If you like to record iPhone videos, you may already know the struggle of getting top audio quality. The small internal microphones these smartphones come with are not up to the task with professional-level recording.
You might be a vlogger, a journalist, or a simple user who needs better audio quality.
Luckily, the best external microphone for iPhone fixes low-quality audio issues. There are two main methods that quickly connect to the smartphone. Bluetooth or plug-and-play connectivity prepares them for recording in seconds.
Both directional microphones and omnidirectional microphones can be used with a smartphone. The best external mic for iPhone users is made for various types of recording. Some work for vlogs, and general recording while others are made for interviews or similar recording where isolation background noise is crucial.
- Quick connectivity can be essential in some situations, and the Shure MV88 is the best iPhone plug-in microphone for those who simply need a plug-and-play device.
- Drivers, cyclists, or any users who need free hands are going to find the Hey Mic! as the best Bluetooth microphone for iPhone.
- Those used to recording videos with dedicated mics can consider the Rode VideoMic Me microphone as a dedicated external mic for iPhones.
Who Should Get This?
Anyone who needs to record videos knows standard audio quality might not be the best on iPhones. Musicians might need higher audio fidelity to record their instruments or vocal music. Professionals might also need better audio with various conference calls.
Today, working from home is becoming more popular than before, and good audio is vital to professionals. Taking a quick work call is where these microphones prove their worth. But there’s another group of users who enjoy the best external microphone for iPhone. Users on the go such as travelers and vloggers, don’t have the luggage space for large external microphones. Since video resolution on iPhones is already high, these recordings can simply be improved with better audio through an external microphone.
How We Picked the Best External Microphone for iPhone?
Choosing from thousands of microphones wasn’t easy. Before you record your first podcast or first video with high-quality audio, you need to know what makes these mics different than others and truly worthy of the best external microphone for iPhone title.
Frequency response is measured in hertz, and it refers to the range of frequencies recorded by a microphone from low to high. There are many types of frequency response ranges. For example, a good mic for podcasts that only record natural voice sounds should have a frequency response between 80Hz to 15kHz. The human ear can hear sounds in the range of 20 to 20,000Hz.
Directional, unidirectional and omnidirectional recording
Directional recording capture a small area of sound normally in front of the microphone. Unidirectional microphones isolate recording further and they’re used for voice recording. Omnidirectional microphones capture sound from all directions.
The Motiv App and other similar smartphone software allow users to customize sound recording quality further. As other third-party Apps (iPhones don’t recognize Bluetooth microphones in the default recording App), it will enable users to select the pattern of recording. The following microphones have been chosen to keep in mind their App compatibility for uncompressed recording, high-quality audio adjustments, EQ options for voice or music, etc.
Most of these Apps fine-tune audio for online video. As many videographers know, pro-level audio might be hard to get simply with the iPhone’s built-in microphone. By default, many of the external smartphone-compatible microphones might not sound too good, and in-app customization options are essential.
Wired, wireless (Bluetooth), and plug-in are the main connecting methods for the best external microphone for iPhone. From the 6th iPhone generation, the audio jack port has been discontinued. This means users cannot directly connect a microphone with a jack port to their smartphones. A Lightning adapter is required for wired connectivity.
Otherwise, users can also rely on Bluetooth connectivity to pair the microphone with the smartphone. In terms of quality, there’s no considerable audio difference between the wired and wireless recordings. Most files sound the same, but each microphone has been made to cater to a particular user, as seen from the examples below.
Best External Mic for iPhone: Our Picks in 2020
The following microphones are compatible with all iPhone generations. Lightning connectors are added to these microphones for those which physically connect to the smartphone while others are completely based on Bluetooth connectivity.
1. Best Plug-in Microphone for iPhone: Shure MV88 Portable iOS Microphone for iPhone
Made with a durable metal body, the microphone is the best option for compact quality audio recording. Apart from its durable construction, it also comes with the free ShurePlus Motiv App, which allows users to adjust the sound profile with its equalizer options.
Highs, lows, and mids can be adjusted through the App. But the smooth App also has many integration features that recommend the microphone for frequent audio recording. Among them, the App is capable of sending the final files via e-mail to the ultimate sharing experience. Other functions in the users’ control include audio compression, polar and stereo recording, or audio length.
With a rotating design, the microphone is very easy to use. It can also bend to 90-degrees for better stereo recording. To use it, the device simply requires its Lighting connector to be connected to the iPhone without any further installation steps. This means its plug-and-play design is going to favor those on the road and anyone recording outside professional purposes with complicated setup alternatives.
Those recording outdoors also benefit from a foam windscreen. As its name suggests, it reduces the impact of wind on the recordings, making it useful for travel vloggers or anyone constantly recording outside of the house.
With its pocket-friendly design, the best external microphone for iPhone is also interesting practical. There are no reasons why it can’t be used for travel purposes. Furthermore, Shure also includes a soft zipped carry case, which makes travel life a bit easier for those carrying it.
Recording sounds between 20Hz and 20kHz, and the microphone has a neutral frequency response. As a result, it suits general purpose recording, and it might offer the best return of investment in this compact range.
- Includes 5 preset modes for speech and instrumental audio
- Also compatible with iPads and iPods
- High-quality 24-bit/48 kHz recording for indoor and outdoor use
2. Best Bluetooth Microphone for iPhone: Hey Mic! Bluetooth Microphone for iPhone
With a frequency response of 2.4GHz-2.48GHz, the small microphone records high-quality audio indoors and outdoors. Most users should be aware that the device has a limit to the distance it can pick up sounds from outdoors. When used for these recordings, it should not be further away than 65 feet from its audio sources for intelligible records.
With a weight of just 10 grams, the microphone simply attaches to clothing. It can be a top choice for podcast creators or professionals. But since it requires no physical input, the microphone might also be practical for drivers.
