As smartphones progress over time, people are finding that the original 3.5mm headphone jack that could be used on any device is no longer useable for most of the recently released technology. New smartphones are being designed and released without individual headphone ports at all, which is a large adjustment for many people.
How do I connect headphones to a smartphone with no jack? To connect headphones to a smartphone without a jack, use the combined headphone jack and charging port or Bluetooth headphones. Most smartphones have a combined headphone jack and a charging port. Use an adapter if the headphones don't fit in the smartphone's charging port.
Every smartphone user has their own personal preferences for using their technology and which headphones they enjoy using. Finding the best fit for you and your needs is the best thing to do so you can continue comfortably using your phone.
USB-C Headphones & Adapters
The newest USB size in smartphones is the USB-C. It has many benefits, such as the ability to be plugged in facing either up or down. It is also more effective when transferring a charge or data to and from the device. Unfortunately, when you get your first smartphone with a USB-C port, it can be frustrating because you have to buy a new charger, new cords, and you have to find a new solution for the headphone situation.
Many brands are removing dedicated 3.5mm headphone jacks from new smartphone models. Along with these new phones, brands are coming out with new earbuds that will connect to their phones' charging ports and operate the same way the old school earbuds do.
Related article: Differences Between 2.5mm, 3.5mm & 6.35mm Headphone Jacks
Apple is one of the top smartphone brands constantly looking for new ways to improve and update its technology. One of these changes was to get rid of the earbud jack, so they developed their own lightning connection earbuds for the customers who prefer using the original headphones for their media. They were one of the first companies to remove the headphone jack from their smartphones.
Other brands, such as Google and Samsung, have made their own USB-C buds. Keep in mind; you don't have to purchase earbuds specifically from your phone's brand.
USB-C earbuds are being made by most brands these days, making them easily accessible from just about anywhere, so you don't have to splurge on the name-brand ones. They're not all created equal, so make sure that what you're buying is made to work for your phone and produce quality sound.
There are plenty of earbuds with USB-C connectors to choose from. Click here to check prices on Amazon.
As time goes on, corded headphones are generally becoming less popular. They can be difficult to store without tangling, they break easily, and oftentimes one earpiece will stop working. Even though these setbacks are apparent, they are nice to own because you never have to charge them or worry about their battery life as you do with Bluetooth earbuds.
For those who just got their first jack-less smartphone and either don't want to have to buy a whole other set of earbuds, you can purchase a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter (link to check prices on Amazon) that will work with your original 3.5mm earbuds. An adapter is a small, inexpensive piece that will connect to your phone on one end and your earbuds on the other.
This will allow you to still use the earbuds you prefer and probably still work on several other devices you own. Just because you bought a new phone doesn't mean you should have to change the way you listen to music on all your devices, right?
Bluetooth Earbuds & Headphones
As we adapt to new technology, one of the popular devices used more often now is wireless Bluetooth earbuds and headphones. Bluetooth earbuds are compact, protected in a chargeable case, many of them have better sound quality than the original earbuds, and they look nice when in use.
Related article: What Are The Differences Between Headphones And Earphones?
You also don't have to be tied through a cable that gets in your way as you're exercising or moving around while trying to listen to your media. With Bluetooth earbuds, you don't even have to have your phone on your person or in the same room while using them (depending on the Bluetooth range)!
The only frustrating thing about Bluetooth earbuds is they have a battery life that runs out. Most Bluetooth earbuds have a listening life of about 6-8 hours, so you'll have to charge them regularly. There is nothing worse than starting a workout or grabbing your earbuds on the way out of the house and realizing they're dead.
Like regular earbuds, many smartphone brands have created their own Bluetooth headphones. iPhone has its AirPods line with different versions to suit anyone's preferences. For Android, the Google Pixel Buds, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds are popular brand-name models. You do not have to purchase any Bluetooth devices straight from these companies. Several other brands and BT earbuds (link to check prices on Amazon) are available in a wide price range that will work with your smartphone.
Bluetooth headphones are very similar, though built like headphones instead of earbuds. They connect wirelessly via Bluetooth and do away with the need for a cable and a proper port in the smartphone.
To connect your Bluetooth headphones/earbuds, ensure the smartphone and earbuds/headphones are on and ready to pair. Open the Bluetooth settings on the smartphone and select the earbuds or headphones you'd like to use. Once paired, the smartphone will send its audio to the earbuds or headphones wirelessly (within range and while the devices are still powered on).
Many Bluetooth earbuds and headphones will pair automatically after they're power cycled so long as no other audio playback devices were connected between uses.
For more in-depth information on Bluetooth earbuds and headphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
• How Bluetooth Headphones Work & How To Pair Them To Devices
• How Do Wireless Headphones Work? + Bluetooth & True Wireless
Why Ditch The Old Design?
Why would designers even bother changing the design if everyone was so comfortable and happy with the old smartphones with a designated earphone jack? Wouldn't this change detract customers from their products?
The truth is, yes, many customers may have been unhappy and frustrated at first. They may even resist purchasing new smartphone models for a while because they don't want to change the way they listen to their media.
