Can You Use Wired Headphones with iPhone 12?

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Nurul

Gone are the days of the ubiquitous headphone jack gracing every smartphone. However, fear not, wired headphone enthusiasts! This guide delves into everything you need to know about using wired headphones with your iPhone 12, from understanding the missing jack to exploring workarounds and maximizing your listening experience.

Why Does the iPhone 12 Lack a Headphone Jack?

Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack sparked debate among users. Here are the purported reasons:

  • Thinner Design: Eliminating the jack allowed for a slimmer phone profile, a trend in modern smartphone design.
  • Wireless Revolution: The rise of wireless headphones and AirPods integration with Apple devices likely influenced the decision.
  • Improved Audio Quality: Apple claims the Lightning port offers higher-fidelity audio compared to the analog 3.5mm jack. (This point is debated by some audiophiles.)

Wired vs. Wireless Headphones: A Quick Comparison

Before diving into solutions, let’s consider the pros and cons of wired and wireless headphones:

Wired Headphones

  • Pros:
    • Lower Cost: Generally more affordable than wireless options.
    • No Battery Concerns: No need to worry about charging, perfect for long listening sessions.
    • Audio Quality: Many wired headphones offer superior audio fidelity, especially for audiophiles seeking an uncompressed listening experience.
  • Cons:
    • Tangled Mess: Dealing with tangled wires can be frustrating.
    • Limited Mobility: Tethered to your phone, restricting movement.

Wireless Headphones

  • Pros:
    • Convenience: No wires to manage, offering greater freedom of movement.
    • Bluetooth Connectivity: Connects to other devices easily.
    • Many Advanced Features: Some models offer noise cancellation, ambient sound modes, and touch controls.
  • Cons:
    • Battery Life: Requires charging, and battery life can vary depending on usage.
    • Higher Cost: Generally more expensive than wired headphones.
    • Potential Audio Quality Loss: Bluetooth compression might affect sound quality compared to wired connections (although advancements are minimizing this gap).

Solutions for Using Wired Headphones with iPhone 12

Now, onto the solutions! Here are the ways you can connect your trusty wired headphones to your iPhone 12:

Using a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter

  • The Official Solution: Apple offers a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter, allowing you to connect any wired headphones with a 3.5mm jack.
  • Considerations:
    • Adds an extra dongle to carry around.
    • Might affect audio quality depending on the adapter’s quality.
    • Apple-certified adapters ensure compatibility and functionality (look for the “Made for iPhone” badge).

Using High-Fidelity Lightning Headphones

  • Premium Audio Experience: Some headphone manufacturers offer high-end wired headphones with a Lightning connector, specifically designed for iPhones.
  • Benefits:
    • Optimized for iPhones, potentially offering superior sound quality and control options.
    • No extra adapter needed.
  • Drawbacks:
    • Limited selection compared to traditional 3.5mm headphones.
    • Higher price point.

Optimizing Your Wired Listening Experience on iPhone 12

Even with wired headphones, you can still control and enhance your listening experience on your iPhone 12:

  • Audio Settings: Explore the EQ settings in your iPhone’s Settings app to adjust the sound profile to your preference.
  • Lossless Audio Options: Streaming services like Apple Music offer lossless audio options for the discerning listener. (Note: This might require a separate subscription tier.)
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP): Some high-end wired headphones have built-in DSP, allowing for further audio customization.


While the lack of a headphone jack might seem like an obstacle, there are effective solutions for using your favorite wired headphones with your iPhone 12. Whether you choose a simple adapter or invest in high-fidelity Lightning headphones, you can still enjoy a fantastic audio experience.

By understanding the options and optimizing your settings, you can get the most out of your wired headphones with your iPhone 12.

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