With the usage of up to 6 hours, the compact microphone is among the best external microphone for iPhone options for traveling users. Its 100mA battery is rechargeable, and there’s no point in getting carrying extra batteries as it simply charges from a laptop or any external power back with a micro-USB charging port.
Based on Bluetooth 4.0, it connects to all Apple devices plus Android devices. Its versatility is seen even within App compatibility. There’s a dedicated Hey Mic! App which supports quick audio recording. If not all users are happy with this App, it’s vital to know the microphone is also compatible with third-party Apps. Valuable options include Cinema FV-5 for users who transition between iPhone and Android recording.
The clip-on design of the microphone is certainly its pivotal characteristic. But there’s more to its practicality. For example, it comes accessorized with a USB charging cable. The manufacturer also ships the devices with a small travel case to keep it safe from potential drops.
- It works in temperatures between -10 to +50 Degrees Celsius
- 20m/65ft maximum operating distance
- Records up to 6 hours before recharging
The omnidirectional microphone records within the 35Hz to 18KHz range. Its construction is suitable for voice recording, and its lightweight profile is suitable for anyone who doesn’t want to carry a large heavy microphone. With a weight of just 20 grams, its clip-on design makes it even hard to notice when worn on clothing.
Given its omnidirectional pickup pattern, the microphone is an excellent choice for close recordings. Interviews and podcasts are situations where the voice or the sound source is close to the microphone and where Boqha’s device does its best.
Since it already comes with a Lighting connector, the cabled microphone is compatible with newer generation iPhones. As one of the best external microphone for iPhone options, it works with iPhone 7 and later Apple smartphone releases. Since it has a proprietary connector, it’s not the type of microphone to choose for Android versatility. Bluetooth alternatives prove better for those toggling audio recordings between iPhones and Android devices.
Connected by cable, the microphone is very easy to use. It relies on an Apple-specific thin Lighting connector, which simply plugs into the iPhone. Since its omnidirectional, the microphone has endless uses with all iPhone generations.
Ideal use scenarios include YouTube podcasts, voice-overs, and conference calls. It might not have the best rendering for instrumental recording, but the microphone includes a wind muff for those who prefer to record their voices outdoors.
The lavalier microphone also features a lapel clip, which is highly efficient for those who need their hands free during their podcasts or general voice recordings. With a cable length of 1.5m, the microphone is compatible with users of all heights.
A leather storage bag is included in the pack. It holds the microphone itself, the lapel clip, the wind muff, and the entire 1.5m cable. While it doesn’t offer anti-shock protection, the luxurious bag works for traveling users who need to stay organized and who don’t want to misplace the microphone’s accessories.
- Made with an Electret Condenser
- Omnidirectional polar pattern
- Works with or without a lapel clip
With a frequency range between 100Hz and 200kHz, the directional best external microphone for iPhone is among the devices also compatible with Android smartphones. Its compatibility is only linked to its attachment point to the smartphone itself. It attaches in the opposite direction of the selfie camera.
With a directional recording profile, it’s the type of microphone mostly useful for vlogging and online video calls. It attaches to the smartphone with a headphone jack. As a result, it works with older generation smartphones such as iPhone 5s, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6sPlus.
Connected directly by a 3.5mm TRRS output, the microphone has a compact 0.5″ capsule, and its primarily made for voice recording with a compact device. Rode might be popular for DSLR camera microphones, but VideoMic Me is a 34g compact alternative.
Made from molded thermoplastic, it’s a bit better than metal microphones at dealing with vibrations. As a result, it can be mounted on smartphones on a selfie stick while riding a scooter or a bike. It can also be used for voice recording while walking.
A furry windscreen is also included for those shooting in adverse weather. Most importantly, it works without installing any software. Those who own new generation iPhones can also use the vibration-reduction microphone with a Lighting to jack adapter, which is sold separately.
- Pressure gradient cardioid construction
- Uses the smartphone for power
- Attaches via a flexible mount
The best external microphone for iPhone with Bluetooth comes with an attaching clip, and it connects to the smartphone wirelessly. Wired connection is also possible for those who still use an iPhone with a headphones jack or for those who have an iPhone external microphone adapter.
The main strengths of the microphone include its recording pattern, which is user-adjusted. The microphone supports omnidirectional and unidirectional recording. Using an external microphone, it records up to distances of 66 feet. This covers most rooms and even meeting rooms so that users can rely on it for work tasks.
Unlike other similarly-sized microphones, it also comes with sensitivity adjustments. These adjustments are useful in noisy rooms where users need to minimize background noise as much as possible. Attached using an integrated clip, the small device is powered by rechargeable internal batteries. Those using it for work can rest assured it has sufficient battery life to power up to 8 hours of continuous use.
By default, the iPhone recording app doesn’t recognize a Bluetooth microphone. But there are hundreds of hood third-party alternatives. Among them, Voice Recorder HD is one of the apps which can make the most of the multiple settings which can come from the microphone.
- Omnidirectional and unidirectional recording
- Compatible with Bluetooth headphones, PA systems, and Bluetooth speakers
- Includes a mute button
Finding the best external microphone for iPhone is not a complicated task. As seen above, wired and wireless connectivity methods are supported for high-res audio recording. There are a few products which are also considerably improved by an in-app equalizer.
Most users agree these microphones are not made for professional video recording, as is the case with the cameras of the smartphone. But they can enhance audio quality if used correctly for most users or those who create online content.
These microphones can be used hand-held on the smartphone. They also work with smartphone tripods for podcasts and interviews as they’re compatible with selfies sticks since most have sufficient range to capture voice details from a few feet away. As seen above, even cabled options can be used with a selfie stick as they usually come with a length of 1.5 meters or 4.9 feet.