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The best iPhone microphone in 2021: record better sound with your cellphone

best iPhone microphone - Rode VideoMic Me-L
(Image credit: Rode)

The best iPhone microphoneswill give you a head start, whether you are using your phone as a sound recorder, as a video camera, or as a webcam. Your iPhone's inbuilt microphone is fine for making calls and recording voice notes. But if you're producing content for other people to enjoy, whether that's YouTube videos, Twitch streams, podcasts or Clubhouse events, the audio quality won't really be up to par. So you really need to invest in a decent external microphone for iPhone use. 

There are so many on the market, though, it's difficult to know which to choose - and most of the best microphones for vlogging can be made to work with your iPhone if you have the right connectors and supports. However in this article, we've rounded up the 10 best iPhone microphones available today. All offer great audio quality, are nice and portable, and offer good value for the price. 

• See also Best cameras for streaming

Before we dive in, though, there are two things to be aware of. Firstly, if you have an iPhone 7 or above, the only way to connect a microphone is via its Lightning connector. Most of the microphones on this list will plug into this directly, but with some on our list you'll need to buy a separate adapter. On the positive side, you'll be able to connect these microphones to a wider range of devices besides your iPhone.

Secondly, you need to decide whether you're looking for a microphone that is directional (aka unidirectional or cardioid) or omnidirectional (aka multidirectional). A directional mic focuses on picking up sound from one direction only, minimizing the amount of background sound to the sides. In contrast, an omnidirectional mic picks up sound from all directions. So for example, you'd normally use a directional mic for a one-mic show, or a one-to-one podcast, but an omnidirectional mic if you want to capture the broad range of sounds at an event. 

10 best iPhone microphones in 2021

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Shure)

1. Shure MV88

The best microphone for iPhone overall

Connector: Lightning | Polar pattern: Omnidirectional | Dimensions: 35 x 24.9 x 67.1mm (1.4 x 1 x 2.6 inches) | Weight: 40.5g (1.43 oz)

High quality audio
Sturdy and flexible 
5 preset modes
Not the cheapest

We won’t beat about the bush. The Shure MV88 is our clear pick as the best iPhone microphone overall. It’s omnidirectional, making it suitable for interviewing multiple people or recording any event where sound needs to be captured from different directions. The audio quality is first-rate, and an included foam windscreen helps to the sound crisp in windy conditions. There are five preset modes (Speech, Singing, Flat, Acoustic Instrument, Loud), and the supplied app gives you a lot of scope to fine-tune your recording further. 

The Shure MV88 connects directly to your iPhone via the Lightning connector. Constructed from metal and solid plastic, it’s sturdy, but still pretty light and portable. It’s flexible, too: you can tilt, flip and rotate the mic up to 90 degrees to get it just where you want it. It comes with a zip carry case and a headphone monitor adaptor cable. All this, at such a reasonable price, is impressive indeed.

(Image credit: Rode)

2. Rode VideoMic Me-L

The best directional microphone for iPhone.

Connector: Lightning | Polar pattern: Directional | Dimensions: 74 x 20 x 25 (2.8 x 0.7 x 1 inches) | Weight: 27g (1oz)

Affordable price
Well made & robust
Small & light
Not suitable for non-Apple phones

Looking for a directional microphone for iPhone, which focuses on sound that is directly in front of it? The Rode VideoMic Me-L is our top choice, offering a robust build, great quality audio and ease of use, all at a very reasonable price. It plugs straight into your iPhone via the Lightning connector, and also comes with a 3.5mm headphone port, so you can monitor your sound as you record it. You also get a clip to keep the mic secured to your phone, and a windshield for adverse weather conditions.

(Image credit: Rode)

3. Rode SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit

The best microphone for dual-mic recording.

Connector: Lightning | Polar pattern: Omnidirectional | Dimensions: 127 x 31 x 177 mm (5 x 1.2 x 7 inches) | Weight: 75g

Offers great flexibility
Lots of accessories
Durable cable

Need a microphone primarily for interviews? Then let us point you to the Rode SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit, as it contains everything you need for dual audio recording on the move using your iPhone. The kit is centred around a SC6-L breakout box, which connects to your iOS devices via the Lightning connector. Into this, you can plug in the two omnidirectional smartLav+ microphones, as well as your own headphones for direct monitoring and playback. 

You also get two windshields for protection against plosives, two clips, and a storage pouch. Plus there’s a bespoke Rode Reporter app, which allows you to enable and disable direct monitoring, alter boost gain and choose between summed stereo and dual mono. The Kevlar-reinforced cable is very durable, too.

(Image credit: Comica)

4. Comica BoomX-D2

The best wireless microphone kit for iPhone

Connector: USB | Polar pattern: Omnidirectional | Dimensions: 110 x 70 x 185mm (4.3 x 2.7 x 7.2 inches) | Weight: 29g (1oz)

50 feet working distance
Decent battery life
Works with many smartphones
Lightning cable not included

If you want to speak through a mic, but film yourself some distance away from your smartphone, here’s the best microphone for iPhone available for you. This wireless kit comes with two transmitters with built-in microphones, two external mono microphones you can plug into them as an alternative, and one receiver. Everything is very small and light, and the receiver is particularly portable.

You can use this kit across a working distance of 30m (50 feet), and the built-in lithium battery, which can be charged via USB, will last up to five hours. There’s also a 3mm headphone jack that allows you to monitor the audio. However, be warned: if you have an iPhone 7 or above, you'll need to purchase a Lightning-to-3.5mm TRRS adapter cable separately to connect it.

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

5. Sennheiser MKE 200

The best entry-level microphone for iPhone vloggers.

