Q A friend in Australia want me to get Skype so that we can talk without incurring huge costs. Does my iMac have the microphone and speakers necessary
A Every model of iMac has featured a built-in microphone – dual mikes since 2012 – and speakers.
If you are still uncertain, check the former by opening the Sound pane and clicking on the Input tab. You should there see a mike and be able to control its audio input level. Download the free Skype application and it will inform you whether that is supported.
However most users prefer a compatible phone-like device or headphones with integral microphone, which are available for modest cost from electronics retailers. These also eliminate the risk of feedback that can sometimes occur when using your built-in mike and speaker, although they are carefully designed to minimise that risk.
If you are going to use this anything more than occasionally, you should, with your friend, explore alternatives, including Apple’s own FaceTime, which works very well with iOS devices.
Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 28 issue 06, 2012.