The disadvantages of the loss of the headphone jack
For many audiophiles, the phasing out of the headphone jack from smartphones was not a good idea. It began as a brilliant idea for Apple to sell its wireless headphones and spread to other manufacturers, who claimed they were eliminating it for “reasons of space to gain battery.” Some manufacturers even asked their customers if they kept the headphone port or not, something that turned out to be a failure, since they eliminated it anyway (only adding also the anger of many people).
The removal of the headphone port has brought more problems than solutions. After all, when we had the headphone jack We could already connect any bluetooth headset to our mobile if we wanted. By withdrawing it, we are simply forced to go to the checkout to buy a new product. Similarly, we have lost the ability to quickly connect an audio device to the mobile (Bluetooth pairing is not exactly the fastest technology in the west), while we have lost compatibility and sound quality.
Wireless headphones are required to use their own DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter), which is the chip that is responsible for converting the digital signal into a mechanical wave, that is, into sound. This component was previously present in all our smartphones and it delivered an analog signal directly through the jack port. When removing the jack, it is the sound card of your bluetooth helmets that is in charge of doing the process. And evidently this affects quality of the final sound, as the DAC built into a wireless headset is bound to be very small. Manufacturers are now forced to create tiny sound cards in devices that should not stick out of the ear. The result is a most expensive product, with worst value for money than its equivalent in cable.
How to use wired headphones on smartphones without a jack port
Although there are limitations, it’s possible still connect to your mobile a wired headset. You may at the time invested a good sum of money in a good audio equipment or that you have simply found some headphones at home and you are interested to know if you can connect them to your mobile without an audio port. Well, you can do it from many ways as we will show you below.
Android: Using a USB-C to Jack cable
During the first years since the transition from cable to fully wireless, many mobile terminal manufacturers had the detail of include in the box of the smartphone a small USB-C to jack adapter 3.5 millimeters. These adapters consist of a USB-C connector that connects to the phone and a small cable with the female jack port. Oddly enough, it is in the part of the USB connector where the famous DAC with its amplifier is located.
If your new mobile does not include this adapter, do not worry. You can buy one on Amazon for very little money. Of course, you must bear in mind that the final quality of the sound will be influenced by the quality of the adapter. Of course, we will lose the possibility of charging our terminal while listening to music through headphones, unless we use an adapter that allows the charging and audio output. They are a bit more expensive, but they are extremely useful if we are away from home and have only a while to charge the mobile or if we are traveling and we are charging our device with a powerbank.
As a curious fact, the USB-C standard is ready to deliver audio both digitally and analog. That is, we could use a USB-C to jack converter without having to put a DAC in the middle. Despite this, this function is not used because there is no consensus among manufacturers to use this USB standard. And it’s also the reason why Some dongles do not work on certain devices mobiles.
Apple: Via Lightning to jack cable
The play on the iPhone is exactly the same. When the iPhone 7 came out, the box included a small Lightning port to jack adapter, also with its small integrated DAC. This is now an accessory that has to be purchased separately.
There is both the official Apple adapter and third-party products that serve the same function.
And in the new iPad?
Both the iPhone and the iPad will end up in Europe using the USB-C standard and leaving the Lightning behind. Already today, several iPad models use the USB-C connector: the iPad Pro, the Air and the Mini. None of the three models have today headphone port, although we would not be surprised if it would return in future generations.
For these products, Apple sells its own dongle USB-C to jack. And if you are wondering if the same USB-C to jack adapter as in an Android mobile can be connected to the iPad, you should know that many generic adapters are also compatible with the Apple tablet, so it is not mandatory at the moment to buy the of the Apple.
Pro Tip: Turn Your Headphones Wireless
There is an alternative that not many know about and that allow us to continue using the wired headphones of a lifetime, but separated from the phone. The adapter connects to the mobile via Bluetooth and we can connect the jack of our headphones to it. They are not especially expensive, and have other functions, although it usually varies depending on the manufacturer and the product that we find.
With many of these products it is also possible to get two sets of independent headphones from the same phone, being able to listen to music at the same time without having to share a headset with our friends or partner. They can also be used as a Bluetooth receiver, for example, to connect it to the car and have a “hands-free” or even to play music on our trips if our car only has CDs or Cassettes.
This post includes affiliate links and The Output could receive a commission for them. Even so, the decision to include them has been made freely, by editorial criteria and without responding to any type of request by the aforementioned brands.