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Want to use wired headphones and charge your iPhone 7 simultaneously? You'll need an extra dongle

By Shawn Knight ยท 52 replies
Sep 8, 2016
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  1. Apple on Wednesday confirmed that it had indeed eliminated the “dinosaur” (Apple’s description, not mine) 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. To ease the transition, Apple is bundling a set wired EarPods with Lightning plug as well as a Lightning-to-3.5mm audio adapter with every new phone.

    That’s great and all but what if you want to listen to audio via wired headphones while charging your iPhone 7? Well, you’re going to need an additional accessory for that.

    Apple’s own solution to the issue is the Apple Lightning Dock, a standard dock that cradles your Lightning-equipped iPhone (even when using an Apple-designed case) and provides a Lightning port and a 3.5mm audio jack. It’s available in five colors different colors and will set you back $49.

    If you plan to use 3.5mm headphones, this is all you'll need but if you want to use wired Lightning headphones and charge at the same time, this isn't for you. Belkin’s new Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will, however, do the trick.

    For $39.95, this accessory is essentially a Lightning port splitter, turning the single Lightning port on your new iPhone into two Lightning ports. This will allow you to charge your iPhone and listen to audio via wired Lightning headphones simultaneously.

    Of note is the fact that Belkin’s dongle doesn’t have a 3.5mm audio jack. That said, you’ll need to use Apple’s included Lightning-to-3.5mm audio jack dongle along with Belkin’s dongle to charge the phone and use 3.5mm-equipped headphones at the same time. What a mess of cables that’ll be.

    The other solution, of course, is to use a wireless set of headphones either over Bluetooth or with a solution using Apple’s new W1 chip such as the AirPods.

    Permalink to story.

    nicolas holao likes this.
  2. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe Banned Posts: 837   +441

    What a joke.
    Reehahs, m4a4, ikesmasher and 2 others like this.
  3. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,555   +921

    I just want to know what type of person tethers themselves to their phone with headphones and a charging cable.
  4. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 648   +58

    Transitional technology yields transitional devices. Does anyone buy cassette adapter kits for their car cassette deck stereos so they can use their discman in the car? This too, shall pass. It might take longer, the 3.55mm jack is everywhere, but it will eventually disappear. My great great grandkids might ask their parents 'what's a 3.55mm jack?'
    nicolas holao likes this.
  5. lacisnot

    lacisnot TS Rookie

    People who work at a desk and listen to music
    wastedkill, veLa, Reehahs and 6 others like this.
  6. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 8,253   +1,269

    No wireless charging on the latest iPhone... that would have resolved part of this issue. Personally is one of the most convenient features on a phone by far.
  7. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,460   +1,035

    If they REPLACED the jack with another port, then the backlash wouldn't be as bad. Now it just looks like a cash grab...
    nicolas holao and BSim500 like this.
  8. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 609   +1,225

    No-one buys them anymore precisely because virtually every car stereo I've seen has a 3.5mm "aux" input that works with every mobile device under the sun (phones, MP3 players, tablets, etc). If anything that proves the exact opposite of what you were trying to show.

    And they'll reply "It's that thing you plug your headphones into that's on every device in the world except those long obsolete Apple iPhones"...
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
    Musician, Reehahs and tuxbugy like this.
  9. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,696   +427

    And those with crappy batteries that plug in a charging battery pack while out and about listening to music.
    lacisnot likes this.
  10. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,450   +1,919

    trust me, it will take another decade or two before the good old 3.5mm jack will disappear. removing it now is just stupid considering the fact that all they did is create a mess of cables and dongles.
    nicolas holao and Raoul Duke like this.
  11. Technosense

    Technosense TS Member Posts: 42   +25

    Can't believe it doesn't have wireless charging either, what a stupid decision as it could have been handled better in so many ways. Is it greed, incompetence or arrogance driving them?
  12. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,450   +1,919

    it's money. have you even seen the stupid high prices of those cables, dongles and peripherals?
  13. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +288

    A comedy of errors.
  14. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +288

    It's not clear from the picture but does the dongle force you to use a 3.5mm headphone connector instead of the lightning connector? The lightning connector is only used for power at this point right?

