How to keep earbud headphones untangled
June 18, 2009 11:22 PM   Subscribe

Tips for preventing earbud-style headphones from tangling?

Seems like everytime time I go to grab the thing there is this minute long ritual of untangling them. Must be a better way. The shuffle itself seems to small for wrapping them around it to work.
posted by H. Roark to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Belkin TuneTie?
posted by stew560 at 11:30 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]
posted by moojoose at 12:05 AM on June 19, 2009

(There's a video out there for wrapping them while on a player, but I can't seem to find it easily. I'll keep looking.)
posted by moojoose at 12:05 AM on June 19, 2009

This is more-or-less the other technique I was thinking of, but probably wouldn't work on a shuffle:
posted by moojoose at 12:11 AM on June 19, 2009

I use the "devil horns" method.

I've been doing it since I saw it on lifehacker about three years ago, and it works really well. Plus, it's quick and easy, so you can do it pretty much every time you take off your headphones.
posted by spockette at 3:13 AM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

If the devil horns don't float your boat (and dagnabbit they should!), you can always use a simple loop around three fingers if the cord is a bit too thick, somewhat like you would an extension cord around the elbow and hand but on a tiny scale.
posted by smoke at 4:58 AM on June 19, 2009

once you've wrapped them up (with a method like above) you can use a pop-apart capsule from a kids novelty dispenser or a kinder egg to store them in (depending on how big they are - kinder egg capsule is pretty small).

see second example on this image search
posted by mairuzu at 5:24 AM on June 19, 2009

posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 5:38 AM on June 19, 2009

I use the "Devil horns" as well, works great.
posted by jrishel at 5:48 AM on June 19, 2009

Never, never, never, wrap your cords around the iPod, especially when it's still plugged into the jack.

Always wrap your cords loosely, like this.

Also, see this post
posted by WilliamWallace at 6:04 AM on June 19, 2009

I keep three ipods in my bag--mine and my two kids'. I have therefore three sets of earbuds, which live together in their own pocket of my bag. Oh, the tangling! I have recently completely overcome the tangling problem by taking a few seconds when I put earbuds away to do the devil horns method linked by spockette above. I had been looking for some kind of nifty little gadget for wrapping them, but this works so well I no longer think I need a gadget.
posted by not that girl at 6:48 AM on June 19, 2009

Daringfireball linked to a video that was close to the Devil Horns method, but I don't think involved the figure eight aspect. Can't find it now, though.
posted by 6550 at 8:01 AM on June 19, 2009

Eh, I always wrap my cords around my iPod. Not while it's plugged into the jack. I use moojoose's linked method (this one, which I think is called lashing) and I use it on my Shuffle. The tiny square Shuffle, whichever gen that is. I use it nearly every day for working out and re-lash it after every workout. My cords are fine, although I should say they are some cheap Sony over-the-ear ones, not the Apple ones.
posted by peep at 8:17 AM on June 19, 2009

I generally just fold them in half a few times, then clip them in the middle with a small binder clip. Works for me.
posted by bluloo at 8:46 AM on June 19, 2009

Use an unattached coil, similar to WilliamWallace's linked example, but with a twist on each alternating turn. My headphones (and ropes) never tangle with this method.
posted by ijoshua at 8:53 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Buy some better earbuds. I got some skullcandy ones that were on sale like $20-$30 dollars or so. The cable is just a tiny bit thicker/springier than the default ipod ones and it makes a huge difference. They never knot up on me, at worst I just have to hold up one end and shake it a bit it and it straightens out.
posted by Iax at 11:21 AM on June 19, 2009

the budcozy is by far the best solution i've found for this. affordable, stylish, easy to use.
posted by judith at 1:45 PM on June 19, 2009

After struggling with the same problem I finally found the perfect solution. I use a rosary pouch. If you're Catholic, you probably have one of these laying around from your First Communion when you were 8 years old. (Or more likely your parents have one in that box of keepsakes that they think you'll want someday.) Just coil the cord loosely around three fingers, put the earbuds in the pouch, zip it up, and go! Honestly, this is the best thing ever for earbuds. They never get tangled, and you don't get the same damage that you get from tight coils.
posted by perrce at 7:39 PM on June 20, 2009

I was going to post on this topic to the blue, but forgot to search for pre-existing threads first. The earbud cozy looks like a great solution. So here is the post, for what it is worth:

Untangling ear buds can be really annoying. Recent research attempts to explain spontaneous knotting. By my own sloppy calculations, frequent music listeners will spend seventeen working days untangling earbuds over the course of their lives. You can wrap them around an old credit card, or use a paperclip. Some recommend throwing them in an Altoid's tin. Those wishing to forego the crass materiality of these suggestions may opt for the elegance of the unassisted finger wrap. Or, you could leave the chaos of earbuds behind and purchase a cheap, portable alternatives.
posted by mecran01 at 6:51 PM on December 20, 2009

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