Getting Audio into your iOS Device (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad): Hardware Compatibility Guide

The current known universe of iOS devices -- iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, from 2007 to late 2012 [Updated] If you want to get an external microphone to go with your iOS device, which one do you get? This guide will tell you everything you need to know.

In the world of iOS devices—iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad—there are three possible ways to capture sound for audio recording: The dock, headphone+mic port, and built-in microphone. Not every device has all three (especially the earliest generations of iOS devices). Plus, microphones that “fit” into the same 30-pin dock may or may not work. It’s a compability thing. All—and I mean all—your compatibility confusion is cleared up here.

First, identify the model of your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. I present them here based on when they were manufactured (early—pre-iPad era, middle, and most recent—late 2012-2013).

After you find your model, look immediately below for a table showing what equipment is compatible with that model.

But first, a bit of long story short conclusions about microphones for the iOS ecosystem:

  • If you have an iPhone or an iPad, you have all 3 methods to capture audio—built-in microphone, the headphone+mic port, and a mic that works in the Dock.
  • If you have the earliest iPod Touches (1st and 2nd generation), you have ONE and only ONE option for capturing audio sound: a microphone that fits into the 30-pin Dock.
  • A major dividing line divides earlier and later iOS devices for microphones that fit the 30-pin dock. Earlier (2007-2009, pre-iPad era) are compatible only with Blue Mikey for iPod microphone. iPad-era devices (2010 and later) have different electronics and require different microphones. There are multiple microphones for these iOS devices.

Early iPhone and iPod Touch: 2007 – 2009

The earliest phase of iPhone and iPod Touch. When these were introduced, the operating system was referred to as iPhone OS.

The Earliest iPhone and iPod Touch devices, from 2007-2009: iPhone, iPhone 3 and iPhone 3GS; iPod Touch original, 2G (second generation) and 3G (third generation)

Compatibility of early iPhones, iPod Touches for getting sound in for audio recording
2007-2009 30-pin Dock Headphone+Mic Built-in Mic
2007 iPhone
2008 iPhone 3
2009 iPhone 3GS
2007 iPod Touch*
2008 iPod Touch 2G*
2009 iPod Touch 3G

Important note: If you have the original iPod Touch or the iPod Touch 2G, the only way you can get audio into your device is using a 30-pin microphone. Every other device has more than one option.

Not sure which device you have? Apple has detailed guides to identify your iPhone, iPod, iPad.

Equipment for Early iPhone / iPod Touch: 2007 – 2009

For earliest generation of iPhone and iPod Touch devices, the Blue Mikey for iPod is a stereo microphone that plugs into the 30-pin dock. For the Headphone+Mic port, the Edutige EIM-001 and the K Multimedia iRig MicCast are mono microphones.

 

 

 

Microphones you can use with early (2007 - 2009) iPhone, iPod Touch
2007-2009 30-pin Dock Headphone+Mic Built-in Mic
2007 iPhone Blue Mikey for iPod* Plug-in Mics

Edutige EIM-001
IK Multimedia iRig Mic Cast

2008 iPhone 3
2009 iPhone 3GS
2007 iPod Touch
2008 iPod Touch 2G
2009 iPod Touch 3G See Plug-in Mics, above

*This microphone is also compatible with iPods that pre-date the iOS era. It will work with the iPod nano (2nd, 3D, 4th and 5th generation), the iPod classic, and the iPod (5th generation)

Mid iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad: 2010 – early 2012

With the introduction of iPad, the iPhone OS became the iOS.

The middle generations of iOS devices (from 2010-early 2012): iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch 4G, and iPad 1, iPad 2, and iPad 3.

Compatibility of mid iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad for getting sound in for audio recording
2010 — early 2012 30-pin Dock Headphone + Mic Built-in Mic
2010 iPhone4
2011 iPhone 4 (Verizon)
2012 iPhone 4S
2010-2012 iPod Touch 4G
2010 iPad
2011 iPad 2
2012 iPad 3 (retina)

Equipment Compatibility for mid-iOS devices (2010-early 2012)

These microphones are compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad models shown above.

For the mid-range iOS devices, there are a number of stereo microphone offerings. The Blue Mikey Digital (successor to the Mikey for iPod), the Tascam iM2, Tascam iM2x, and RØDE iXY microphones capture stereo audio using the 30-pin port on iPad, iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4G.

 

 

 

Compatibility of mid iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad for getting sound in for audio recording
2010 — early 2012 30-pin Dock Headphone+Mic Built-in Mic
2010 iPhone4

Blue Mikey Digital

TASCAM iM2 (black) (white)

TASCAM IM2x

RØDE iXY

Plug-in Mics:
Edutige EIM-001
IK Multimedia iRig Mic Cast

2011 iPhone 4 (Verizon)
2012 iPhone 4S
2010-2012 iPod Touch 4G
2010 iPad
2011 iPad 2
2012 iPad 3 (retina)

Two microphones that fit in the Headphone + Mic port: The Edutige EIM-001 and the IK Multimedia iRig MicCast. The iRig MicCast has a headphone port on it, so you can listen to the audio for sound tests before and/or during your interview. These mics are also compatible with Android devices. Two microphones that plug into the Headphone+mic port.
The Edutige EIM-001 amplifies the audio signal, and the IK Multimedia iRig Mic Cast includes a headphone port on the microphone capsule so that you can preview the audio before and/or during your recording.