However, there is a purpose in getting rid of the earphone jack. Now, most new smartphones are being designed and created without the jack, so almost everyone has already had to adjust to this change anyway. Now that we understand how to connect headphones to a smartphone without a headphone jack, let's consider the reasons we like won't be seeing many headphone jacks in the future:
- Space concerns
- Multi-purpose nature of smartphones
- Waterproofing specifications
- Wireless capabilities
One of the purposes of getting rid of the earphone jack is to save space within the phone's interior. Every little piece inside of a smartphone serves a big purpose. As new technology, features, and designs are surfacing, the new phones will need more room to fit all these pieces inside.
Although it looks small, a headphone jack takes up more space than is necessary (with the jack itself, the analog-digital and digital-analog converter, and the amplifier), especially when you can combine it into the charging port. Getting rid of that port opens up more crucial space for new designs and innovative features to come.
Another positive purpose for the new jack-less design is that it saves on manufacturing costs as installing the headphone jack can be pricey, especially when it's not totally necessary. Companies will now be able to do away with worrying about developing that individual piece, and again, can combine it with the charging port. This, in turn, saves them money, and they can pass those savings on to their customers.
If a salesman approached you saying they had a device they wanted to sell you that was worth a thousand dollars, you'd be extremely disappointed if they told you the cube could only do a couple of things such as make calls, send texts, and shine a flashlight.
A long time ago, the first cell phones couldn't even do all that! Look how far we've come with what our devices can do for us! When customers are sometimes paying up to a thousand dollars on an item, they expect it to do loads more than just a few things. Today, our smartphones contain our schedules, contacts, conversations, entertainment, alarm clocks, calendars, social connections, pictures, GPS maps, emails, documents, and so much more.
Now, even though the previously mentioned analogy is a bit of a stretch when used in this comparison, the point still stands. With today's advances and considering how much customers are being charged for their devices, every part of your smartphone should be able to serve more than just one purpose. The headphone jack could only do one thing with the older phones: transfer audio. With how much space that piece takes up and how much money is needed to make it, it's just not worth it anymore.
Although it can be frustrating at first, engineers and designers are actually giving their customers a better deal by eliminating the single-function headphone jack. The headphone jack had its time to shine. But now, we're making room for more multi-purpose designs that are better in the long run for everyone.
When designing any device, a crucial item to consider is how to keep it waterproof or at least water-resistant. With smartphones, the design is usually sleek and smooth all around. However, there are always a few holes for things like the charging port, speakers, micro SD card, and with older designs, the headphone jack. Each of those little holes is an entryway for water, dust, dirt, sweat, or anything else to get in and possibly cause damage to your phone. Some of those damages are irreversible or can be difficult and expensive to repair.
One of the benefits of eliminating the headphone jack is it becomes one less hole for possible damage to the device. Not only was the headphone jack another hole that could let in water and those other harmful substances, but next to the charging port, it was the second-biggest hole on the device. With the newer and more water-resistant designs, buyers now have less chance of ruining their smartphones.
Headphones and earbuds are now available with impressive waterproofing specifications. Some headphones are even designed for use underwater!
When Bluetooth earbuds were first starting to come out, many people were skeptical. They believed that two different pieces couldn't actually connect to one device and play the same music simultaneously. However, with the miracles of technology we've all seen and probably personally experienced, Bluetooth earbuds and headphones work wonderfully!
Since the introduction of the technology, we have seen major advances in connection quality, range, and audio quality. In addition, advancements in device batteries ensure that Bluetooth headphones can last hours longer than before. Because of this, Bluetooth, once an innovative feature, has become standard across the smartphone industry.
One of the most common issues with wired headphones was that wrapping and unwrapping them caused the cords to be corrupted and broken over time. One side of the headphones would stop working long before the other, but it's no fun to listen to audio with only one side working.
Related article: How To Store Earphones Tangle-Free/Damage-Free (7 Methods)
With Bluetooth earbuds, there's a much smaller chance of damaging either of the buds. Since they don't connect through a cord, they're safer and less likely not to work correctly.
Another annoyance you'd get from earphones was the wires constantly getting tangled or pulled on. Have you ever experienced that heart-stopping moment when you had your earphones plugged into your phone, then accidentally dropped your phone?
Many times in this situation, your phone might have been saved by the wire that was somehow still connected, preventing a hard fall on the ground. This was definitely a positive part of using those earphones, but it also heavily strained the connection and headphones.
When using Bluetooth earbuds, you don't have to worry about having your phone in your pocket and having a doorknob or drawer handle pull and get stuck. You don't have to have your phone in your pocket or your hand, and you don't even have to be in the same room as your phone.
Whether you're working out in the gym, cleaning your house, or moving around at all, the last thing you have to think about is, “Will my phone fall and unplug my audio?” Bluetooth earbuds are more comfortable, and they connect to many devices, not just your smartphone.
Many users have grown to realize that by switching to Bluetooth listening devices, their experience with their smartphones is actually better than before.
When using them, you have more physical freedom; you can control your music selection and volume easier. They have a longer lifespan that is more reliable than old-fashioned cord earphones. Maybe this is exactly what smartphone engineers and designers saw for the future and knew we all just needed a little push.
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Choosing the right headphones or earphones for your applications and budget can be a challenging task. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive Headphones/Earphones Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next headphones/earphones purchase.