Removal of the Headphone Jack


Brendon Peterson

Recently, smartphone companies have decided to remove the headphone jack. Many consumers are confused as to why, while others dislike or like the removal. 84%In a recent school survey of 84 students, 71 students disliked the removal while 16%13 students liked the removal of the headphone jack. (Results from 81 students who responded to the survey)

Companies involved in removing the headphone jack from their smartphones include Google (Pixel), Apple (iPhone), Motorola (Android), HTC, and some others.

Why did smartphone companies remove the headphone jack?

Well, it all starts with one word, progress. iPhones, Pixels, and Android phone have to start making progress removing the headphone jack at some point because the wireless tech era is coming closer. Without starting the change then no progress can be made towards a wireless tech era.

The headphone jack is outdated and can be replaced with something better. Also, Apple killed the CD drive and ethernet port from computers to change technology, why not trust them to do it again? It’s just another connector that can be replaced by something like Bluetooth or USB-C.

The headphone jack removal frees up space for more important things on the phone.

  • Water-resistant phone
  • A dual camera setup
  • A newer/new taptic engine (pressing on the screen feels like an actual button)
  • A bigger lithium-ion battery
  • Another speaker

The headphone jack doesn’t really do much. It has 3 purposes: stereo audio out of the phone, mono audio into the phone, and volume and play/pause signals into the phone. The headphone jack can’t do anything else; you can’t add other accessories to it. 

“All of these are not only redundant but doubly redundant: the Lightning port and Bluetooth radio can both do all of these things.” -Forbes

Headphone cables aren’t good. The way headphone cables are made over time has changed. They break, and/or they get tangled very easily. Bluetooth avoids this problem by taking up less physical space.

The Digital to Analog Converter can be removed. Smartphones use something called a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC). The quality of the DAC goes a long way in determining sound quality. The DAC converts the signal, an amplifier takes over. By taking out the 3.5mm jack, companies are removing the need for these two components. The lightning port and lightning input are both digital, so the phone does not need a DAC anymore. The sound quality is improved because with the power source of lighting or USB-C, then active noise cancellation is able to be utilized.

It allows for bezels to be smaller, and the display to be bigger. Bezels are on the screen, and take up space of screen that could actually be used on the whole display. Recently with the new iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL, and other phones have made their bezels smaller to allow more use of the screen.

What are the negatives of the removal?

  • You can’t charge your phone through wire without listening to music.
  • Some people aren’t ready to transition.
  • Accessories are going to become useless.
  • Losing the little dongle adapter.

How can you deal with the removal of the headphone jack?

  • Use the dongle adapter that comes with your phone.
  • Use Bluetooth headphones
  • Use a headphone adapter that comes with a port for charging.