Connector: 3.5mm TRS and TRRS coiled cables | Polar pattern: Directional | Dimensions: 69 x 60 x 39mm (2.7 x 2.4 x 1.5 inches) | Weight: 48g (1.7oz)

Works with many smartphones
Works with many cameras
No Lightning connector

Just getting started with vlogging and want something affordable that’s easy to pick up and use? Then we recommend the Sennheiser MKE 200. While it’s not the absolute best microphone for iPhone on the market, it is very affordable, straightforward to operate, and overall does a decent job. 

Measuring just 2.7 inches long and weighing only 1.7 ounces, the MKE 200 is unobtrusive to say the least. It gets its power from your device, so no batteries are needed. And its integrated wind protection and internal suspension mount help minimize noise, which is particularly useful when you’re still learning the ropes and prone to making bumps and clunks with your equipment. 

This device can be connected via the included 3.5mm TRS and TRRS coiled cables to a range of smartphones, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. However, there’s no Lightning connector, so if you want to use this with an iPhone 7 and above, you’ll need to buy a 3.5mm-Lightning adapter separately. For more details, see our Sennheiser MKE 200 review

(Image credit: Comica)

6. Comica CVM-VM10-K3

The best cheap shotgun microphone for iPhone.

Connector: 3.5mm | Polar pattern: Directional | Dimensions: 35 x 25 x 8.4mm (1.4 x 1 x 0.3 inches) | Weight: 34g (1.2oz)

Good accessories
Does the job
No Lightning connector

Another great choice for new starters in the world of vlogging, the Comica CVM-VM10-K3 is very affordable indeed. For not much money at all, you’ll get a shotgun mic, a phone clamp, an ergonomic one-hand handle, a wireless one-touch Bluetooth controller, a foam windscreen for indoor use, a furry windscreen for outdoor use, a carrying case, and a 3.5mm TRRS to TRS cable.

Despite the low price, it all works pretty well in practice, with good quality, directional audio with minimal interference. Again, though, there’s no Lightning connector. So if you want to use this with an iPhone 7 and above, you’ll need to separately purchase a 3.5mm-Lightning dongle.

(Image credit: Apogee)

7. Apogee MiC Plus

The best Apple-approved microphone for iPhone

Connector: Lightning, USB | Polar pattern: Directional | Dimensions: 124 x 38 x 38mm (4.88 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches) | Weight: 204g (7.2oz)

High quality audio 
Broad connectivity 
Apple approved 

If you’re a nervous buyer and want to make absolutely sure a microphone will work well with your iPhone, there’s no substitute for choosing a device that’s Apple-approved. The Apogee MiC Plus fits right into this category, and as you might expect, the audio quality is excellent. You can also connect it to a wide range of devices, as it comes with a Lightning cable for iOS, a USB-C cable, and a traditional USB-A cable, as well as a desktop tripod stand and a microphone stand adapter. The only negative, really, is that it’s quite expensive for what it is.

(Image credit: Shure)

8. Shure MOTIV MV5

The best retro-style microphone for iPhone

Connector: Lightning, USB | Polar pattern: Directional | Dimensions: 66 × 67 × 65mm (2.6 x 2.63 x 2.5 inches) | Weight: 544g (19.2oz)

Retro looks
Connects to USB or Lightning
Apple approved
Not super-portable

Another Apple-approved microphone for iPhone, the Shure MOTIV MV5 has a lovely retro-inspired industrial design. It features three onboard DSP presets (Vocals, Flat, Instrument) that ensure optimal settings for different sources, making it suitable for everything from music to podcasting.

The Shure MOTIV MV5 comes with two included cables, one connecting via USB and the other via Lightning, allowing you to use it with Mac, PC, iPhone, iPod, iPad and Android devices. You also get an integrated headphone output for real time monitoring, a detachable desktop stand, and a free recording app. Plus at time of writing, there’s a special offer, giving you two months of Adobe Premiere Rush with every purchase.

(Image credit: Ik)

9. IK Multimedia iRig MicCast HD

Quality pocket-sized microphone for iPhone

Connector: Lightning, Micro-USB, USB-C | Polar pattern: Cardioid | Dimensions: 50 x 27 x 50mm (1.97 x 1.06 x 1.06 inches) | Weight: 68g (2.4oz) | Powered by: Device

Tiny and light
Wide compatibility
Magnetic mounting
Not the cheapest

‘Pocket sized’ is often a term that’s abused by marketing people, but this fantastically compact device really does fit the bill. At just an inch wide, this dual sided microphone comes with Lightning, Micro-USB and USB-C cables, allowing you to use it with all kinds of phones, tablets and PCs, including the latest iPhones. There’s also a headphone jack, so you’ll be able to monitor your recording too. And it’s easy to attach to your iPhone, thanks to snap-on magnetic mounting that even works with a case.

(Image credit: Shure)

10. Zoom iQ7

The best microphone for recording music on your iPhone

Connector: Lightning | Polar pattern: Bidirectional | Dimensions: 55 x 57 x 27mm (2.1 x 1 x 2.2 inches) | Weight: 160g (4.8oz) | Powered by: Device

90, 120, and Mid-Side recording
Light and compact
Sophisticated app
Overkill for non-musicians

Want to capture music with your microphone? Then the Zoom iQ7 is a great choice, as it offers you mid-side recording: a technique where two mics are close together, and stereo is achieved via differences in loudness. Another tiny, pocket sized device, the iQ7 enables features a directional 'mid' mic that captures audio coming from in front, and a bidirectional 'side' mic that covers the signal all around you.

A three-way stereo width switch allows you to customise your recordings: set it to 90° to focus on an individual sound, or 120° for a wider sound-stage. Finally, the included app provides MS decoding for variable stereo width, as well as variety of effects such as reverb and six-band EQ, as well as editing tools such as Normalize and Divide. As you’d expect, you can also monitor the audio through headphones. 

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Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.