    So if you were to go out and buy a lightning connector compatible set of speakers or headphones AND you wanted to charge your phone at the same time... you'd be SOL? Or would you have to buy another dongle?
    nicolas holao likes this.
  15. Musician

    Musician TS Enthusiast Posts: 39   +23

    Been using the iPhone since 3GS days. I lived with many workarounds for simple things like no native FLAC support, file storage access and no attaching files in emails (this only came in iOS 9!).

    With the removal of the 3.5mm jack, Apple has successfully made me go looking around for a decent Android phone. Enough of workarounds.
    Arris and Phr3d like this.
  16. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,552   +1,545

    My God, you'd think the world had ended... the 3.5mm port is unecessary, and they INCLUDE lightning earbuds so the vast majority of people won't care.

    Look around on the street at the people you see on their phones.... most are either

    A) Using the earbuds/headphones that came with their phone
    B) Using Bluetooth headphones/earbuds
    C) Being a complete jerk and listening via speaker (I HATE those people - I don't want to hear their conversations/music while I'm walking beside them!!).

    NONE of these people will be impacted in any way by the lack of a 3.5mm port...

    And if you need to charge while you listen, that almost certainly means you aren't mobile (yes, there are charging packs, but they aren't used very often while listening to music, as they get used when you are trying to squeeze extra life for your phone) but sitting at a desk - so a few extra inches of cable shouldn't really bother you...

    I suspect Apple has done a lot of market research and come up with these same conclusions... it's not like they're going to try and turn people away from their products!

    As for "most cars have an AUX port"... try buying a new car... AUX is a thing of the past... while many cars are still sold with it, it's USB (and / or Bluetooth) that is found in cars nowadays - and you can simply plug your smartphone into that!
  17. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,450   +1,919

    I looked and most people were using wired headphones with a 3.5mm jack. You should probably visit a park in the weekend or something more than just a random street.
    FYI the majority of people are using nothing. It still doesn't make the decision to remove the 3.5mm jack any less stupid. It's just another way for Apple to get money from their devoted fanatic followers.
  18. Musician

    Musician TS Enthusiast Posts: 39   +23

    Consumers pay a premium for convenience. I am not paying for another workaround just because Apple decided that the 3.5mm jack takes up a few more mm of space.

    I see my colleagues use the EarPods as well because they work on the phone and their laptops. Now that the new pair has a Lightning connector, I bet they will be forced to have 2 pairs of earphones (or use the adapter for their shiny new iPhone without 3.5mm jack with their old EarPods).

    Well, everyone has a choice. To pay for what you want or to simply follow a brand.

    Edit: You can go the Bluetooth route if you don't mind mediocre playback and another device to charge (omg...). iPhone has neither Aptx nor FLAC support.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
    Phr3d likes this.
  19. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,552   +1,545

    If you're arguing about whether or not you like the iPhone, then the 3.5mm is irrelevant... supporting Aptx or FLAC doesn't hinge on what ports a phone has (or doesn't have)...

    The 3.5mm to lightning adapter (which is included) is actually not inconvenient to use in any way (take a look at it, it basically just adds a couple inches to your existing cable...
    It's only if you need to charge AND listen to WIRED headphones that it gets a bit "messy" - but since you almost certainly won't be mobile while doing that, an extra dongle or 2 shouldn't really matter much.

    Oh... as for bluetooth being "inferior sound".... if you're listening to music on your iPhone, then you won't be able to distinguish much of a difference... Bluetooth's audio failings are only apparent if you're listening to "uber quality" audio - which the iPhone doesn't deliver anyways...

    And as for Puiu - the wired headphones you see usually are the ones that came with the device in question - so if you buy an iPhone 7, just use the ones that come with it!
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
    nicolas holao likes this.
  20. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +86

    I trust that the lightening female will be Very strong on such a premium device, as that adapter cable and connector will be able to transmit quite a lot of twisting force to it, when a headphone cable gets caught on an elbow, or your child's hands.
    Guessing that the Lightning connector on the 'included' headphones will be designed to easily pull free of the phone when tangles occur (meaning: Not damage the female in the process of being yanked out).

    Much as I appreciate the effort in developing a new BT music chip, proprietary solutions with a notoriously short lifespan will bust any actual improvements over the BT standard(NEXUS 6, two year life-span, Decker).

