Best iPhone Microphones For Instrument Recording & Podcasts – 2019 Review

We all carry around a tiny computer in our pocket, and when you're a content creator looking for the right microphone that will work with it, you run the risk of ending up a little frustrated. This possibility is especially prominent when dealing with Apple products that only allow a certain amount of options to be available to you.

So, in this guide, we're going to walk you through what constitutes a good iPhone microphone as well as some of the great options that are available to you on the market today. Hopefully by the time you have completed our guide, you will feel better equipped and able to make the right decision for your recording needs. So, let's get that content ready and find the right mic for you. Before we get into that, let's look at how best to use your iPhone microphone and how exactly to choose the one for your specific needs.  

External iPhone microphones allow you to record professional quality audio directly to your phone. These microphones plug directly into the lightning port (or headphone adapter) and allow you to record using an app, or directly to videos shot on your iPhone. It's ideal for podcasters, YouTubers, musicians, and filmmakers who need to capture field recordings.

Comparison of the Best iPhone Microphones

Product

Rating

Price

YouMic Lavalier

Lavalier Lapel Microphone ­ Omnidirectional Mic with Easy Clip On System ­ Perfect for Recording Youtube / Interview / Video Conference / Podcast / Voice Dictation / iPhone

Best Overall

Shure MV88

Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone

Runner-up

Movo PM10

Movo PM10 Professional Lavalier Lapel Clip-on Omnidirectional Microphone for iOS iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android Samsung Smartphone/Tablet for Recording Podcast, Vlog, Interview, YouTube, ASMR

Best for the Money

PowerDeWise Professional Grade Lavalier Lapel Microphone

Professional Grade Lavalier Lapel Microphone ­ Omnidirectional Mic with Easy Clip On System ­ Perfect for Recording Youtube / Interview / Video Conference / Podcast / Voice Dictation / iPhone/ASMR

Zoom iQ6

Zoom iQ6 Professional Stereo Microphone for iOS

What Are the Best Uses for an iPhone Microphone?

There are many reasons that you may want to use an external mic for your iPhone. When you're a creator on the go, having the ability to record a capture of your thoughts at a moment’s notice constitutes a vital advantage. Below, we're going to talk about some of the best uses for these external mics. 

Dictation

If you are a writer or creator or even a vlogger, having access to a great microphone that will enhance the quality above what comes with your smartphone is one reason that you may want an external mic. The ability to dictate your thoughts and feelings without having to stop and type will increase your productivity and allow a better flow of words to hit the page. 

Podcasting

Having the ability to move your studio with you everywhere you go will allow for in-the-moment content creation and a better more fluid interaction with your tribe. Therefore, having an external mic to improve the sound quality just as with dictation could be an asset. If you were a podcaster on-the-go traveling from place to place to gather interviews, the enhanced portability of an external mic for your smartphone will be an even greater asset. 

Vlogging

No matter what platform you're using, having an external mic for your smartphone will lessen the need for heavy and strenuous equipment. Having an external mic for your iPhone will also allow you to catch stories for your Instagram feed, as well as build an in-the-moment daily vlog with better sound quality, which will lead to better overall quality.  

These are just three of the uses you may have for an external mic to connect to your iPhone. Now that you know how you can use it, let's talk a little about how it works. 

How Do These Work?

Apple's inability to figure out how to fix the terrible sound quality that is recorded by an unassisted iPhone has created a market for external devices to enhance it. Though many of these mics will require an adapter to make it work with the Apple OS, the functionality of these external mics is still basically the same. The microphone is inserted into the headphone jack and, just like any other plug-and-play microphone, the audio that you capture is transferred from the core mic itself through the wire and into the digital device.

The mics themselves can be anything from a lava leer to a portable condenser mic. With the saturation of smart devices and better mobility, external mics have been growing in popularity. 

How to Choose a New iPhone Microphone

Now that you know how an iPhone microphone works and why you should get one, let's look at how you would choose the perfect external microphone for you and your needs. There are several factors that you should consider when choosing your mic, and below we have broken down exactly how important they are and why they are important. 

