A nice feature of Macs is that they’re 100% compatible with Apple’s earbuds that are supplied with iPhones. This means the microphone component of the earbuds will work fine in addition to the headphones themselves, and even the up/down clicker will work within apps like iTunes to increase/decrease volume, or change tracks.
But what if you want to use the headphones component of the earbuds to listen to music, but NOT utilise the microphone/clicker components? In other words, you want to keep using the Mac’s built-in microphone – which has a greater listening range than that of the earbuds?
The solution is to use an inexpensive 3.5mm jack extender cable or plug, such as the one pictured below. These can be bought for a few dollars/pounds/Euros on site like eBay. Avoid those specifically built for extending Apple earbuds, and instead get one built for extending basic stereo headphones/outputs. You can tell by looking at the “collars” on the 3.5m jack — if there are two black collar separators then you’re good to go, but three back separators means the mic is wired through too. And that’s not what you want.
Notably, for this to work you need to attach the extender first to your Mac, and then plug your headphones into the other end of the extender. Always in that order, in a two-step manoeuvre. Don’t attach everything at once, because then the Mac might switch to using the earbud’s microphone as usual.