iPhone 7 came with many good things, but not all features introduced in this iteration were necessarily welcomed by the public with open arms. One example was the removal of the 3.5 mm jack, leaving users with a significant concern regarding how they will connect their headphones. It was ultimately unpopular.
And it soon became clear that this happened to make way for Apple’s new mainline set of Bluetooth headphones, the AirPods, which also proved unpopular. And despite that, the 3.5 mm jack didn’t make a return in the iPhone 8, making it clear to users that they would no longer be listening to their iPhones using traditional headphones. Or wouldn’t they?
With some persistence, you can still enjoy music on your iPhone 7 or 8, even without the 3.5 mm port. The following are cheaper and more practical alternatives to the AirPods that allow for wired or wireless listening. We’ve made sure to give you the pros and cons of these options to help you know the best ones for you.
Bluetooth Headphones and Speakers
The most popular solution for the missing 3.5 mm jack problem is to go full-fledged wireless. Shifting to Bluetooth headphones and speakers will work best for you if you casually listen to music in the background at work or at home to help you relax. Or it’s for those who want to play music for a party to create a better indoor ambience.
Pros: What’s the most significant advantage of such wireless devices? You do not have to worry about wires anymore! Also, you can use them on their own without the need for an additional device attachment. Just connect them to your iPhone’s Bluetooth connection, and your problem is solved.
Cons: These gadgets work on battery, and they need to be charged every so often, something that you have to worry about aside from charging your iPhone. Its connection can be easily disrupted, too, unlike in cabled connection. More importantly, the music played through Bluetooth gadgets are more compressed than in wired ones, so the sound quality is far better with a cabled connection. As a result, these are not for those who listen to music seriously and not for those who study music.
Do you need to stream music from your iPhone to multiple locations of your house? Do you want to play your favourite songs all over your café or restaurant? Try Wi-Fi speakers, so you can hear your playlist wherever you are!
Pros: Have a hassle-free wireless connection with Wi-Fi speakers, just like with Bluetooth ones but with better sound quality. The Wi-Fi capability of these speakers allows you to connect multiple devices of the same brand or kind to your iPhone, as long as they are within the Wi-Fi’s range. It even offers more useful functions than its Bluetooth counterpart like voice control features.
Cons: Of course, you will need a stable Wi-Fi connection to enjoy it. And buying more Wi-Fi speakers means more expenses.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Adapters
How about if you wish to have a wireless speaker but don’t have the budget for it? Spend less for wireless playback devices with these Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters!
Pros: Try Wi-Fi adapters to connect your iPhone to any stereo with an auxiliary input port! These adapters are attached to the input port to give them Wi-Fi capability. What’s also great about these adapters is that they have versatile compatibility for you to be able to use them for almost any speakers, even for your car’s audio component! And like the Wi-Fi speaker, it allows you to connect multiple speakers to your iPhone.
Similarly, a Bluetooth adapter lets you stream music from your iPhone to any audio component that has an RCA cable or 3.5 mm jack allowing the speaker to have Bluetooth capability. Adapters with 3.5 mm jacks can even be used for any headphone not only to play music but also to answers/ends calls through the adapter’s mic capability and button controls. You can also enjoy more power over your iPhone playlist through the adapter’s song navigation and volume control features.
Cons: There’s nothing much to say about the negative side of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Though they come with additional costs, it’s worth it and cheaper than a wireless speaker or headphone.
Lightning to 3.5 mm Dongles/ Splitters
These dongles or splitters are for those who do not have any other headphone other than the conventional ones. If you want to use them on your iPhone, you will have to get one of these:
Pros: With a Lightning to 3.5 mm dongle or splitter, you can plug your old trusty cabled headphones that you use for all your devices to your iPhone 7 or 8. You can even use now on your iPhone the top of the line wired headphones that you bought with the use of one of these adapters. And with the versatility of the Lightning port, there are possibilities for the development of more superior music gadgets for the newest iPhones with the help of this kind of adapter.
Cons: Both the dongle and the splitter do not come with mic support, so you cannot use it to answer a call or give commands to Siri, even with a mic-capable headset. Also, once your iPhone runs out of battery, you will have to unplug the adapter to charge the phone, so you can’t use your headphone while charging.
Solve the problem with a Lightning splitter that allows you to charge on one port and attach a headphone to the other. But you will have to shell out extra for the dongle and more for the splitter, which you could have avoided with a built-in 3.5 mm jack on the phone.
What if you want to connect your old wired headphones to the iPhone itself? What if you don’t want to carry around additional adapter and cables? It is possible with Bluetooth cases for your iPhone!
Pros: These cases house your iPhones perfectly with two ground-breaking features: a Bluetooth capability to link the case to your iPhone and a 3.5 mm jack to plug any headphone into the case. With these cases, you can bridge the connection between your iPhone and headphone so that you can listen to music just like on conventional phones. These also have additional audio features conveniently built in the case for playback options and other controls.
Cons: Like the wireless adapters, Bluetooth cases do not have many negative points except that you will incur additional costs so that you can use your wired headphones on your latest iPhone.
Now, if you’re a cabled headphone loyalist and you’re willing to shell out for a new kind of wired headphones, try this new breed of headsets made especially for iPhones like Apple’s Lightning EarPods. If you’re not a fan of the EarPods, you can choose from other brands that have adopted this design.
Pros: The headphones come with a lighting connector, so you don’t need to buy an additional adapter for your latest iPhone. What’s more is these kinds of headphones have advanced features such noise cancellation or noise control, similar to the high-end wired headphones.
Cons: Your compatibility options for Lightning headphones are very limited since you can only use it for iPhones.
Apple iPhone Lightning Dock
Are you a multi-tasker and would like to do more with your iPhone while listening to music? Get a Lightning dock by Apple for your music and other needs.
Pros: You can accomplish a lot of things with your iPhone with this dock which is designed to let you charge your phone, connect a wired headphone, and sync with your Mac simultaneously.
Cons: What’s the downside? It has to be charged apart from your phone and does not come with the cable for charging. And the dock will have to be plugged into a power source when charging or to a computer while syncing, so you will not be able to move while your wired headphone is connected to it.
USB Digital Audio Converters
As for speakers and headphones, we know that the best audio output is produced by the cabled ones. It’s a good thing that these playback devices are the common ones, so you can easily avail them if you don’t have one yet. And even if you buy a cheap one, did you know you can still play higher definition audio fit for music lovers and musicians from your iPhone to these speakers or headphones?
Pros: What it does is it converts digital music from your iPhone to analogue music which can be played in superior quality in your wired headphone. This USB converter has a USB connector that connects to your iPhone on one end and a 3.5 mm jack that allows you to connect your cabled headphone on the other.
Cons: Before you can use it, you will need to find a Lightning to USB dongle to connect your USB converter to your iPhone
These are the tried and tested ways that will allow you to jam to your favourite music without the AirPods. While much of these require you to buy additional gadgets for your iPhone, they’re significantly cheaper compared to the AirPods. That just goes to show that with some ingenuity, you don’t have to settle for the expensive options that Apple almost always lays on the table.