Type

There are multiple styles of microphones available to use as external mics for your iPhone. The type that you should look at depends on what you're using it for; there are 3 main styles: 

  • USB: If you choose to use a USB microphone, you have to purchase a separate kit that helps adapt the microphone to the iPhone's capabilities. There is "view external mics" that can connect without an adapter through a lightning cable. 
  • Lavalier: Most of the lavalier options for the external mic for your iPhone will connect via your headphone jack. These models are great for interviews or for public speaking. These external mics for your iPhone make it easier to hide the cord and offer a high-quality sound. 
  • Lightning connectors: These microphones also connect via headphone jack connectors and are an easy plug-and-play for many iOS devices. 

Now that you have an idea of the types that are available, you will also need to know that most of them will require special software from the App Store. 

Polar Patterns

Just like with any microphone, with your external iPhone microphone, you will want to pay attention to the polar patterns or pick up patterns of the microphone you choose. There are four distinct patterns that are usually available in external microphones for any smart device. The stereo pattern, or dual cardioid capsule, offers the most wide-angle sound capture of your options. This type of polar pattern would be perfect for vlogs, interviews, and any form of speaking engagement.

There is also the cardioid pattern that picks up sound from the direction it is facing. This option is also good for interviews or recording music. One thing of note with this option is that you need to have the mic close to the audio source. The next option is a directional microphone, and these are designed to record interviews, movies, or monologues. The last option is multiple polar patterns, and this is usually a microphone that offers the ability to change between any of the previously mentioned polar patterns. 

Quality

Paying attention to the recording quality of your external mic for your iPhone will allow you to anticipate the end quality of your recording. This is usually measured in bits/kHz. The higher the number, the better the quality. Though this is important, you also need to consider the file format that you will be exporting your audio out as. So, pay attention to this but also know that in the end, the compression of the file will change the overall quality of the end piece. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best iPhone microphones:

  1. YouMic Lavalier
  2. Shure MV88
  3. Movo PM10

Review of the Best iPhone Microphones

Now that you know a little about how to choose the best external iPhone microphone, let's look at some of the best options of 2019. 

Best Overall:
YouMic Lavalier

Lavalier Lapel Microphone ­ Omnidirectional Mic with Easy Clip On System ­ Perfect for Recording Youtube / Interview / Video Conference / Podcast / Voice Dictation / iPhone

PROS

  • Includes a 2-year warranty.
  • Value for the price is exceptional.
  • Compatibility with most smart devices.
  • Compact and lightweight for easy transport.
  • No external power source needed (plug and play).

CONS

  • Some may feel that the mic is too sensitive.
  • Issues with compatibility for some PC or laptops.
  • Audio is not as good as other models in its category.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have had a lot of great things to say about this iPhone mic. The quality of sound and the portability of this mic seem to be the biggest advantages that many of them rave about in their reviews. Knowing how important sound quality is to blogs and podcasts, this mic offers everything you would need. Though some have complained that the cable is just a hair short, they still couldn't pass up the great purchase value that this mic offers. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are a lot of standout qualities that this mic exhibits. For us, the biggest thing that is impactful and performance-enhancing is the fact that it is highly transportable. The ability to add access to a good mic no matter where you are is a wonderful feature to combine with the durable well-crafted build. If you were a content creator on the go or someone who takes conference calls while on the go, then having a great external mic to use with your smartphone is an invaluable tool. 

Sometimes life throws you a softball, and the cheap option winds up working great. This is the case with the YouMic Lavalier Microphone if you’re recording solo voice for podcasts, YouTube videos, or live streaming.

The YouMic is a simple and compact lavalier mic -- the kind commonly used in films and presentation halls. It clips to your shirt and records omnidirectionally, so it can capture your voice without the need to position the mic perfectly. Test videos show that it sounds pretty dang sharp compared to the built-in mic of cell phones. Plus, it should easily sync with most cameras and phones (both Android and iPhone), so you can record video with audio directly from this mic.

What’s Missing?

To be straight, this is not an audiophile microphone. You will not get the booming lows of a broadcast mic, or the crisp high-end of a condenser. For this reason, I would not recommend it for recording instruments, or for professional film/audio productions.

