repair iphone 6 headphone jack? (otherwise need *non* in-ear BT earbuds)
September 5, 2016 5:33 PM   Subscribe

My iphone 6 headphone jack has got intermittent audio weirdness regardless of different known good headphones plugged into it. I can try to get it fixed, or I can get me some Bluetooth earbuds, which I otherwise don't need. But there are hardly any Bluetooth earbuds that are * NOT * in-ear - which I would need.

My iphone 6 headphone jack has got a short, or something similar. I can hear audio fine from any headphones as long as the phone is not moved much. If the headphone plug is rotated inside the jack, weird stuff (often) happens. Music playing will stop or skip to the next track; Siri will randomly activate.

The phone is out of warranty, but I took it over to the Apple store anyhow. They blew any potential dust out of there (though I was skeptical of this since I baby the hell out of my phone). Using multiple sets of differently branded known good headphones, including original Apple earpods, same result.

Apple says that they can't/won't repair it. They will however take my $300 and give me a brand new phone if I want.

Looking around the interwebs, etc, it appears that you can fix the jack, but looks like a fairly intricate operation. Apple says that doing that risks messing up the charging port since they are connected to each other.

While I would prefer that I could somehow get the jack repaired with minimal fuss, I figured I would look around at Bluetooth earbuds. Unfortunately I cannot wear in-ear earphones; nothing (and I mean nada) seems to fit me comfortably, even the ones that let you mold the thing to your ear canal. So I have been totally happy using the wired Apple ones that come with your iphone, and also own some similar, cheap Motorola ones. But I can only find one or two pairs on Amazon that are Bluetooth like this, and while I don't care much if the sound is all that super for my needs - I'm not liking the weird volume control they have hanging off of one ear. I looked for Bluetooth exercise headphones that generally don't have the controls on the headphones, but they all appear to be in-ear.

So: a) is Apple just being overly cautious about repairing the headphone jack? and b) are there any Bluetooth exercise earbuds that are *not* in-ear?

p.s. I also checked out Wirecutter. No dice!

Thanks as usual, MeFiters. : )
posted by bitterkitten to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I also have an incredibly hard time getting any kind of in-ear phones to work for me. I just purchased and love the Anker Soundbuds Sport. They look like the in-ear kind you hate but if you take the rubber tips off it's really a pair of earbuds. The tips funnel the sound to your ear but don't depend on an airtight seal like 'true' in-ear monitors.

Alternatively, what about a bluetooth receiver that you plug your corded headphones into? This one comes highly recommended.
posted by mattholomew at 6:01 PM on September 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not a direct answer, but a note on terminology; "Earbuds" means specifically in-ear earphones, the things you don't want. They're called buds because they're tiny bud-like objects you jam into your ears. You might have better luck searching for "headphones" which is the term more generally (though not universally) used for over the ear types, or "bluetooth over the ear headphones" to get at exactly what you want. The Wirecutter review you want is here.
posted by rodlymight at 6:04 PM on September 5, 2016

Sorry, wrong link above—here is the correct page.
posted by she's not there at 6:50 PM on September 5, 2016

I would wait a couple of days before deciding: the iPhone that Apple is going to announce on Wednesday will probably not have a headphone jack, which means they're probably going to start selling an adapter so that you can plug standard headphones into the lightning port. Maybe that will solve your problem?
posted by griseus at 7:30 PM on September 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

I was coming in to suggest the very same solution: If Apple gets rid of the headphone jack and sells a Lightning headphone adapter, that should likely solve your problem (assuming your phone has a working Lightning port).
posted by a lungful of dragon at 8:32 PM on September 5, 2016

The iPhone thing is not a defect or breakage; it's a known bug with headphones. How do I know? I replaced my iPhone with a brand new in box one and it still does it with the right - or wrong, as it were - headphones. Purchase headphones with no mic and the problem should be solved. iPhone earbuds also don't seem to have the issue.

I bought a pair of $14 Panasonic ones with no mic or volume control, whatever was highest rated on Amazon, and they work fine. I've also used Kinevo Bluetooth headphones but they are overear in the style of Sony's Street Smart headphones - a pain in the ass if you have multiple piercings in the ear (I do) and I hate remembering to charge them, though the battery life is good.
posted by Nyx at 10:28 PM on September 5, 2016

Have you tried sticking a paperclip or something into the jack to dig out any accumulated lint? In my experience, that's a major cause of iPhone audio jack weirdness.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:35 AM on September 6, 2016


1. Thanks so much for the suggestions!
2. There is nothing inside the jack that is detectable, but I'll look again and get out the compressed air.
3. The problem persists using, as I mentioned, the default Apple earphones (Apple calls them 'earpods' I believe. I wish that term had caught on to distinguish them from in-ear earbuds.)
4. I still don't want over-the-ear headphones for this purpose.
5. Even if Apple makes a lightning-to-analog adapter, since I'm using a Mophie battery case which mods the lightning port to micro usb (which is super handy!), any new adapter is out unless I bought a new battery case.

6. As crazy as it seems to have to carry another gadget around, looks like the bluetooth-to-analog headphone adapter is going to be it.

gracias, again.
posted by bitterkitten at 9:23 AM on September 6, 2016

YMMV but compressed air is very unlikely to help with a TRRS port issue (since it's not flecks of stray dust typically but compacted lint at the bottom of the port preventing the jack from seating perfectly) and is more likely to do harm than good to the device. ESD tweezers are a good investment for these types of situations.

Bluetooth receiver to headphone jack recommendation is clever, let us know how it works out!
posted by churl at 10:49 PM on September 6, 2016

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