    Bluetooth music is just plain bad - regardless of the feed. FLACs played through a good set of headphones from a phone, easily carried with you as you go about your day, are Surprisingly much better in quality, even to people that don't care that much, or were raised on distortion & thud (not that I expect this common knowledge to sway people who base absolute statements upon painfully limited imagination and experience).
  21. Musician

    Musician TS Enthusiast Posts: 39   +23

    Think about it as a phone in general.

    If I went wired, why do I have to use an adapter for my earphones with 3.5mm jack? I have different pairs for their own purposes. So I'm supposed to keep an adaptor with me at all times to ensure I can use my earphones on the iPhone? What if I lost it or left the adapter on a different set of earphones at home? Then there's the issue of only one Lightning port (can't charge and listen at the same time).

    If I went wireless via Bluetooth, I'm stuck with SBC profile. Ok, I'll take it that different people have different hearing, but I can hear the difference. Do a search and you'll find a lot more people that can as well. Add the hassle of having to charge another device that doesn't last long. My Sonys claims 7 hours, but real life performance is around 3-4 hours continuous.

    If the 3.5mm was there (even with the limitations of the onboard DAC), it would have presented itself as a great convenience to the users.

    As I see it, compromises have to made for the iPhone 7 which I don't see why the consumers have to if we paying for one of the most expensive (if not the most expensive) phone in the mass market.
  22. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,450   +1,919

    1. just by having to carry that thing around makes it inconvenient.
    2. you clearly never worked at a desk a day in your life. not only do I charge my phone, but I also use it to carry documents and other files so I keep it connected to my PC almost 24/7
    3. the audio quality of bluetooth is incredibly poor even for regular usage. it doesn't even provide average quality sound and you have to recharge 1 more thing.
    4. it's incredibly stupid to ask someone to listen to a pair of cheap headphones when you know they have a better pair.
    you don't need more than what apple gives you? that's the most retarded thing I've heard in my life. only a blind fanboy can say that.
    I'm sorry, but all you said smells of ignorance. You've never had a good pair of headphones and you clearly don't listen to music beyond what MTV gives you or the car radio. Something that I find to be incredibly sad, such a pity.
    darkzelda and lacisnot like this.
  23. Hadakajime

    Hadakajime TS Rookie

    Umm someone who's phone has low battery...?

    Including watching videos or listening to podcast/music in the following circumstances:

    In bed, with phone plugged into wall charger.
    On couch, using laptop to charge phone.
    On a train, charging with a power pack.
    At work, streaming and charging at your desk while working.
  24. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,552   +1,545

    1:) It's attached to the headphone cable - it weighs next to nothing and is only a couple inches long.... Not that inconvenient...
    2:) yes, I actually worked at a desk a ton... I used to work in IT where I sat at my desk virtually all day (it's why I'm a teacher now, couldn't stand it). Listening to a smartphone while at your desk isn't any harder with a dock/adapter plugged into it then not...
    3:) no it isn't - using newer Bluetooth standards makes it virtually indistinguishable for most users... And if you CAN distinguish a difference - I refer you back to the adapter!!
    4:) I'm not - you can use ANY headphones you want with the iPhone 7 - I refer you back to the adapter... But most people will probably use the free ones included with it... And those don't need an adapter or charging...

    You don't "need" more than Apple gives you... If you WANT more, however, you can have it... No need for hate, just use some common sense... The highest quality music can't be played from an iPhone anyways - no matter the port, adapter, etc... You want high quality music, get yourself a stereo...
  25. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,450   +1,919

    you clearly didn't understand anything.
    so tell me, will you carry extra cables and dongles with you all the time? don't make me laugh, after 1 or 2 times you'll just throw them somewhere and never use them again because of how inconvenient it is to carry such things with you. the dongle is not a small cable when you have to put it in your pocket.
    and you clearly don't listen to music. "virtually indistinguishable"? I'm sorry but I sincerely suggest you go test your years at a hospital, you might have a problem with your ears. detecting such problems early on can help you a lot.

    and can you for the love of god stop saying that I should use the ones included in the box. those are a pair of crappy 2$ headphones. I'm sorry by saying this but... just by mentioning them you look stupid. you lack common sense dude.

    who the hell cares about people who don't listen to music, this is not what we're talking about here right? the removal of the 3.5mm doesn't affect them. just because you don't use it doesn't mean **** to us.

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