The YouMic is really only intended to pick up a single person’s voice. It’s not great for conducting interviews, or field recordings where you’re picking up sounds at a distance. The Zoom and Shure are much better for this, as they record in stereo and have lower noise.

Lastly, as a budget product, some users have noted the cable or clip can be flimsy. It should be assumed you’ll need to good care of this to ensure a long product life.

Who Will Use This Most 

The people that will get the most use out of this external mic will be vloggers and podcasters who are constantly on the move. With the freedom of mobility, this mic is perfect for remote work; the content creators of the world will be happy that they invested in the YouMic lavalier. 

Bottom Line

Overall, this mic is a compact, easy to travel with lapel mic that will help with anything you need to do outside of your studio or while you are traveling. The sound quality is simply an additional advantage that will make your life and your audio that much better. 

Runner-up:
Shure MV88

Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone

PROS

  • Quality of this mic signal is full and rich. 
  • Versatility of choice in polar patterns.
  • Adjustable DSP that you can turn on and off.
  • Incredibly user-friendly downloadable recording. 

CONS

  • When monitoring there is increased latency. 
  • Some issues with specific IOS versions have been reported.
  • Mini Phone or tablet coverings will need to be removed for mic to connect. 

What Recent Buyers Report

There are very few negatives to be discussed when dealing with this microphone. Chief among them is the reported issues with specific iOS versions and that, on occasion, there have been some issues with crackling and hissing. None of these problems are global and in fact, for the most part, buyers rave about this product. Most of the high praise comes from the overall signal quality of the mic and the ability to have the polar pattern of your choice. Most of the buyers end up giving this mic 5 stars. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This mic stands out to us for several reasons, most of which have been touted by the buyers themselves. The excellent quality of sound and ability to choose the directional pattern of your mic and the compatibility with most iOS versions means that this mic is perfect for any iPhone user looking for an external mic for their recording. 

The Shure MV88 offers the best of both worlds. It has a mono/cardioid mode that’s perfect for recording solo voice, as well as stereo/directional modes that works for field recordings. Better yet, Shure lets you to change these settings straight from their recording app. Switching between modes just takes the click of a button, plus, the app breaks everything down in simple terms:

The MOTIV recording app is incredibly intuitive, including presets for speech, singing, acoustic instruments, and flat recording.

For the price, I would’ve liked to see an external gain control and headphone monitor. Understandably, at the time Shure released this, iPhones had both lightning and 1/8mm headphone outputs. Now that that’s been removed, there’s no way to monitor as you record without using bluetooth headphones.

The Shure MV88 also has some of the same downsides as the Zoom iQ6 as far as relying on a fragile connector to work, and being susceptible to interference from your cell signal (unless you place it in airplane mode). But this is ultimately the tradeoff of using an iPhone mic vs. a portable recorder. The former gives you convenience, allowing you to record with an app, then immediately edit and send files via email. The latter gives you reliability; a sturdy device you can throw in your bag and forget about.

Who Will Use This Most 

Anyone and everyone who uses an iPhone will get the most from using this external mic. That said, there are a few categories of people that will get even more from this amazing mic. Podcasters, vloggers, and content creators that record videos for any social media platform or to update their own website will find this external portable mic perfect for their needs. 

Bottom Line

Overall, the Shure MV88 is a high quality, easy to transport external mic that is great for any smartphone, including the iPhone. If you have a jack available and are looking to record excellent sound to accompany your video, this condenser mic is a great option for you.

Best for the Money:
Movo PM10

Movo PM10 Professional Lavalier Lapel Clip-on Omnidirectional Microphone for iOS iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android Samsung Smartphone/Tablet for Recording Podcast, Vlog, Interview, YouTube, ASMR

PROS

  • Nice clear sound.
  • Overall best budget option.
  • Extended length cord enables the creator to have mobility. 
  • Comes with multiple accessories that are designed to be durable and easy to transport.

CONS

  • Issues with volume control when recording.
  • Issues with distortion when recording a voice with deep bass.
  • Some users complained that you must be close to the camera for it to work well. 

