Blue Snowball Not Recognized on Mac? How To Fix It

One of the best audio devices for home studios is the Blue Snowball because it’s easy to install and produces high-quality audio. Using it with your Mac ensures you have the best combination of recording and editing, but what do you do if your Mac doesn’t recognize Blue Snowball?

Your Blue Snowball microphone isn’t recognized on Mac due to either setting, permission, or connection problems. However, you can fix this issue by correctly configuring the audio device settings on your Mac, updating iOS, or resetting SMC. Otherwise, you should check your USB connection. 

Following a few troubleshooting methods, you can successfully use your Blue Snowball on Mac without the need to hire a professional. This article will highlight the various problems that may occur with external microphones on the Mac and how you can fix and prevent them. 

Mac Blue Snowball

1. Set Blue Snowball Microphone as a Sound Input Device

One of the most common reasons a Mac doesn’t detect Blue Snowball (or any other microphone, for that matter) is that the microphone isn’t set as a Sound Input Device. In other words, your Mac is detecting the connection with the Snowball but doesn’t know it should consider it the default mic when needed.

Here’s how you can fix this:

  1. Click on the Apple Logo.
  2. Click on “System Preferences” then “Sound.”
  3. Click “Input.” You now have a list of connected audio devices. Blue Snowball should be included.
  4. Choose Blue Snowball as the Sound Input Device, making it the default microphone on your Mac when connected.

Now your Blue Snowball mic is set as the default microphone when connected. Note that if you cannot find the Snowball in the list of connected audio devices, your computer has a problem connecting to the microphone. I’d suggest checking the USB cable, which I’ll discuss more in-depth later in the article. 

2. Restart Your Mac

Practically everyone who has ever called for IT support has likely heard the phrase “turn it off and back on again.” The reason for this is because it actually works. 

Restarting your Mac will allow the drivers and processes to restart and stop working off saved data. Power cycling will give the devices a chance to reconfigure themselves and work better with each other.

When you restart your device, data that is overloading the RAM is deleted, and the Mac starts again, almost as if it’s the first time it started (that is, like a new device).

I understand that restarting isn’t always feasible. You might be in the middle of a recording session, a game, or other productive uses. However, power cycling is one of the most convenient methods to reconfigure most parameters. So, if you can, give it a try.

3. Allow Access to the Microphone

Third-party apps such as Skype, Zoom, and Discord don’t always automatically have permission to use your microphone. Many people log into these apps, and when their external microphone doesn’t work, they assume that their Mac doesn’t recognize the microphone. 

However, fixing this problem is extremely easy. All you need to do is grant the apps access to your microphone. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Click on the Apple Logo. 
  2. Click on “System Preferences” then “Security and Privacy.”
  3. In the left pane, click on “Microphone.”
  4. Find the third-party app you need to use in the right pane.
  5. Toggle the checkbox to allow the app permission to access the microphone.

4. Configure Blue Snowball Settings

Despite the Blue Snowball being marketed as a plug-and-play deviceOpens in a new tab., there’s always a need for some settings that need to be configured upon setup. If your microphone isn’t correctly set up, you can expect problems in recognizing the device.

Properly configuring your Blue SnowballOpens in a new tab. will ensure that audio levels aren’t too high or too low. Also, you’ll guarantee that the microphone works seamlessly. Here’s how you can configure your microphone’s settings on a Mac:

  1. Click on the Apple Logo.
  2. Click on “System Preferences” 
  3. Switch to the “Sound” tab.
  4. Switch to the “Input” tab.
  5. Select Blue Snowball.
  6. Set the input volume to the highest possible setting.
  7. Test the microphone by speaking into it. You should see level bars increasing and decreasing as you speak louder/quieter.

5. Turn On Dictation Mode

There’s a nifty feature available on all Mac computers and laptops that allows you to use the microphone to dictate instead of typing. Of course, there’s still a long way to go before this becomes the norm for most people. However, keeping it off can interfere with using external microphones like your Snowball.

Keeping dictation turned on will constantly run launch codes that will initiate contact with external and internal microphones periodically. This increases the chance that your Mac will recognize the microphone. Here is how to turn on dictation mode on your Mac:

  1. Click on the Apple Logo.
  2. Click on “System Preferences” then “Keyboard.”
  3. Switch to the “Dictation” tab.
  4. Select “On” to turn on dictation mode.

6. Reset PRAM on Your Mac

PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory) is the compartment memory storage that holds data about system settings. There’s often a glitch in the settings that’s preventing the Mac from connecting with external devices properly. 

Of course, this is more likely when the external device isn’t manufactured by Apple. Nonetheless, resetting PRAM is a way to get around this type of error and help your Mac recognize your external microphone. 

Here’s how to reset PRAM on your Mac:

  1. Click on the Apple Logo.
  2. Select “Shut down.”
  3. After the computer has shut down completely, press the power button immediately, followed by this key-bind: Command + Option + P + R. Hold the key-bind for around half a minute.
  4. Release all four keys together when you hear the first startup sound.

Your PRAM and NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory) should have been successfully reset. There are several similarities between the two, and although NVRAM shouldn’t interfere with microphone recognition, you’ll be resetting both memories together. This will likely fix any glitches in recognizing your Snowball mic.

