Apple Remove Headphone Jack

Why did Apple Remove Headphone Jack | How it Impacted

In 2016 Apple introduced iPhone 7 which generated controversy thanks to their decision to remove the headphone jack. It came as a shock to many who felt the feature was essential.

As Apple did this courageous move, it had to face a lot of criticism from the Tech industry, competitors, and consumers as well.

Why Apple Removed Headphone Jack 

The reason actually had more to do with iPhone X than iPhone 7. Android competitors had been releasing devices with larger screens that often reached the top left and right edges. But, they were having trouble shrinking the chin, since that’s where display panels typically house their controllers.


If Apple were going to compete with its own edge-to-edge display, it’d have to figure out a way to shrink the lower bezel. Eventually, their engineers figured out a solution. By utilizing an OLED’s panel flexible properties, they could fold its controller behind the display freeing up space at the bottom for a thin bezel.

But, the only downside was the headphone jack needed to be removed to make room for the display’s controller. This technology would eventually be used in iPhone X, but the release of the product was still a couple of years away.

android phone

Apple’s Benefit of Headphone Jack’s Removal

In the meantime, Apple would release iPhone 7. Since they knew that the headphone jack would have to be removed the following year, they considered removing it early on iPhone 7. 

The benefit for the users would be improved water resistance. Since the headphone jack was the easiest way for liquid to enter. But, there was also a hidden benefit for Apple. They would be introducing wireless headphones called AirPods alongside iPhone 7.

iphone 7 and AirPods

Demand for wireless headphones would increase if the iPhone had no headphone jack. And in 2016, there were virtually no wireless earbuds on the market which created a huge opportunity for Apple. 

iPhone X would already be a controversial release. Since it would remove the home button, and the notch and raise its price as well from $650  to $1000. So, shifting the headphone jack removal to the iPhone 7 would take some heat off X.

iPhone X

After all the considerations discussed above, Apple decided to remove the headphone jack on iPhone 7.

The primary reason for removing the headphone jack is to establish a mechanical design path for the future. We want the display to go closer and closer to the edge.


Why Apple Removed Headphone Jack from MacBooks

In 2016, Apple sent out a survey to customers asking how often they use the headphone jack on their Macbooks. So, obviously, they were thinking to remove the headphone jack from the Macbools just like they had removed it from iPhone 7.


On Macbook (entire laptop), you can’t tell me the same reason that they need to free up some space for the tiny headphone jack. A lot of people talk about and analyze that this is a money grab. A 3.55mm headphone jack is an open standard. It’s very old and doesn’t require any license to make a device that uses one. But, that’s not the case with any proprietary standards with the lightning connector or what iPhone uses.

So, if anyone wants to make a device that uses a lightning connector, they must have to pay a hefty license fee of $4 to $8 for every unit that uses that. So, if anyone wants to make a pair of headphones, he will have to increase the price from that license amount to cover it and there is no umbrella fee that they will have to pay upfront. 

One of the main reasons, Apple may be doing this is for Digital Rights Management because it’s a proprietary connector that is digital and not analog and they have much more control over the devices, they get plugged into it. 

For example, they could go as far as only allowing certain devices to be used with it, and if you don’t have a legitimate device that paid the license fee that device might not work also. They could potentially even control what types of media get played over that connection.

You didn’t have any control over the device with the 3.5mm headphone jack. It was analog which can be plugged wherever you wanted and it would work. But, the lightning connector is a digital one with which you have control over any device you connect with.

Let’s suppose, a music label has a deal with Apple that they don’t want their music being played on certain types of devices such as soundbars. They only want headphones to be used with their music.

Finally, Apple has completely wiped out old-fashioned ports and they want full control over the device and shifted over a single port.

Third-Party Manufacturers

Apple’s competitor had been mocking their weird move, the removal of the headphone jack from their devices. 

Samsung has been Apple’s biggest rival and mocker and they have also highlighted the headphone jack in their ads back in 2016. But, ultimately they have to line up with Apple’s courageous move to remove the headphone jack from their Galaxy S20. Now, they are also following suit.

Google also had shown some mocking towards their strange step and tried to get some edge with their bold highlighting in the ads that ‘Google smartphones still come with 3.55mm headphone jack’ but the very next year, they realized and removed this connector from their line of products.

Is Audio from an iPhone 7 Lightning port better than the old 3.5mm headphone jack?

Now, as headphone hack has been officially removed from the iPhone. Our first question was if there is any improvement in using lightning over the already grey amps of the previous iPhone before I even started the test I came into a situation where many readers commented about listening to music while charging their phones.

Luckily, the iPhone was low in power wasn’t the iPhone 7. I started off comparing that included lightning earbuds to the previous model each with their ship device.

At first, it was hard to tell the difference as it concentrated on different instruments. It became apparent that the lightning AirPods have highs and slightly clear mids. To make this wasn’t a placebo due to iPhone 7 launch excitement, we swapped the lightning and classic AirPods into the other iPhones with iPhone 7, using the included adapter, and this time they sounded exactly the same backing up our original claim.

The next step was to use higher-end headphones, my Audio Technica M50x and after multiple steps with different configurations, I could tell that the highs and mids were clear like the test with the earbuds.

But, this time the volume was actually a bit louder due to the M50x headphones benefitting from a bit of extra power taking it further a test of open-backed Sennheiser Studio Monitors. Also, confirm the improved Audio Fidelity when using the lightning port instead of the 3.55mm headphone jack.

The difference isn’t big but it’s there and it’s good to know that at least we have some benefit from switching over to lightning-powered port headphones.

Learn More: How to Use Apple Earbuds as Mic on PC

What Was the Last iPhone to Have a Headphone Jack?

The last remaining ‌iPhone‌ with a headphone jack, the first-generation iPhone SE, was discontinued in 2018, and the last iOS device with a headphone jack, the seventh-generation iPod, was discontinued earlier this year.

My opinion over removal of Headphones Jack

Part of the issue is BT. I remember crappy, unreliable, prone to dropping BT connections that if they didn’t just refuse to connect in the first place, from back in the day. Now it’s very reliable and quickly reconnects if the speaker, keyboard, headphone, mouse, or whatever loses power

I was one that questioned removing the jack back then. But now, with modern accessories, it’s really not a problem. Plus not having to deal with tangled cords getting caught in everything is a real boon.

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