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have had a lot to say about this lapel mic. Although most of the reviews are positive, there are a few drawbacks that have been reported. Most of them have to do with volume control and distortion with deep tones. That aside, overall many customers were pleased with the clear sound and durable accessories that come in the box. The value of this mic is a great benefit, considering that the price is so low. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This mic stands out to us primarily for the value versus the price quotient. Though the audio may not be professional-grade the level of quality you get for the small price tag makes this lavalier mic a great choice for anyone looking for a portable external mic for their iPhone. The fact that there are some issues with distortion in the deeper tones and a little issue with the volume control is not a universal issue, and therefore this mic is easily the best for the money. 

Who Will Use This Most 

The buyers that will get the most from this external microphone for their iPhone are budget-minded content creators looking for an on-the-go, easy to transport, great sound quality option. Taking into consideration the length of the cord and the quality of the sound, this mic is a great choice for beginners and people that just want to get started with vlogging or podcasting. 

Bottom Line

This microphone offers great quality for an extremely budget-friendly price. Though the quality may not be professional-grade, the fact that the accessories and the microphone are durable and well-built means that you will get the most for your money. 

Professional Grade Lavalier Lapel Microphone ­ Omnidirectional Mic with Easy Clip On System ­ Perfect for Recording Youtube / Interview / Video Conference / Podcast / Voice Dictation / iPhone/ASMR

PROS

  • Durable quality of cable for extended use. 
  • No extra software or installations needed to use. 
  • Decreased background noise pickup one recording. 
  • Improved sound quality with a no static noise feature.
  • Multiple accessories including a foldable extension forward and Velcro straps included. 

CONS

  • Issues with the durability of microphone jack.
  • Clip that comes with accessories is unable to be rotated. 
  • Mic sticks out from phone with adapter too far for some users.

What Recent Buyers Report

The people that have purchased this lavalier mic have a lot to say about its great sound quality and excellent price. Along with the amazing sound abilities of this mic, you also get durable well-made accessories that will enhance your overall recording capabilities. There are, however, some users that have had issues with the durability of the cord and the mic jack. These users have stated that they seem to be a little cheap feeling and weak which would make them wear out quicker with extended use. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This mic stands out for the great quality that you get for the price tag. Though when you're thinking of purchasing technology, oftentimes you should not look at the price tag as opposed to what you get; this model gives you great quality sound with multiple accessories for an affordable price. It has high portability and very few cons. 

Who Will Use This Most 

This device is perfect for anyone looking for budget-friendly, high-performance sound quality for their iPhone needs. This lavalier mic is great for conference calls, dictation purposes, or social media content creation. 

Bottom Line

This mic may not be as feature-rich or produce as high-quality of sound as other options on the external microphone market, but it is still a great option for those looking to find a good way to get into any of the above-mentioned careers or hobbies. 

Zoom iQ6 Professional Stereo Microphone for iOS

PROS

  • External gain knob for better control.
  • Designed to be durable and long-lasting.
  • Ability to monitor directly via headphones.
  • Enhanced sound quality and switchable stereo field. 
  • Compact and lightweight design makes it easy to transport.
  • Designed with a peak level indicator to maintain sound quality.

CONS

  • Microphone only gives you 2 positions.
  • No micro USB port included in the design.
  • No ability to film in portrait video mode when using this mic.

What Recent Buyers Report

When you look at the recent reviews from people that have purchased this microphone, you will see that they enjoy the great sound quality and the convenience of having an external mic that works with their iPhone. The fact that you can record and store in the cloud or on the computer or email your audio to your inbox is great for anyone looking to make audio notes or voice overs for their video content. Very little negative has been discussed except for the fact that it does not work with some phone cases and gives you limited video capabilities (i.e. no portrait mode available when using it).

Why it Stands Out to Us

For us, this model stands out for a lot of different reasons. The incredible control given to you through the design, including the external gain knob and the peak level indicator, means that you will end up with great sounding audio. 

The Zoom iQ6 was built with filmmakers in mind. It’s the best way to get field recordings with your iPhone, whether that’s SFX/dialog for a film or live music recordings.

Unlike the YouMic, the iQ6 records in stereo, so it captures a sense of “being there” in the room or environment. The mic capsules are unidirectional and adjustable -- in other words, you can point at your source and capture high quality audio at a distance. On the flipside, it’s not quite as intuitive for solo voice/podcast recording.

