One of the most frustrating things about my iPhone 7 Plus is the absence of a headphone jack. Sure, Apple was kind enough to provide me with an adapter that allows me to plug in 3.5mm headphone plugs into the Lightning port, but what if I want to charge and listen at the same time? According to MacRumors, one former software engineer had the same frustration and took matters into his own hands. It’s not an easy thing to do, but the iPhone 7 headphone jack can be attained.
The Vision of the iPhone 7 Headphone Jack
Scotty Allen posted his accomplishment to YouTube, a thirty-minute video that explains how the former software engineer decided to add an iPhone 7 headphone jack through extensive modification of his handset. The final product, which you can see at the 30 minute mark of the video, is fully functional in every way.
That’s what Allen wanted, a headphone jack that would actually work when you plugged in such an accessory. Many iPhone users continue to complain about losing the headphone jack on newer iPhone devices. However, as you’ll soon learn, this is a huge modification that isn’t really a practical solution for everyday users.
How Allen Brought Back the iPhone 7 Headphone Jack
On the Strange Parts website, Allen explains that the process of modifying an iPhone 7 to incorporate a 3.5mm headphone jack was a lengthy, expensive one. he spent four months working on the project, much of it in Shenzhen, China. He had to assemble the tools for the job and try seven different custom circuit board designs. He also had to disassemble and modify three iPhone 7 devices before he arrived with a working unit.
In the end, Allen took apart an Apple Lightning-to-headphone adapter and put it inside the iPhone 7. He connected it using a flexible circuit board with a switching chip to toggle between connecting the headphone adapter to the phone by default or allowing it to connect to the Lightning port when something is plugged into the 3.5mm jack.
The hardest part of this mod, Allen said, was the electrical design and fitting the new parts inside the iPhone. While Apple said removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack was necessary to make room for the new camera system, Allen was surprised to find “a lot of extra room” for the new component near the lower left corner of the iPhone 7.
Why This Wouldn't Solve Most People's Complaint
Allen’s accomplishment is remarkable, don’t get me wrong. However, it wouldn’t solve the problem of the missing iPhone 7 headphone jack for most users. For one thing, it would likely be fairly expensive to pull off the modification.
The other downfall is that it still isn’t possible to simultaneously charge your device and listen to music. Because of the way the headphone jack has to be wired into and take over the Lightning circuitry, charging isn’t possible. Allen says that would require “a pretty serious engineering effort.”
If what Allen’s already accomplished isn’t a “pretty serious engineering effort,” I’m not sure what is. The man’s done a remarkable job, even if his solution wouldn’t solve my problem.