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Apple made the decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack starting with the iPhone 7 line back in 2016. And despite the doom and gloom from many tech pundits who saw the move as anti-consumer, iPhone sales continued to grow.
While many iPhone fans have switched to wireless Bluetooth headphones, or even Apple’s own AirPods, there’s another option available if you still want to use wired headphones. Instead of a headphone jack, you can purchase headphones that connect via Lightning cable.
What Are Lightning Headphones?
Lightning headphones, as you could probably guess by the name, plug directly into the charging port of your device.
A major advantage of Lightning headsets, compared to regular wired versions, is that manufacturers can use their own digital signal processor and digital-to-analog converter, also known as a DAC. That could result in even better audio quality than the analog route.
But there is a major downside to Lighting headphones: you can’t listen to music and charge your device at the same time.
We’ll take a look at several non-Apple Lightning headphone options to check out. We’ll even show you how to keep your regular 3.5mm headphones and still use them with a modern iPhone.
These headphones are part of Libratone’s Q Adapt line. And the top feature of the Libratone Q Adapt in-ear version is four adjustable noise control levels. The first level is a pass-through that allows you to talk to people without taking off the headphones. With each consecutive level, the noise cancellation increases.
You can change the noise cancellation levels on the four-button control that also allows you to play/pause music, change songs, answer calls, and invoke Siri.
Libratone promises a balance of bass, midrange, clear vocals, and crisp high tones. Buyers can select from four Apple-like colors: black, white, nude, and pink. And since in-ear options can be a finicky fit for some ears, the package includes three different sizes of interchangeable ear tips.
Thanks to the triple-driver setup, you’ll definitely enjoy crisp sound with 1More’s In-Ear Headphones.
Nine different sizes of ear tips are included to help ensure a comfortable and secure fit when listening to music and more. The five-direction button headphone controller allows you to make calls, activate Siri, adjust volume, and change music tracks quickly and easily.
Buyers can select from a silver or gold version of the headphones.
A more premium option, Sony’s MDR-1ADAC is focused on providing high-quality audio. Sporting a built-in USB DAC, these headphones include a Lightning cable along with a digital output cable for Sony’s lesser-known Walkman and Xperia devices. The headphones can also work with any device that uses a standard 3.5mm audio cable.
You can adjust the volume of music by turning a dial on the headphones. The on-ear headphones feature both soft earpads and a cushioned headband. When it’s time to travel, the headband slides and the ear cups can swivel to take up less room in the included bag.
If you want to charge your iPhone while listening to music, the Pioneer Rayz Plus is for you. It’s currently the only Lightning headphone to offer simultaneous charging.
Another unique option of these headphones is the ability to respond to the “Hey Siri” command even when your iPhone is in a bag or pocket. That allows you to easily place a call, send a message, listen to music, and more, hands-free. Make sure to take a look at other reasons to start using “Hey Siri.”
AutoPause technology will automatically pause media playback when you remove the headphones. Your music automatically resumes when you put them back in your ear. A special Smart Button on the Lightning plug is customizable. You can set it to bring up a specific app, mute/unmute phone calls, or launch the Rayz app.
5. Thore C150
The Thore C150 is an inexpensive on-ear option that offers the best of both worlds. Along with Bluetooth, Thore includes a four-foot Lightning cable for the headphones.
The headphone’s earcups are covered with a leather exterior and soft foam interior, making long listening sessions comfortable. Instead of a controller on the Lightning cable, you can control music playback and volume with buttons on the exterior of the headphones.
There are three different colors to select from: gray, blue, or white.
Made for a workout or a run, the JBL Reflect Aware features active noise cancellation technology so you can control how much of the outside world you hear. It’s simnple to change the noise cancellation on the headphone cable.
Along with being sweatproof, water-resistant, and easy to clean, reflective cables will help keep you visible on the road. Wearers can find a perfect fit, since JBL includes three sizes of regular ear tips and ergonomic sport tips.
Buyers can select from four different colors: black, blue, teal, or red.
If You Still Want to Use Regular Wired Headphones
For anyone adverse to change who won’t give up their favorite pair of 3.5mm headphones, there’s still a way to rock out without much trouble. While Apple does include a small Lighting to 3.5mm adapter with new iPhones, the Belkin 3.5mm Audio + Charge Rockstar offers a number of advantages.
Along with a 3.5mm headphone adapter, Belkin’s option also provides a Lightning dongle. That means you can listen to music and charge your iPhone at the same time. Just use the standard Lightning cable that comes with every iPhone.
The Rockstar also features a built-in DAC for the best sound quality possible. Belkin backs the adapter with a two-year warranty.
Wired Headphones for iPhones Live On
Even though Apple has moved on from the iPhone’s 3.5mm headphone jack, there’s no need to cut the cord. Whether you select a pair of Lightning headphones or use a wired adapter, enjoy your music.
If you still can’t go wireless, take a look at some of the best wired headphones on the market. We’ve also rounded up the best Bluetooth earbuds with solid battery life if you want to try the wireless life.