7 solutions for the iPhone 7's lack of headphone jack

Not ready to throw away your 3.5mm headphones? Here are some adapters that might be able to help.

No headphone jack? No problem—or at least, not a problem that can’t be fixed with a solid adapter.

Apple caused a commotion after confirming that the iPhone 7 would only sport a Lightning port. This means that all your old headphones with a 3.5mm plug would have to be hooked up to your iPhone 7 using an adapter.

But which adapter is right for you? Here are a few choices...and one that only solves part of the problem.

Apple’s Lightning to 3.5mm adapter

Apple saved itself much of the outrage for getting rid of the headphone jack by including a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter free with every iPhone 7. This adapter is so lightweight, you’ll hardly notice it hanging out at the end of of your headphone cord. It’s also thin enough that it doesn’t get stuck in your pocket. Best of all, you can replace this adapter for only $9, which is very affordable by Apple standards. By comparison, the 30-pin to Lightning adapter is $29, and it had to be purchased separately.

lightning 35mm adapter apple iphone7 Apple

But there are two problems with Apple’s in-box solution. First, it doesn’t have mic and audio control support for third-party headphones, so you can’t use the in-line mic and controls to talk to Siri, take a call, or skip a song. The second issue is that the single input means you can’t charge your iPhone 7 and listen to music at the same time.

Apple’s iPhone Lightning Dock

Apple’s senior VP of marketing, Phil Schiller, has personally shared a solution to the listen-or-charge dilemma: Getting an iPhone Lightning Dock. This Apple accessory lets you charge your iPhone 7 by mounting it on the dock, and then use the spare 3.5mm plug on the back of the dock to listen to your headphones.

iphone lightning dock 2 Apple

Fuze battery case

Thankfully, we are not forced to have to buy one of Apple’s solutions as several third-party accessory-makers have begun selling innovative gadgets to solve this very problem. Take for example the Fuze battery case. Not only does it promise to double the battery life of your iPhone 7, but it also has an integrated 3.5mm audio jack.

fuze case

The folks at Fuze created a successful Indiegogo campaign to fund this solution, which is expected to ship in December. You can still pre-order your case for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus starting at $69, which is very reasonable as far as battery cases go, but we haven’t had a chance to test a Fuze prototype. By comparison, Apple’s Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 7 is $99—it doesn't have a headphone jack, but you can listen to wired headphones via the passthrough Lightning port while your phone charges.

iLDock

Here’s another successful crowd-funding campaign that spawned from Apple’s removal of the headphone, the iLDock (iPhone Lighting Dock). Currently available on Kickstarter for $10, this adapter lets you charge your iPhone 7 and listen to 3.5mm headphones simultaneously.

ildock

In addition, the company has made a Plus version of the iLDock for $20 with a USB port, as well as SD and TF slots. Both the iLDock and the iLDock Plus are expected to ship in November.

F/Stop Labs’ Lightning to 3.5mm adapter

F/Stop Labs has created one of the sleekest adapters for charging your iPhone 7 and listening to music at the same time. The Lightning charging port is on the side, so it makes better use of the space. You can pre-order it now for $25 on Amazon, and it’s expected to be available on October 17.

fstop iphone adapter

This adapter also comes with built-in audio controls so you can control the audio. However you won’t be able to use the microphone on your old pair of headphones, which is a very common incompatibility with all these adapters.

Griffin’s iTrip Clip

This adapter takes a different approach: Using Bluetooth to enable wired headphones with wireless capabilities. And unlike most traditional Lightning adapters, the iTrip Clip can also be used built-in mic so you can take calls or talk to Siri. It’s available now for $20 from Griffin Technology.

gc42924 bluetooth headphone adapter 09 Griffin Technology

Plus, the iTrip Clip has another surprising functionality. Hook it up to your car’s stereo system using an AUX cable, and just like that you can use Bluetooth to play music from your phone.

Belkin’s Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar

Belkin was one of the first accessory makers to unveil an adapter for a iPhone 7, but it’s not really a solution for the lack of headphone jack. Just like its name, the Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar adapter is needlessly clunky. It has dual Lightning ports so that you can charge your iPhone and listen to Lightning headphones at the same time.

belkin lightning audio

But it’s missing a 3.5mm jack... so you will still need to have one of the other gadgets above to listen to your old headphones. At $40, this is an expensive solution considering it only addresses part of the problem. Belkin’s adapter was actually what prompted people to mock the iPhone 7 for needing dongles upon dongles. Remember this?

apple beats dongle adapter.0

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags AppleiPhone 7

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Oscar Raymundo

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?