Newest iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

These latest model-type of iOS devices were introduced in late 2012, and continue into 2013. The major change: After 10 years of the 30-pin dock, these have a smaller, slimmer port and plug: Lightning.
The most recent generation of iOS devices, as of late 2012 — all with the new Lightning port: iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5, iPad 4 and iPad mini.

Getting audio IN to the newest iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
late 2012 (+2013) Lightning Dock Headphone+Mic Built-in Mic
iPhone 5 + 30-pin adapter
iPhone 5s
iPhone 5c
iPod Touch 5G
iPad 4th Gen
iPad Air
iPad Mini
iPad Mini (Retina display)

Equipment Table for the above table

Microphones for the iOS devices (with Lightning port, introduced late 2012). The Zoom iQ5 microphone works with the Lightning port. Or use a Lightning adapter with 30-pin compatible microphones (Blue Mikey Digital, Tascam iM2, Tascam iM2x, RØDE iXY).

 

Audio Equipment for the newest iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
late 2012 (+2013) Lightning Dock Headphone+Mic Built-in Mic
iPhone 5

Lightning Mics.
ZOOM iQ5

+ 30-pin adapter.

Use a 30-pin adapter with these microphones:

Blue Mikey Digital

TASCAM iM2 (black) (white)

TASCAM IM2x

RØDE iXY

Plug-in Mics:
Edutige EIM-001
IK Multimedia iRig Mic Cast

iPhone 5s
iPhone 5c
iPod Touch 5G
iPad 4th Gen
iPad Air
iPad Mini
iPad Mini (Retina display)

Here, shown to scale, are the microphones with the iPad mini, iPad, and iPhone. Mics are both 30-pin plus adapter, and the kind that plugs into the Headphone+Mic port of the iOS devices.

Microphones shown to scale with the iPad mini, the iPad and iPhone. Microphones depicted: Tascam iM2 with LIghting Adapter, Edutige EIM-001, and iRig MicCast that plug into the Headphone+Mic port.

Did you find this guide useful? Did it clarify anything for you? If you plan to purchase a microphone, please use my affiliate links to do so. You pay the same purchase price, and I receive a little monetary love as thanks for the hours and hours I spent compiling this guide. Win-win!

Equipment links in this entry are affiliate links. I have personally purchased and use the TASCAM iM2 and the Edutige EIM-001. No one has paid me to recommend those products.

This site and this page are not affiliated in any way with Apple Inc. iPhone iPad, iPod Touch and iPad Mini and all other Apple product names are trademarks/registered trademarks of Apple Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 19, 2013 in • AudioAudio: HardwareiOS
6 CommentsPermalink

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Comments

This was the most useful thing I’ve found regarding this subject.

Seth  on 06/16  at  01:03 AM

hi but will it work with Iphone 5s or 5c ????? I heard that it might not support audio, so wondering if my rode ixy will work with new iphone5c which i am getting soon.,,

Dan  on 01/19  at  02:29 PM

Well, I have an iPhone 5, and I am able to get audio into it using one of the 30-pin microphones and the Lightning adapter plug as outlined above. (The mic is the Tascam iM2, as I mention above in my “what I’ve personally purchased” disclaimer at the end of the article.)

I just checked the RØDE FAQ about this matter, and they state that my solution (microphone + Lightning adapter plug) works for both the iPhone 5s as well as the iPhone 5.

Susan A. Kitchens  on 02/01  at  06:11 PM

You truly a gentleman and a scholar.  This was done very nicely and I can appreciate the effort that went into this.  I am building an oral history system for our library.  This was my first choice as the system can fit into a briefcase.  Thank you for sharing. 
best,  dan

dan dipaola  on 07/28  at  12:23 PM

susan,  please excuse my assumption the this was written by a man..  I’ll restate my comment now. “You are truly a meticulous person and a true scholar”

Your name sounds very familiar.  Did you serve any time in the film industry around LA?  I’ve been in entertainment technology for the last 30+ years.  I can’t remember where I may have heard you name but you do sound familiar.

best,  dan dipaola

Did you work with Lynda W.?  In another life I was part of the Fractal team .. painter, poser, dabbler, etc etc

dan dipaola  on 07/28  at  12:32 PM

Dan, I’ve already sent you a “Hey! I recognize your name!” email with more identifying deets (such as home towns) and yes, we go way back to the computer graphics days in the greater Los Angeles area. Former MetaCretin here; we met in the days of Kai’s Power Tools and Bryce.

Small world. Small, small world!

Susan A. Kitchens  on 07/28  at  12:37 PM

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