As you guys may know, for several years now, Apple uses 4-ring headphone jacks instead of 3-ring headphone jacks, and the fourth ring is dedicated to microphone input. This is what lets you have headphones that also serve as a microphone on the iPhone (and probably most competing phones nowadays, too).

Image of a 4-ring jack.

Also for several years now, these jacks have been recognized by MacBook Pros so that you can connect this kind of headset on your computer and use its microphone.

However, even though my MacBook Pro on Mac OS X recognizes the microphone built into my headset (that has one of those 4-ring jacks), it seems that Windows 8.1 on Boot Camp doesn't register my headset as a microphone and instead insists on using only the built-in microphone. This is an issue when I'm playing games because the fan kicks in and annoys everyone voice chatting with me.

Is there a way to make Windows aware of the microphone integrated to my headset and using the fourth ring of the jack?

The device manager says that the headset is advertised by the 'Cirrus Logic CS4206A (AB 11)' audio controller.

  • 3
    It's all in the jack. Non-Apple PC's don't have the jack. See the adapter below. – Fiasco Labs Jan 12 '14 at 19:46
  • It's an issue with drivers, not Windows. It doesn't matter how the microphone is connected, it's the driver that should receive data from it and make it available for Windows. – gronostaj Jan 12 '14 at 19:50
  • @FiascoLabs, I'm using Windows on my MacBook Pro, which supports it. – zneak Jan 12 '14 at 19:52
  • 1
    @gronostaj the drivers are only part of the problem. You need a jack that has the extra cabling support (why there are more rings). If the jack doesn't physically interface with the additional rings, then drivers make no difference. – Austin T French Jan 12 '14 at 20:12
  • 2
    @AthomSfere, I have that extra support. This headset absolutely works on Mac OS X on the same hardware. This is a driver issue. – zneak Jan 12 '14 at 20:13

Only if you use something like this StarTech 3.5mm 4 Position Headset Splitter Adapter - Female to Male

Windows would need a mic plugged into the mic jack, unless the hardware you're using can tell windows that the input jack you're using is for speakers/headset and microphone.

Go to the task bar, and near the clock right click the speaker and click recording devices. Do you see your mic there?

  • The hardware could do it, since it's doing exactly that on Mac OS X. No, the headset microphone doesn't show up. – zneak Jan 12 '14 at 19:57
  • I know the hardware can do it, but windows needs a driver to tell windows what to do with it. I'm sorry for my error windows would need software to tell the computer how to work the hardware. I know the hardware is capable but windows doesn't know that yet. And the adapter is a cheap solution. – GeekyDewd Jan 12 '14 at 20:02
  • Make sure that you have all the driver updates using Windows Apple Software Update, or manually download them from support.apple.com/downloads. Edit: I think Version 3.1 is the newest update, but I am not a Mac user so I may be mistaken. – GeekyDewd Jan 12 '14 at 20:04
  • realitypod.com/2010/07/… – GeekyDewd Jan 12 '14 at 20:06
  • I can't use the adapter because MacBook Pros have a line in, not a microphone in. Pretty sure my drivers are up-to-date, which is why I'm trying to see if there's another solution. – zneak Jan 12 '14 at 20:09

Find the latest RealTek Sound subsystem drivers (check in your device manager on your Win install) on their website for the version of Windows you are running if available. Install them and see if it will pick up the extra ring. It's a 50/50 shot.

It's all still about the jack, Windows drivers never saw fit to support an Apple peripheral just to run under BootCamp.

Most threads on this, and from personal experience says to go get a USB or better yet Bluetooth headset and be done with cords altogether.

Other recommendation is to use Parallels and it virtualizes the microphone which can then be used by the Parallels drivers installed into Windows

  • Does mac use Realtek though? – GeekyDewd Jan 12 '14 at 21:10
  • You will have to check what the BootCamp driver install loads, but that is what was mentioned over on the Apple forums. You're replacing the BootCamp emulation with the real thing. That's why the comment to check in your Windows device manager. – Fiasco Labs Jan 12 '14 at 21:16
  • Bluetooth audio doesn't work via Boot Camp either. So I guess USB is the only option. – Geeks On Hugs Mar 4 '14 at 4:09

Once you plug in your headset, go to the control panel / audio devices. Set the property of the recording device from headset to standalone mic and switch the boost to full. It is by no means perfect as the sound is fairly weak but the best I managed to get out of it...

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