How to Force Bluetooth Headphones to Use Internal Microphone in macOS

I love using my AirPods and my Urbanears Plattan 2 headphones with my Mac.

However, when macOS uses the microphone in AirPods or the Urbanears, the audio in the headphones goes to mono, sounding like an AM radio. It turns out that if you select “Internal Microphone” from Sound Preferences (or use the shortcut of Option-clicking on the Sound icon in your menu bar, and select “Internal Microphone” from the “Input” section), then your headphones go back to stereo and sound awesome again.

The problem is that—at least for me and some other users—macOS always selects the headphones’ microphone as the Input device when you connect your AirPods or other bluetooth headphones.

So I wanted to find a solution to this. Even if it involved coding up a solution.

Turns out there’s a really interesting AppleScript-based solution here:

Ask Different (Stack Exchange) – How to always use internal microphone?

I was fully prepared to do the AppleScript thing, or even go the extra step (as my reply to that solution suggests) and build a Mac menu bar app to handle this. But then I stumbled on this other solution that requires no coding (AppleScript/Swift/ObjC/Other) in High Sierra, and it turns out it’s super easy to configure.

Disclaimer: Please note that the answer was in the comment section of the article and it seems to work on High Sierra (I’m on 10.13.6), but I don’t know if this works on Mojave and beyond.

Open the standard “Audio MIDI Setup.app” utility, and click the + at the bottom to create an Aggregate Device. Then select the Internal Microphone as the only component in this aggregate device and select it as the default input. For some reason this prevents Mac OS X from selecting the Bluetooth Microphone from now on and it will stay on the internal one when you reconnect.

After creating that aggregate input, go to your usual System Preferences -> Sound -> Input (tab)

Source: http://ssrubin.com/posts/fixing-macos-bluetooth-headphone-audio-quality-issues-with-hammerspoon.html#comment-4018174387

Pro Tip: To get to Audio MIDI Setup quickly, an easy way is to just invoke your Spotlight Search (Cmd-Spacebar or whatever you have it mapped to), and type “Audio” – it should pick it up, or at least be in the list of results.

The great news is that—at least in my preliminary tests with disconnecting and reconnecting my bluetooth headphones—it appears macOS does in fact hold on to the Internal Microphone setting. My one concern at this point is whether that would impact connecting other microphones. I suspect it will be a matter of manually selecting the microphone in the Sound Preferences (or menu), but I can live with that because it’s the much-less-common scenario for me.

Resend a Message in Mac OS X Mail

I’ve been using Mac OS X Mail.app for some years now and have always wanted the ability to resend an email message after I had already sent it (e.g. resend it to another recipient, instead of forwarding). I always thought this was a missing feature of Mail.

Turns out it’s not. It has been there all along in various forms, and here’s how you do it:

How to Resend a Message in Mac OS X Mail – About Email

  • Resend a Message in Mac OS X Mail To send a message again in Mac OS X Mail:
  • Highlight the message in the Sent folder (or any other folder you have moved it to).
  • Select Message | Send Again from the menu (or press Command-Shift-D).
    • In Mac OS X Mail 1.x, select File | Open As New Message from the menu.
  • Edit the message and send it (again), like a new message.
Posted in Mac

Fixing the Mac OS X Zoom Button

I love Mac OS X, but there’s been something that has always annoyed me about mac resizing behavior, even back to the days when I started using Macs with System 6.x, and that’s the Zoom button behavior. I get what it’s supposed to do, but I never agreed with it and never used it for that purpose… one of the only things Windows got kinda right was Maximize, so here’s a tip for making the Zoom button behave like a maximize button. The nice thing is that the Right Zoom application can be configured selectively. 

Make the OS X maximize button work like Windows
One very, very common question/complaint from folks who have recently switched from Windows to Mac is “Why does the green button only resize windows and apps?”. It’s a totally valid question – the resizing behavior has always annoyed me too, and I made the switch years ago. Fortunately, there’s a very small and perfectly customizable program called Right Zoom that will change the default behavior and truly maximize programs when you click the green “Zoom” button” (). This tutorial will show you how to use it and set it up to best suit your needs.

Hope it helps.

 

The Remote is Dead! Long Live the Remote!

Imagine my dismay when I discovered that my Apple Remote had taken a ride through the clothes washer and dryer a couple of weeks ago… As you may imagine, this journey rendered the remote inoperative and useless (albeit totally dry).

Apple Remote

Apple Remote

Additionally, searching on the Apple Store was a bit more depressing since the device is evidently no longer available… yikes.

eBay to the Rescue

Thankfully there’s eBay.

After nosing around a bit I was able to find several vendors who had very reasonable prices on basically brand-new remotes. I think mine ended up being $6.99 USD.

At any rate, it arrived today and I was very pleased to try it out while listening to iTunes and it works perfectly. At that rate I probably should have purchased a few extras just in case this happens again…

Let’s hope not.

Strange Behavior

My next task was to resolve a very strange and annoying problem if you have more than one Mac in the proximity while using the remote. This happened to me while on vacation — the remote was pointed at my MacBook Pro, but in addition to controlling it, my wife’s MacBook was also responding to the controller, starting and stopping iTunes while a movie was playing on my computer. Very interesting.

Thankfully it is possible to pair up your remote to your computer, and I’ve already paired the new remote with my laptop and will do the same with our other MacBook and its respective controller…

Whew!