There's No Headphone Port on iPhone 7

Written by BradzTech on Sep 8, 2016

Correct: there is, in fact, no 3.5mm headphone port in the iPhone 7. So what's Apple's new plan for allowing iPhone users to utilize headphones or earbuds? Good news-- you can still use your "outdated" (according to Apple) headphones.

Lightning Audio

There is only one port left on the iPhone: the lightning connector. In the September 7th Keynote, Phil Schiller explained that Lightning has always been intended to be used as an audio adapter; now that vision is finally coming to fruition.

Once Apple begins shipping the iPhone 7 on September 16th, it will come with both:

  • EarPods with Lightning Connector
  • Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter

The earbuds (branded EarPods) that ship with the iPhone now connect to the phone through a lightning adapter, just like the iPhone's charging cable. Furthermore, iPhone 7 users can still use their "outdated" headphones which use a 3.5mm adapter by connecting them to the adapter that comes with the phone. That's right-- you don't have to pay extra for an adapter! A smart move by Apple.

3.5mm Audio is "outdated"?

Schiller stated that the primary reason for cutting out the headphone jack was "courage". The 3.5mm port was taking up extra space in the amazingly thin iPhone, and, as I could imagine, it was likely getting in the way of making the iPhone 7 water-resistant. He even stated that old port has been around for a hundred years, implying that the 3.5mm headphone jack is "outdated".

The question becomes: did Apple make the right decision? It offered a seriously convincing case that nixing the headphone jack is necessary for moving forward. For instance, it showed earbuds with active noise cancellation that are powered by the phone through the lightning cable-- a task that would require some sort of external battery if used over analog audio.

However, I can foresee one potential issue with connecting earbuds to the Lightning port: you can't charge your phone and use the earbuds simultaneously!

In reality, the 3.5mm port is, at this point, far from outdated, contrary to Apple's message. Most headphone manufacterers probably still want to support the industry standard as opposed to just iOS devices. On the bright side, at least the adapter is complimentary!

What about Wireless?

Additionally, Apple is supporting wireless audio as a potential replacement to 3.5mm audio devices. They announced a new product, called AirPods, which essentially seem to look like the EarPods with the cords cut off. They do seem rather interesting thanks to unique features like detecting whether they are in your ear. However, they do not come with the iPhone 7; in fact, they will set you back an additional $159 (a typical premium for a wireless audio device)! Not to mention many are spectulating that they will be very easy to lose by simply falling out of your ear...

About BradzTech

Welcome! I'm BradzTech, a Computer Science student at Rochester Institute of Technology. I am passionate about computers and analyzing the latest happenings in the rapidly developing modern field of technology, specifically, using it to help people. I share my thoughts on Twitter and, occasionally, here on my blog. Learn more about me.