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Beware the iPhone headphone dongle (adapter).

January 18, 2020

So, I wanted to continue using my $20 Sony headphones with my new iPhone 11 Pro. I put this phone on credit, and will spend at least the next several months paying it off. I like my cheap, wired headphones and don’t want to bother with any bluetooth headphones and spend more money.

I’m not the sort of person to buy top shelf anything. There are very few things I’ll pay a premium price for. I buy almost all my clothes at my favorite thrift store, and drive a car that is 17 years old.

But, one thing I will spend extra money on is name-brand underwear. I have sensitive skin, and the boxer shorts at Wal-Mart, Hanes and the like, just will not do.

I bought a cheaper phone, a Google 3a Xl, one of the best-selling phones on Amazon, but after following the online tutorials, could not make or receive a call, and could not find any info online to figure this out.. I became frustrated, so..

Since I’ve been buying Apple products since 1995 – an Apple Performa computer – and since the first smartphone I bought, in 2017.. was an iPhone 5s, a 2013 model, and also since I like taking pictures – almost always nature photography, and want a phone with a really good camera (the 3a and 3a Xl have a much better than average camera for a budget phone, btw) and since I am a colossal worry-wort, and want to make sure I have a phone that has 4 antennas or transmitters or whatever, so that my calls will go through, I bought, well, purchased with a zero-interest credit card, an iPhone Pro. The Pro-Max was just too big. The regular size iphone pro works well, thank you. Comfortable to hold.

But expensive.

There is no headphone jack on this phone. Bummer.

There is an adapter, also known as a dongle. I don’t know where the silly word “dongle” came from, nor do I know when it became common use, but anyway..

I tried the adapter.. the dongle.. it plugs into the lightning port on the iPhone on one end, and on the other receives a 3.5mm (1/8 inch) headphone on the other.

This was fine at first, until I went to the gym.

Then.. not so good.

As you might guess, I move around quite a bit there. Even just walking on the indoor track, the cord of the headphones moved too much.. which moved the dongle plugged into the phone, which made the sound go strange, like when headphones are not plugged in correctly.

Not Good.

I do not want to mess up my lightning port.  I haven’t worn my cheap headphones or used the dongle at the gym since.

So, I suggest to you to skip this headphone adapter, this “dongle,” if you are going to be moving around.

The dongle and headphones work fine at home, when I am cooking, for example, but when working out, no.

The Apple wired ear buds that came with the phone are not exactly comfortable, but the cord is short (though long enough – perfect length, really) and plugs directly into the phone, no dongle needed. I tried the ear buds at the gym this past evening – no problem with movement as far as the lightning port is concerned, just the feeling of the cord moving, and that affecting how the ear buds feel in my ears – just slightly annoying.

I suppose I shall live with this feeling. I do not, at this time especially, given my current level of debt, want to add to the debt by buying a cordless version of the earbuds. The cheaper model costs $149, and the noise-canceling fancier model costs $100 more than that.

No thank you.

So, if you are considering going the cheap route when it comes to headphones, like I am doing, if you are going to be out and about and active, please beware of the headphone dongle. You don’t want to damage your lightning port.

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