- MacBook Pros have their mics built into the upper right side of the keyboard and speaker section.
- The MacBook Air’s microphone can be located in the grill for the left speaker.
Do laptop microphones have a killswitch?
A killswitch is a way of making it impossible for a particular piece of hardware to be active. A classic example of this would be unplugging a USB webcam or switching off a physical switch to deactivate Wi-Fi on a laptop.
When it comes to built-in microphones it is unlikely that your laptop manufacturer has specifically incorporated this into your laptop’s design.
The company ‘Purism’ offers two laptops – The Librem 14 and Librem 15 – both of which offer a killswitch that fully deactivates both the built-in microphone and camera.
As privacy becomes more of a concern, other manufacturers are attempting to address users’ concerns and smart home devices are applying killswitches. It may only be a matter of time until killswitches become a must-have on the market.
Can you manually block a laptop’s microphone?
Worried that your microphone on your laptop is picking up on things that it shouldn’t? We live in a world where privacy has become a major talking point. It’s understandable that we want to have greater control of our tech and how its features can be disabled to allow peace of mind.
How to disable a microphone on a Windows laptop?
There is a multitude of ways in which you can ensure that your microphone is blocked on your laptop. First let’s take a look at using the ‘Device Manager’.
- Open ‘Device Manager’ by right-clicking the Start Button and selecting ‘Device Manager’.
- Select ‘Audio inputs and outputs’ from the list.
- The expanded list will show a selection of audio devices.
- Find your microphone and right-click.
- Select ‘Disable’.
- On the next window select ‘Yes’ to disable your microphone.
You can also use ‘Device Properties’ to stop apps and Windows from using your microphone – essentially blocking access to it.
To do this just follow these steps:
- Hover your pointer over to where your Speaker icon is in the ‘System tray’ (usually by the clock in the bottom right of your screen).
- Right-click the Speaker icon and select ‘Open Sound Settings’.
- Find your microphone from the list of devices and then click ‘Device properties’.
- Find the checkbox that disables the microphone and click it.
To block the microphone on your laptop for specific apps you should make the following procedure (Windows 10 only):
- Open ‘Settings’.
- Select Privacy and find ‘Microphone’ in the App permission list found on the left-hand side.
- Here you can toggle ‘Allow app to access your microphone’.
How to disable a microphone on a Mac laptop?
To block the microphone on your MacBook or MacBook air you need to mute your microphone. It’s very easy!
- Open System Preferences by clicking the Apple button and then choosing ‘System Preferences’.
- Next, select ‘Sound’ and click the ‘Input’ tab.
- From this panel you need to find the ‘Input Volume’ slider.
- Slide the ‘Input Volume’ all the way left in order to mute your microphone.
- Once the microphone is muted it will not pick up any audio.
You can also select which apps have access to your microphone, essentially blocking certain apps from picking up any audio from you.
To do this just follow along with these simple steps:
- Open the Apple menu by clicking the apple icon.
- Open ‘System Preferences’.
- Select ‘Security and Privacy’ and choose ‘Privacy’.
- Next, click ‘Microphone’.
- Deselect checkboxes for apps you wish to no longer have access to your microphone.
How do I know if the microphone is listening?
You may be wondering whether there is a way to know whether your laptop’s microphone is listening. The answer is, thankfully – yes.
Here’s how to check if an app is currently using your microphone on a Windows laptop:
- Using your cursor just hover over on your system tray.
- If you see a microphone icon in your system tray then an app is currently using your microphone.
- If you hover the cursor over the microphone icon it will show you which app is using it.
- It will also show you whether multiple applications are using your mic.
- It will also show you whether multiple applications are using your mic.
- If you do not see the microphone icon then there are no applications currently using your microphone.
To check whether your microphone is being accessed on a Mac just follow these steps and find out what apps have been listening:
- Choose ‘Control Center’ from the menu bar.
- From ‘Control Center’ you’ll find an orange indicator that shows whether your microphone is currently in use.
- Here you will also discover which apps are using your microphone.
How to tell if my computer has a microphone
How to Disable the Microphone on a MacBookHow to See Which Apps Are Using Your Microphone on Windows 10
How to Mute or Turn Off the Microphone in Windows 10