Inline Remote + Mic adapters for iPhone
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I have numerous sets of headphones that I use, including with my iPhone. Is there such a thing as a separate inline handsfree kit/ remote that can be attached between the iPhone and a set of headphones with a standard 3.5mm minijack plug?
This would massively enhance the functionality of all my headphones if I could skip tracks/change volume and as a bonus handle calls. Once upon a time long ago I think I had an Apple branded device that was an inline remote for an iPod but that was many many years ago and I am not aware of any updated product from Apple themselves.
A: Although Apple does not provide any such accessory, these actually do exist from third-party accessory makers. Unfortunately, they have become somewhat obscure in recent years, as most companies seem to have stopped making them. Many accessory makers originally built adapter cables to provide compatibility with the original 2007 iPhone due to its oddly recessed headphone port, and several includes in-line microphones and remotes. The Griffin SmartTalk Headphone Adapter and Shure Music Phone Adapter MPA-3C are two good examples of this.
The third-generation iPod shuffle released back in 2009 created a similar requirement, and several third-party manufacturers again stepped up to the plate, with products such as the Belkin Headphone Adapter and Simplism Remote Controller.
Note that the features differ slightly between these different adapters; the Belkin and Simplism options provide volume control but no inline mic, whereas the Griffin and Shure options do the opposite. All provide the standard single-button track control feature that allows you to pause or resume playback with a single tap or skip tracks with multiple taps.
Although most of these have been discontinued, they appear to still be available from several online retailers, so you may be able to find one by searching around. Apple hasn’t changed the specs on its headphone port in several years, so these should still work just fine with current iPhone and iPod devices, and we’re still using some of them such as the Shure MPA-3C ourselves with our iPhone 5s.
An alternative option that may be worth considering is a Bluetooth headphone adapter such as the BlueAnt Ribbon. This is a device that clips onto your clothing like an iPod shuffle and streams music from your iPhone via Bluetooth. This basically works as a stereo Bluetooth headset, but allows for any set of headphones you own to be connected to a 3.5mm jack on the device, and provides track and volume controls and a built-in microphone. The downside is that you have to keep another device charged, but it eliminates the need to run wires all the way to your actual iPhone, allowing you to keep it more easily stowed in your pocket or bag.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Mobiata announces sunset of FlightTrack 5 and FlightBoard apps
- Harman announces first Wireless CarPlay implementation
- Report: Apple still considering several possible wireless charging solutions for ‘iPhone 8’
- Mini Metro adds Endless Mode
- Apple issues statement opposing Trump administration’s rescission of transgender rights
- ResearchKit study conducted using Apple Watch reveals new insights into seizures
- Instagram adds ability to include up to 10 photos or videos in a single post
- Facebook’s talks with MLB raise possibility that game streams could come to Apple TV
- Analyst claims wireless charging will be included in ‘iPhone 8,’ but rules out Energous as provider
- Apple claims EU made ‘fundamental errors’ in calculating $14B Irish tax ruling
- PureGear PureSwitch HomeKit-enabled Wireless Smart Plug
- 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones
- Revogi Smart Lightbulb, Smart Lightstrip, Smart Candle + Smart Meter Plug
- Audeze iSine10 In-Ear Headphones
- MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
- Apple AirPods
- Elgato Eve Motion
- Olloclip Core Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10