How to Use Your iPhone as an Audio Input on Your Mac

1 minute read
| Quick Tip

Your iPhone is a powerful communication device, so what if you want to play or record some of the audio from it through your Mac—like maybe for a podcast you’re recording. Turns out it’s easy and your Mac can even see your iPhone as just another audio input source. Read on to learn how to set it up.

To play audio from your iPhone—or iPad, for that matter—you’ll need to a Lightning to USB cable, like the one that came with your device for charging and syncing. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac with the cable, and then launch Audio Midi Setup on your computer. It’s in Applications/Utilities.

Audio Midi Source lets you use your iPhone or iPad as an audio input on your Mac

Use Audio Midi Setup to turn your iPhone into a new input source on your Mac

Now select your iPhone or iPad from the device list on the left and click Enable. Your iPhone or iPad will show up as a new input source in Sound Preferences so any audio playing on the device will play through your speakers, headphones, or other selected audio out device on your Mac.

iPhone as audio input for Mac

Now your iPhone is an audio input for your Mac

This is a cool and easy way to use the audio on your iPhone in a podcast without having to find a way to first export it. The only limitation is that phone calls won’t play out so you can’t use this as a way to record conversations.

We tested this in macOS Sierra and High Sierra, and we expect it works in earlier macOS versions, too.

5 Comments Add a comment

  1. Scott B in DC

    This is not working under Sierra.

    I did go into sound preferences and select my iPad as the input. My iPad is plugged directly into my iMac and not a hub because the hub is lower powered and does not charge the iPad.

    I tried toggling the output between the internal speakers and a USB audio device I am using. The USB device works since I can play iTunes and almost anything else through my headphones.

    When playing, the input level moves but there is no sound for the output.

    I wonder if the difference between my system and yours is that you have Audioengine installed and acting like a mixer?

  2. bbh

    Doesn’t work for me either. iPhone 6 with Sierra. The MIDI app is somewhat flaky. It seems to recognize the iPhone, but won’t play from it. Similar symptoms as earlier poster on the iMac.

  3. HolbySouth

    Nice catch. A few extra bits of info …

    This mode debuted in macOS El Capitan in Audio MIDI Setup, but it had a different UI window at that time. The UI changed in macOS Sierra to look as it does in this article’s screenshots.
    After clicking Enable, the iOS device becomes a USB audio input, not an output. If you are attempting to hear input from the iPhone while in this mode, please note that input is not automatically played through to the Mac’s audio output. An application that records and/or monitors input (such as GarageBand) is required to hear the iOS device’s input.
    Phone audio and alert sounds are never routed over the USB input in this mode.
    As of macOS High Sierra, this mode also enables MIDI input and output to the iOS device when MIDI applications. Open the MIDI studio studio window and you’ll see a new MIDI device online called “iPad” or “iPhone.” In the iOS device’s MIDI studio, a new MIDI source and destination called “IDAM Host Device” representing the far end Mac becomes available.

    Now go make some music! <3

    • HolbySouth

      Also, I should be explicit here — digital audio over Lightning was enabled with macOS El Capitan & iOS 9. macOS Sierra changed the UI for enabling this mode. iOS 11 additionally enables MIDI over Lightning. macOS High Sierra recognizes MIDI over Lightning devices with a custom icon, but any Mac running El Capitan or later should be able to get audio and MIDI over Lightning with iOS 11.

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