The iQ6 is the only iPhone mic I’m aware of that includes an external headphone output and a gain adjustment knob. You can plug in a pair of headphones to monitor as you record, and adjust the gain or change mic directions as needed. Other iPhone mics require you to change gain in your recording app, which is a bit more cumbersome, and requires you to monitor with the phone’s built-in headphone, which new iPhones have unfortunately taken away.

What’s Missing?

The Zoom iQ6 uses the same capsules as the H4N, which has long been a staple for indie filmmakers and bands. The iQ6 is basically a way to get the same quality for a lower price, and with the convenience -- and, to be frank, the occasional hassle -- of attaching it to your iPhone.

For one, the microphone is attached only by the lightning port, so you have to be careful not to knock it out or loosen/bend the port over time. This shouldn’t be too big of an issue for users, but it’s a far cry from the virtually indestructible H4N, which you could throw in a camera bag and forget about.

Secondly, some users have noted white noise and glitches when recording, which is caused by interference from your data/cell signal. An easy solution is to turn your phone to airplane mode, which is a good habit to get into anyway to avoid having your recordings interrupted by a phone call.

Who Will Use This Most

The zoom IQ6 professional stereo microphone is a wonderful option for anyone looking to capture audio. This external iPhone mic offers great quality sound that can be used for recording music in interviews or even taking notes on that conference call. 

Bottom Line

The versatility and adjustability of this device helps with obtaining high-quality sound from this durable, well-built mic. With the addition of highly controllable functionality, the zoom IQ 6 is by far one of the best iPhone microphones that you can add to your equipment. 

Types of iPhone Microphones

We touched on this a little earlier when we discussed how to choose your iPhone microphones, but we are now going to take a deeper look at each of the individual types of iPhone microphones. There are 3 main types: 

X-Y

This type of iPhone microphone is crafted using two mics that are cardioid angled at 90 degrees to each other. This mic is great for shooting video that requires directional sound due to its wide pickup pattern. 

Lavalier

These mics are often called lapel mics and are amazing for their ability to be connected to the person. This construction makes them the perfect microphone for your iPhone when looking to record portrait-style videos, interviews, or even vlogs. These microphones come in multiple different styles and can offer a crisp clear sound. 

Condenser

These are mics often associated with studio work. Though with the evolution of technology specifically related to smart devices, many external mic's have taken up this type of construction. An iPhone mic that is a condenser mic will offer sound sensitivity and will be great in quiet environments like those used in podcasting or sit-down interviews. 

Why Should I Get a New iPhone Microphone?

There are many reasons why getting a new external microphone for your iPhone can be quite beneficial. Let's look at three of the biggest advantages you will gain from utilizing an external iOS microphone: 

Sound Quality

Though the iPhone does have decent quality sound, it is still not up to par with what you may want for your recorded content. With the use of an external iPhone mic you will be able to capture better quality sound that is crisp, clean, and rich (depending on which version or model you go with). No matter what you are using the microphone for, whether it be content creation or simply for better audio quality on conference calling, one thing is for sure: the use of an external mic will improve not only your experience but also the experience of the person on the other end. 

Portability

In this ever-changing fast-paced world of content creation, you will want to be able to access great quality sound no matter where you are in the world. By including an external mic in your equipment, you will have access to create on the go. The compact construction and easy to use functionality might just make this the best reason that you should invest in a new iPhone microphone. 

External Software

By using an external iOS microphone, or one that has been adapted to be one, you will have access to additional software through the Apple store that may enhance your audio to all new heights. 

Conclusion

In this guide, we have covered everything from how to use these devices, why to use them, and the benefits and features that you need to look for when considering which model to go with. All this information was carefully curated, and we hope that we could help you make this decision with more confidence. By using this guide, you will be able to find the best iPhone microphone for you and your needs.

If you need an iPhone mic for recording voice, most users will do great with the YouMic Lavelier. It’s simple, inexpensive, and works with any kind of device, including Android. If you’re looking to step up your game, the Zoom iQ6 is great for film and live recordings, while the Shure MV88 is great for voice and instrument tracking.