iPhone 3G S (Finally!) Supports Full Apple Headset Remote Features

iPhone 3G S headphones with remote and mic

iPhone 3G S comes with typical shiny white Apple headset buds, but for the first time these earbuds sport the new "remote", which includes volume controls and more.

Apple previously introduced iin-ear headsets with remote and mic for the second generation iPod touch (and aluminum MacBooks) in September 2008, but clearly labeled them as not-compatible with the iPhone 2G or iPhone 3G because the "remote" part was useless.

What a different a generation makes.

Now the full control scheme introduced with the 4th gen iPod shuffle is available to iPhone 3G S owners with one notable difference -- holding down the center button activates Voice Control.

(Thanks Bruce for the tip!)

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone 3G S (Finally!) Supports Full Apple Headset Remote Features

38 Comments

I wonder if the 3G S allows me to activate voice control with my car bluetooth (blueant) like it allows me to do with Nokias. Looks like we're getting closer and closer!

No I don't, I usually trash them. I order some jaybird JB200 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones. Hoping the bluetooth stereo works with the 3gs like apple is claming?

Omarijames - I believe the hardware is different, Apple's using a little controller chip to send/interpret signals in order to get all the different commands to work. That's why the iPod shuffle G4 was different as well.
Could be wrong, but I don't think it's entirely software...

Weird my 3G did not come with these, I noticed on the 3GS that the headset had changed as I use them in the car for phone use and a decent boss set for music

@Omarijames
The hardware in the headphone jack is different, so Apple couldn't put the volume and other remote controlling on the iPhone 3G even if they wanted to. It's not a matter of choosing whether to enable it. It's like saying, "It sucks Toyota won't enable the hybrid engine setting on my 2001 Camry."

This is one of those little quality-of-life things that IMO makes it worth upgrading from a 3G to a 3GS. I was very happy to see the new remote packaged with the phone!

@Walt
Your wrong. These are completely different and don't do what the 3G headphones do. Your dopey.

Rene and Muero - I understand now. I thought it was software was because the original iPhone headphones , sans volume control , had the same three white contact points on the jack.
A little off topic but was there also hardware changes for the percentage indicator ?
I also think it's worth mentioning that the normal version of TiPB works great on the 3G S , unless you guys changed something and it has nothing to do with the phone.

@noah hilarious that you would say "your dopey" (if you don't know why that's funny, go back to 3rd grade and learn the difference between "you're" and "your")
I could be wrong, maybe it wasn't the headphones that came with the 3G...maybe it was the headphones that came with the original iPhone (I bought both).

A2DP Bluetooth works great on my bluetooth enable car stereo (no more wires when listening to iPhone while driving!) and also works with my Bluetooth stereo headphones (no more wires while jogging!). This functionality works with both 3G and 3GS almost flawlessly. I say almost because you can't control forward, replay and such with either of these Bluetooth devices, only pause and play the song. Nevertheless, it's a small tradeoff for the sheer joy of the absence of wires altogether.
Sadly, Apple did NOT enable my most lusted-after feature and that is cross-fading of songs from one to the other. The latest iPod nano and Classics do this with relative ease and it's a doggone shame that someone forgot to turn on this widely-requested feature on on the JesusPhone.
That is my rant, and now I am done. Goodbye

@Walt
You're wrong yet again, after already being told exactly why you're wrong.
Let me try again: No headphones that have ever shipped with any iPhone have included in-line volume controls. The ones pictured here DO have volume controls, and therefore couldn't have been the ones you got with your iPhone 3G.

I mounted the headphones in my motorcycle helmet and attached the controller in the front by my mouth and one handily touch for vice command of my jams or phone calls. Awesome!!!

Walt, is that all you have in response is the fact that he didn't put apostrophe? Really? You ARE a dope. The guy didnt use an apostrophe...OMG!
Walt the grammar police...rofl. And he is right.
Now move along sonny.

i actually the love the headphones when i am working out i can just click the button and answer the phone on important calls

Purchased "V-Moda Vibe Duo (iphone compatible)" headset from Amazon (see http://www.v-moda.com/collection/modaphones/vibe%20duo.aspx) but alas the microphone does not work with the 3GS. URGGGGHHHH... My previous set of V-Moda headphones were a great replacement for the Apple earbuds which kept breaking and worked fine with my first-generation iPhone. I communicated with V-Moda and they say 3GS hardware has changed and that they will not have compatible headset out until later this summer. That makes these useful to me...
Any further news on headset compatibility issues?

Has anyone used any quality 3rd party headphones with the new 3gs?
My ultimate ears Super.fi 4vi headphone broke AGAIN. This is the 4th time they broke on me. They have a 2 year warranty so they kept sending me a new pair.
The sound quality of the 4vi was excellent with my 3g, the durability sucked. Each failure I had was different and they were all design flaws. I am now out of warranty and I would like high quality ear phones that have call answering/music control built in. Price range is $100-$200. Thanks

Totally sucks that there's no headset volume control for the 3G. Can't be that hard. I can't listen to my MP3's in the car because they're all different volumes and I have to get the phone out every time -- why have hands-free if you have to use your hands? Hello? Steve Jobs? Anyone?

@paul
why are u listening to music thru your headphones while driving??? That's actually illegal in several states. Plus u can get Bluetooth recievers that have a FM transmitter, or even the FM transmitter, or an audio to aux cable to plug ur music into your car, try the belkin charger stand for the car...amazing piece, better then listening to music on stock iPhone headphones

@Paul I'm with you man. I use the headphones all the time on my 3G and a friend gave me the new ones from their 3GS but the volume control doesn't work on the 3G. I wish it did. It would just change them from good to perfect. Anyone have an idea how to make them compatible? Is this possible?

I know this is going to sound a bit old fashioned but, I really like taking care hearing and whilst I do agree with the previous poster and I really hope I do not get shot down for saying this, but I believe it is important to take all things in moderation.

I have a ipod touch 3G 64GB and after a while updating it to v3.1.3, the microphone stopped functioning. The remote and sound are ok, and I think the only solution is to restore it to the previous version.