The Best External Microphone for iPhone – Our Review & Verdict!

Best External Microphone for iPhone

You can be Shure it won’t let you down. The Shure MV88 Portable iOS Microphone is the perfect accessory for anyone needing a smaller microphone with exceptional quality to record in their day-to-day lives. This tiny microphone may just be the best iPhone microphone available.

Equipped with a Lightning Adapter instead of the traditional headphone plug, this microphone is exclusive to Apple. Usable with all modern Apple mobile devices, be they iPhones or iPads – this external mic will give you the sound quality you’ve been wishing for.

Shure MV88
9.8/10 Our Score


The Shure MV88 is almost undoubtedly, the best standalone iOS exclusive microphone available to date. It’s the perfect solution if you want to be able to record high-quality content with ease. The cameras on our phones are constantly improving, and since they can now offer fantastic 4K visuals, why should your videos lack decent audio?

It should go without saying, this is not a beginner’s accessory. You should only consider spending this amount of money if you either intend to, or already do record significant amounts of content on your phone. Otherwise, you’re probably better off buying a more cost-effective wireless microphone.

Personally though, I’d thoroughly recommend buying this if you have the budget for it. The Shure MV88 offers a sublime, professional sound that is so clear you will be stunned the first time you hear it, and maybe the second time too. And I’m not alone, over 1250 reviewers would agree, commending its portability and quality.

  • All Metal Construction:
    Shure have used their quality engineering to produce this top range iOS microphone, and it shows. The all-metal build of this mic means that it is ready and able to survive various knock and bumps from your travels.
    The aesthetics of it are stunning as well. With its black and silver colour scheme, it’ll look brilliant attached to your iPhone or iPad. I think one of the best things about the Shure MV88 is that it might be a phone mic, but it definitely feels like a professional microphone – just smaller. 
  • Size & Weight:
    That brings us onto the next point, this is a small, pocket-friendly microphone. It’s not going to take up a lot of space, either while you’re using it or simply carrying it in its case. This makes it unbelievably useful for reporters, since it eliminates the need for a dictaphone.
    You may have stayed away from recording audio on your phone before, but with this small, light attachment you can easily record publication-ready audio at the touch of a button.
    And it really is light. Weighing in at about 40g, it doesn’t add much excess to your phone at all. You can still attach your device to a stand and position it any way you want, safe in the knowledge that it’s going to remain secure and sturdy  
  • Configurable:
    Whether you want to adjust the direction your microphone is pointing, or adjust the cone of stereo width that is picked up, the MV88 is fully configurable. With built-in equaliser control, as well as a selection of presets for recording voices, music, or solo instruments – this microphone is the perfect tool for whatever you have to record.
    So whether you need to record stereo, cardioid or bi-directional audio, the MV88 is able to provide you with professional sound and satisfy all of your recording needs. 
  • ShurePlus MOTIV Apps:
    Both of Shure’s complimentary apps are available on the app store and are the primary method of controlling the more in-depth aspects of the MV88. The apps are split into Video and Audio. Each one allowing you to customise the settings and record directly into the app.You can still use other recording apps to capture sound and visual, though when the app and microphone are used together the process becomes incredibly user-friendly, and the microphone is detected immediately without issue. 
  • Two Months of Adobe Premiere Rush:
    Purchase of this microphone also comes with two months of Adobe Premiere Rush – Adobe’s cross-device video editing app. That’s $20 of additional content provided for free. If you’re looking to get into video production, this will certainly give you a boost.Premiere Rush is a brilliant piece of software that allows you to record, edit, and then share the videos you’ve created. You also get 100GB of cloud storage, plus your videos are instantly transferred across all your connected devices. Want to record on your phone, edit on your laptop and then export on your tablet? You can do that with Premiere Rush.Of course, you can only use it for two months before you have to start paying yourself – but by then, you should be able to decide if it’s worth the monthly cost or not.
  • Cannot Charge while In-Use:
    Perhaps the biggest gripe that people have with the Shure MV88 is the fact that since it connects via the lightning slot, you can’t then charge your phone while using the microphone.This becomes more infuriating when you realise that, significant amounts of recording or streaming from your stream chews through a lot of your battery relatively quickly.With no way to charge your phone, you can be forced to either remove the microphone and tarnish the rest of the recording, or risk the battery failing completely. Neither option is particularly desirable, especially when the quality prior is so outstanding. 
  • Not Compatible with Phone Cases:
    The other major failing with this microphone is that due to the design of its base, you cannot use a case with it either. Knowing how often I accidentally drop my phone, it would surely have suffered significant damage if there wasn’t a protective case around it at all times.Since the MV88 makes that impossible, you must be far more careful to ensure that the worst doesn’t accidentally happen to your phone. Some customers have even resorted to crafting their own solutions, by cutting their cases to allow enough room for the MV88’s base. 
  • Price:
    The price point of this microphone is not something to be overlooked lightly. At the time of writing, it’s potentially the most expensive iPhone mic available today. With a price several times higher than most low-mid range microphones, this is not a purchase you can make impulsively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does external microphone mean?

All phones have a built-in microphone through which you can talk to the person on the opposite side. But this mic is not designed to reduce background noise. You cannot depend on internal mics for recording purposes.

External microphones connect to the phone through either Bluetooth, USB, or a 3.5mm jack and are fine-tuned to remove background noise and pick up sounds specific to certain frequencies. Most of them can reduce the noise due to wind as well effectively.

How much does an external microphone cost?

The sweet spot for external mics lies between $100 to $250. You can get a lot of dynamic, USB, and lavalier microphones in this range.

Can I use an external microphone with my phone?

Yes. In most cases, you can plug in your external microphone either into a 3.5mm jack provided on the phone or through a micro USB port. Another way possible is via Bluetooth, but I would not recommend using Bluetooth for high-quality sound recording.

Can you use an external mic on iPhone?

Yes, despite common misunderstanding, it is very much possible to connect a microphone to your iPhone. One way to do it is by using a Lightning cable to USB Camera adaptor. You can connect your USB microphones easily through this route. If, however, you have a high-end condenser mic, you might want to add a powered USB hub because the iPhone will not be able to give the power that your USB mic needs.

Why is my external microphone not working on my iPhone?

In all likelihood, the Lightning port to 3.5mm adaptor that you are using is faulty. Apple hates products that they do not make, and you will find that many cheap adaptors simply will not work with an iPhone (though they will work with almost every other Android phone).

A simple way to avoid this problem is always to buy genuine Apple-approved adaptors. Visit a nearby apple store, or else order your adaptor online from Apple’s website. You will save yourself money as well as heartburn!

So what do you think?

Is there a product we haven’t considered that you think is better? Or do you already own the MV88 and found any benefits or flaws that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

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