7. Check the USB Port and Cable

You might find that one of your USB ports isn’t working optimally because you’ve used it more often than others, especially if you’re using an older Mac device. Switching the USB port should remedy the problem. 

However, if there’s no reason to think that your USB port is faulty, try disconnecting the USB cable and reconnecting it to the same port. It might sound like you’re randomly trying anything, but there’s a good reason this might work by refreshing the USB port’s parameters.

Additionally, I would suggest checking the USB cable on the microphone, especially if you can’t see any signs of recognition on the Mac, which might mean that the cable is damaged. You can also plug your Snowball into a different computer if you have access to one. If it doesn’t work, the problem is solely in your microphone and has nothing to do with your Mac.

8. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)

Mac computers have a System Management Controller (SMC), which has many functions. One of those functions is related to recognizing and running non-Apple products. As such, resetting the SMC of your Mac can help fix any glitches you’re experiencing.

While resetting SMC is easy enough, it depends on the model you’re using. You’ll need to check if your computer has a T2 security chipOpens in a new tab.. Here’s how to check whether your device has it:

  1. Click on the Apple logo.
  2. Long-press the Option Key.
  3. Click on “System Information.” 
  4. Click on Controller or iBridge.

If your device does have a T2 security chip, follow the instructions below to reset your SMC.

For Mac Notebooks With T2 Chip

  1. Shut down your Mac notebook.
  2. Press and hold this key-bind for 7 seconds: Left control + left option, right shift).
  3. Continue pressing the aforementioned key-bind, but add the power button. Hold for 4 seconds.
  4. Turn on the Mac notebook (through the power button) after a minute.  

Note: The power might turn on during this process; you should ignore it. 

For Mac Desktops With T2 Chip

  1. Turn off your desktop.
  2. Disconnect the Mac from its power source.
  3. Plug the Mac into its power source after 15 seconds.
  4. Press the power button to turn on your Mac after 5 seconds.

For Mac Notebooks Without T2 Chip

Note that the method below is intended for Mac notebooks without a removable battery. Newer models don’t have a removable battery, so this isn’t something to worry too much about.

  1. Power off the notebook.
  2. Press and hold the following key-bind: Left control + left shift + left option. 
  3. After pressing the first three keys, add the power button to the key-bind. 
  4. Press and hold the four buttons for 10 seconds.
  5. Release all four buttons together.
  6. Press the power button to turn on your Mac notebook.

For Mac Desktops Without T2 Chip

  1. Power off your Mac desktop.
  2. Disconnect the power cord.
  3. Reconnect the power cord after waiting for 15 seconds.
  4. Turn on your Mac (using the power button) after 5 seconds.

9. Start Your Mac in Safe Mode

Safe mode is a way of starting your Mac with only the bare minimum of apps needed for proper functioning. Starting it in safe mode will close all other apps so that they can restart. This can be useful to delete any corrupt data regarding the configuration and recognition of your Blue Snowball microphone. 

There are two ways to start safe mode, depending on the chipset type you have installed on your computer. Below is a detailed guide on starting your Mac in safe mode. 

For a Mac With Intel Chipset

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Power up your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key.
  3. Once you see the login screen, release the Shift key.

Note: You may need to log in a few times to gain access to your Mac. 

For a Mac with Apple Silicon

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press and hold the power button.
  3. When startup options appear, select the startup disk you’re using. 
  4. Press and hold the Shift key. 
  5. Click “Continue in Safe Mode.”
  6. Login.

After logging in, test your Blue Snowball while in Safe Mode. If it’s still not working, there’s likely a hardware malfunction in your microphone. Otherwise, you can continue by leaving safe mode. To do so, restart your Mac. 

Once your Mac has started normally, I recommend testing your microphone another time.  

10. Update macOS

Lastly, you may want to consider updating your macOS. This is especially true if you haven’t updated more than two versions of macOS. You can check which macOS versionOpens in a new tab. you’re running by clicking on the Apple logo and selecting “About This Mac.”

You should get detailed information about the current state of your Mac, including which version of macOS it’s running. 

Luckily, updating macOS is very simple. Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Apple logo.
  2. Click on “System Preferences.”
  3. Click on “Software Update.”

Now your Mac will run a software update check to see if there are any updates available for your model. If it finds any updates, you’ll be prompted to click on “Update Now.” You’ll likely need to enter your Apple ID password to restart the device. 

If the system doesn’t find any updates available, there’s nothing more to do. 

What if Nothing Works?

If you’ve tried all the aforementioned fixes, there’s a high chance that you’ve already fixed the problems with your mic, and you’ll be able to start recording as planned. However, in the unlikely event that none of these fixes work, I suggest you contact the store where you bought the microphone and try getting a replacement if possible.

However, if you’ve successfully used your Snowball on your Mac before and it suddenly stopped working, there’s a high probability that the microphone is physically damaged, and no amount of tweaking settings and updating will fix the problem. 


Although there are sometimes problems with Mac laptops and computers in recognizing external microphones such as the Blue Snowball, there are several ways you can troubleshoot the problem on your own.

More often than not, the issue is the incorrect configuration of the mic, which is easy to fix. However, if that doesn’t work, you may need to reset settings, update iOS, or check your USB connection.


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I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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