Tested: 10 adapters to make up for the iPhone’s missing headphone jack

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

Apple caused quite the commotion when it dropped the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, and kept it off the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. (The iPhone SE still has a headphone jack…for now, anyway.) This means that all your old headphones with a 3.5mm plug need an adapter. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have been out since September 2016, and some of us still struggle with headphone jack woes.

But which adapter is right for you? We’ve tried a bunch, and found Apple’s solutions and Belkin’s adapters the most solidly built and reliable. You can try saving a few bucks with a cheap third-party adapter from Amazon, but our results there were hit and miss. Read on to find out why.

Apple’s Lightning to 3.5mm adapter

Apple saved itself from much of the outrage for getting rid of the headphone jack by including a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter free with every new iPhone since the iPhone 7. This adapter is so lightweight, you’ll hardly notice it hanging out at the end of your headphone cord. It’s also thin enough that it doesn’t get stuck in your pocket.

lightning 35mm adapter apple iphone7Apple

Best of all, you can replace this adapter for only $9, which is very affordable by Apple standards. By comparison, when Apple switched from the old 30-pin connector to Lightning, the adapter cost $29, and it had to be purchased separately.

Still, 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 and listen to music at the same time.

Apple’s iPhone Lightning Dock

When the iPhone 7 launched, Apple’s senior VP of marketing, Phil Schiller, personally shared his solution to the listen-or-charge dilemma: Use your AirPods, or get an iPhone Lightning Dock ($49).

iphone lightning dock croppedApple

This Apple accessory lets you charge your iPhone by mounting it on the dock, and then you can use the spare 3.5mm plug on the back of the dock to listen to your headphones.