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Monterey Bluetooth bug

macOS Monterey ships with a Bluetooth bug that causes all output to be muted whenever a Bluetooth device’s microphone is muted.

We fixed this bug in Mic Drop 1.4. If you just want your headphones to work again, download the latest version of Mic Drop and you’re golden.

Keep reading for more on the bug and our hacktastic fix. 🤓

Why does my audio mute when I mute my microphone on a Bluetooth device?

This is a bug in macOS Monterey. Bluetooth input and output are (incorrectly) linked in Monterey, so anytime your Bluetooth mic is muted, the audio will cut out. It happens with any app that mutes the mic, although it only impacts Bluetooth headphones.

We detected the issue in August and filed a bug reportExternal link with Apple. They haven’t responded or resolved the issue, so it’s not clear when it will be fixed.

How can I fix it?

We fixed it for you! Update Mic Drop to the latest version and let us know how it works for you. Now you won’t have to resort to using wired headphones like a caveman.

How does the fix work?

When Mic Drop detects you’re using a Bluetooth mic as your microphone, it automatically switches your Mac’s microphone to a non-Bluetooth mic. In many cases, this will be your Mac’s built-in microphone or your webcam.

Whenever you mute using Mic Drop, we mute all inputs except Bluetooth devices. This stops your Bluetooth headphones from being muted, but it also means you can’t use the mic built in to your Bluetooth headphones.

Fortunately, most Macs have a reliable built-in mic, so this approach works well. Mic Drop will select the first non-Bluetooth mic it finds, but you can change the input in System Preferences > Input.

Matt wrote a whole blog post on how we implemented our Monterey Bluetooth workaroundExternal link.

Make sure other apps aren’t using Bluetooth input

Some apps may try to use a different microphone to your system settings, which means they’ll collect audio from a microphone that isn’t muted. We can’t control or predict this, but we do try to prevent other apps from using the input of Bluetooth microphones by disabling other app’s access to Bluetooth mics when Mic Drop is running.

Built-in microphones and clamshell mode

Recent MacBooks (since about 2018), including all M1 MacBooks, have a physical disconnect for the built-in microphone when the lid is closed. This is to prevent sleeping devices from listening to you, but it means you can’t use the built-in microphone in clamshell mode.

Mic Drop will ignore the built-in microphone in clamshell mode when using Bluetooth headphones, instead trying to use another mic (like the one built into your webcam). If no mutable microphones are available in clamshell mode, we’ll let you know with a “Mute Error” notification.

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