Daily Tip: How to use the iPhone headset and mic controls

Curious how to use the headset and mic controls that come with your new iPhone or iPod touch? Did you know the stock Apple earbuds double allow you to take calls and control music even while your iPhone or iPod is tucked away in your pocket? For some more information on how to use your headphones please stay with us after the break.

Below are a list of functions you can perform completely on your headset mic:

Single Click

  • Answer an incoming call.
  • Hang up a single call
  • Swaps calls (multiple calls)
  • Play/Pause Music

Double Click

  • Reject an incoming call
  • Skip Track (while playing music)

Triple Click

  • Previous Track

Press Once and Hold

  • Activate Voice Control (Only On iPhone 4, 3GS, and iPod Touch 3rd/4th)
  • Hangs up current call (multiple calls)

Press Twice and Hold

  • Fast Forward Music

Press Three Times and Hold

  • Rewind Music

The new headset mics come with +/- buttons to adjust volume, for music or calls.

Did you find these controls useful? Are there any I've missed? If you know of any other mic controls, let us know and we'll add it to the list.

Tips of the day will range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you'd like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it's especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we'll even give ya a reward...)

George Lim

Writer for iMore, YouTube Vlogger, and Host for [TEChBrits]

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There are 40 comments. Add yours.

xxDruMMer BoYxx says:

Hey yah! Thanks for this article. Helped me alot ive been wondering what else I can do with the buttons other than skip track. Awesome!

System32 says:

First blood,
Doesn't this info comes in the box when you open it?

Jbbarrette says:

Yes it does, but who really reads that stuff! Ha ha.

FalKirk says:

Respectfully, the article shouldn't be organized by the number of clicks, it should be organized by context.
When listening to music a single click does this...a double click does this...etc.
When on the phone s single does this...
...and so on and so on.

Chepe says:

WHOCARES, content is still the same. Its not like hes writing a essay.

jacksonville 2dsa says:

For shame, you troll-wannabe.
phhhfffftoooo I spit on you!

buci1er says:

I'm sure he forgt that this article was being submitted for consideration by the Nobel Foundation for Literary Excellence....

Simon says:

This would be great, but for the headphones A. Being so uncomfortable they're unusable
B. Always falling out of my ears
C. Breaking within 6 months of use.

jtorrebl says:

I didnt know they had volume controls. I didnt even take them out of its condom sheath.

Andrew says:

Shame the one useful thing Apple didn't include was the ability to mute/un-mute a call!!

BigMACattack says:

Just press in the middle of the control that will mute/unmute the call. You'll hear a tone when you perform each.

Rachel says:

No, that just ends the call. At least, that's the case on 3GS.

rpgmind says:

Great article, thanks!! Wish I could merge calls while on the headphones, instead of simply swapping.

OmariJames says:

I recently found out about how much more functional the mic control is but I'm too scared to use single click to swap calls. The Triple click and hold is pretty useful ! I found that out by accident one cold winter day when my finger froze up haha.

LozBlanko says:

Mine Apple ones are still in the box. I just wish they'd stick to the same control signals. The headphones I bought for my iPhone 3GS (with control button and mic) only operate half the functions on the iPhone 4. I guess they call it progress. I call it annoying.

Dood says:

You honestly care about the full functionality of OEM headphones? Like, this is something you're actually annoyed by? Might want to get out there and look for a life bro.

Shrike says:

Hopefully the Maximo iMetal 595 headphones I just ordered will support all these functions. My Apple in-ear phones didn't survive the washer-dryer. Grr.

erikbock says:

Mine didn't survive my 12 year old son.

PensiveCub says:

Dang. Mine didn't survive simple use.

Ronno971 says:

I guess I am a lucky one. Mine did survive the washer/dryer! :)

Laelipoo says:

This is a really great article. I was wondering how to do all of this. Thank you.

KurtH79 says:

Ha these earphones since my first iPod touch in 2008 and had no idea I could do any of this lol. amazing.

Michael says:

Thanks - I've been searching for these answering on the Apple website for the last few hours.

iPhone Sale says:

iPhone is a line of Internet- and multimedia-enabled smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was unveiled by Apple CEO Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007,[1] and released on June 29, 2007.

Ben Free says:

Amazingly informative article! The only thing more awesome than the amazing features packed into these small headphones is that people such as yourself contribute your knowledge in these articles free of charge. Thank you for your efforts, keep up the great work.

Covalto says:

Once I was in a call and started to play with de controls of the mic. I don't have idea of what I've done but a song started while the call.
I know that you can do this, but you have to do it manually (unlock, iPod app, select song). I been in searching but I don know how to do it again with de mic controls. Any ideas?
BTW it really happened.

Notmine says:

Truly great article; concise, accurate and easy to follow. Reviewed on train on way home with new iPhone. Can now sit back and enjoy my music with complete control.

AALEX says:

These headphones work for any iPhone? 4, 3g, 3gs?

anon says:

thank you, this article was perfect. I had accidentally skipped songs without the insight this provided; now I know how, no more accidents!

Anonymous says:

You can also use the volume up button to take a picture in the camera app.

Mary Lou says:

I would love to have music playing while on a call. Am I able to do this with ear buds? The article cleared up a lot, but I am so inept I need diagrams and instructions.

Jerrold Vasconcellos says:

To the right of the Run/Stop buttons there's a dropdown list where you can select what is being built. In some projects the default will be "box2d" or "cocos2d-iphone" because Xcode sorts the list alphabetically. Since those are static libraries (just code, not an app) they will build but don't run. Simply select the scheme with the project's name and run that, for example the "Doodle Drop" selection will run on the Simulator.

Camilla Ezzell says:

Excellent snippet! Thanks for this. I expanded it a bit using elseif , and did exactly what I needed.

Gia Fahrenthold says:

Thanks so much for posting this, just fantastic. My favourite ever version of King Lear...McKellen is just astounding.

Terry says:

I still don't see any instructions on how to use them?

zahavamama says:

Actually, mine came in a sealed box but without any instructions. I don't know how to use the microphone... I tried using it on my droid phone and it did not work, so if I try to use it on my ipod touch, how exactly do I go about it? I use it to record memos to myself or something? Would it work to record myself playing guitar?

GameShaman says:

I would trade all of these functions for a mute/unmute button like the original had.

RlDDlCK says:

It blows my mind that there is no mute button. I've searched forever and can't find any 3rd party accessories that have this either. I'm going to try to solder one myself and sell it to everyone and make millions.