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  • Writer's pictureBriana Jackson

Troubleshooting External Microphone for iPhone

This is not an Egypt post, but a tech post. This is to save the sanity of all who have had this problem, and it is A LOT of people.

I spent nearly a year trying to figure out how to get my external lavalier microphone to work with my iPhone 11 so I could use it to film Ancient Lives on the Nile. Like almost everyone else in the world, I couldn't get it to work. I was gifted a GoPro Hero 9 for my graduation and I was elated that I would finally be able to film with decent sound.

However, if you have seen the videos, you have seen that the GoPro sucks when using indoors, coupled with the fact that I need to take a course to figure out exactly how to use it. The crappy sound couldn't be helped because I needed to use a fan since e were experiencing a heat wave both times.

Therefore, I desperately began seeking some way to get my microphone to work on my iPhone because its picture quality just far outdoes the GoPro. After an eternity of googling, I learned the magic letters TRS and TRRS and I fixed the problem. I wrote up this post in case others who are seeking wisdom might come upon this and solve their problem, too. Sharing is caring, and I hope this will help.

First, watch this video by Robi Tanyag, who is a genius and an angel

Key terms: iPhone needs a 3.5mm adapter. Now, he states that the iPhone brand one doesn't work, but in my case I was able to get it to work -- I use a different type and brand of microphone. However, if you want the Opso brand adapter from this video, you can get it from Amazon for $15.30 before tax (at the date of this post).

The 3.5mm adapter only works as a "line in", allowing only headphone types of hardware. This is where TRS and TRRS come in. Microphones made for phones generally are TRS cables -- this means there are two threads/rings on the plug-in part. In order for iPhone to work as an output, it requires a TRRS, which is three threads/rings. In the video, Robi states that only the Opso brand cable adapter works for microphones that have TRRS. So if that's your microphone, no need to read further. His fix should work.

However, I have MOVO brand lavalier mics that have only a TRS connection. So right away I was dismayed yet again. Then, like a miracle, I discovered there is also an adapter for this! There is such a thing as a 3.5mm TRS to TRRS adapter, also made by MOVO (helpful!), which I purchased at $9.95 pre-tax.

Admittedly, I was not confident it would work, but it did! I plugged my mic receiver into the TRRS adapter, and then plugged that into the iPhone 3.5mm adapter, and at last! My iPhone accepts external microphones. My next video will be via my iPhone -- and! I finally got a teleprompter yay!

Best of luck, and I hope it works for you!

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