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Best Bluetooth Headphones for iPhone

Why the Bose QC35 are the best

The best overall noise-canceling package.

As more devices ditch the headphone jack in favor of Bluetooth, NFC, or other near-field communications methods, wireless headphones have become less about novelty than necessity. And as prices go down and noise cancellation becomes more of a standard than a perk, wireless headphones have become an excellent option for folks looking to buy great audio for their iPhone.

The $329 Bose QC35 Series I isn't going to win awards for having the best sound in the world, or the most innovative design. As headphones go, it's actually a pretty conservative package: There are no fancy multitouch controls or wood-paneled ear cones, and you won't find intelligent features like auto-pause built into the headset.

But we love the QC35 precisely because what it does, it does perfectly. After testing dozens of headphones over the last few years, there is no set I love to wear more than the QC35. It's comfortable enough to wear for hours — and its 20-hour battery life ensures that no matter how long you use it, you'll continue to have music or audio streaming in your ears.

We love the Bose QC35 Series I precisely because what it does, it does perfectly.

It's Bose's noise-cancellation technology that elevates a pretty solid piece of kit to "best overall headphone" status, however. It may not have the paused "conversation" modes or touch controls that its competitors boast, eschewing those sometimes-fussy features for rock-solid noise reduction. I've drowned out plane and train engines, café atmosphere, bus exhaust, over-excitable relatives, and even the hum of my own home to disappear into a music cocoon of the QC35's making. The only time I've ever run into issues with the QC35 was listening against heavy wind — a side-effect of the headphone's noise-canceling microphone technology, and something I've seen on almost every headphone with this technology that I've tested.

If you love deep, booming bass, or you crave the futuristic feeling of multitouch controls on your headsets, you may want to look elsewhere for your headphone purchase. But if you need an overall excellent pair of Bluetooth over-ear noise-canceling headphones, you can't go wrong with the QC35s.

Worth noting: There is now a successor to the QC35 Is available, Bose's $349 QC35 II (opens in new tab). Both headphones are nigh-identical, though the QC35 II offers a dedicated voice assistant button; unless you truly need that feature, the original QC35 is still our top pick for best Bluetooth headphones.

Bose is best!

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

For years, the Bose brand has been the gold standard for active noise-cancelling headphones, and its new Bluetooth over-ear model continues that proud tradition. Though other brands have edged closer to the company's top-tier quality over the years, we still think Bose is the headphone manufacturer to beat.

The QuietComfort 35 Series I (QC35 I for short) was the company's first wireless pair of over-ear noise-cancelling headphones, and it excels in comfort, quality, and muting the outside world. When it comes to rocking a good set with your iPhone for a flight or commute, the QC35 is simply the best.

Bottom line: If you want Bluetooth headphones that deliver on comfort, epic noise cancellation, and overall sound quality, you can't go wrong with the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series I.

Status: Released June 2016; its current successor is the QC 35 II, but the QC35 I is still our overall favorite.

Updated December 2017: The Bose QC35 Series I remains our favorite overall Bluetooth headphone pick for iPhone users.

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

70 Comments
  • Nice pick, and not suprising, but also quite pricy.
    For low-mid budget, and using on day to day basis at work, commute or at home, the Jabra Move is pretty good.. I got one because Serenity was quite positive about them and I didn't regret it yet.
  • I was ready to buy the QC35s until I learned that you can't turn off the noise cancellation. There are times I'd like to have that off, like the parts of my commute where I need to walk and cross streets or other times when I need to hear what is going on around me.
    Your review of the Sennheiser make it sound like you can turn off the noise cancellation on the Bose. Please post instructions on that as it isn't in the manual and I have yet to see any ways to do that. I only know it turns off when your batteries die and you go wired.
  • The in-ear model has an "aware" feature that will lower the amount of noise cancelling when the button is depressed, but I don't think these have that option.
  • Unashamedgeek: I own a QC35 and an very happy with them. Noise cancelation only works for constant noises, such as an AC or the wind noise in a car. Once those noises have been cancelled, other noises can be heard. I find that I can actually hear car horns better when I'm wearing my headphones and not playing music, such as crossing the street. However, if you do want to turn noise cancellation off, you can, and you do that by plugging the headphones to the headphone cable that came in and turning them off. Then you can hear the music and no noise cancellation. However, you can't have Bluetooth and noise cancellation off at the sam etime.
  • You are missing one very important factor in this review......some people can't handle the noise cancellation..... Like myself, for some, when you turn on the cancellation function, you can have a sense of pressure in your ears like when an airplane is taking off or landing. For me, it's uncomfortable enough that I cannot use NC headphones. Instead,mi went for the non NC sennheiser momentum over ears. The do a decent job with passive sound reduction and for me, I find them VERY comfortable. For the folks who have never tried NC headphones before, you really should make mention of that!!!
  • since these are noise cancellation by name, I don't think any factor was missed - if you can't handle noise cancellation, then clearly they are not for you
  • Most support turning NC off and on .. so it's generally a non-issue.
  • Rts Sent from the iMore App
  • Wow… If you honestly think the QC35 sounds better than the Momentum 2, you probably shouldn't be reviewing headphones. The active EQ on the QC35 overhypes the mids, underplays the bass and does all sorts of bizarre stuff to the highs. It also distorts with heavy bass at high volume. The Momentum 2, on the other hand, sounds about as good as it's reasonable to expect from a pair of BlueTooth cans – which is to say, very good indeed, but still not as good as when used wired.. You've also neglected to point out that the the M2 has 22 hours battery life, and that you can't turn noise cancellation off on the QC35, either. I kind of suspect that the only model you actually tried was the QC35. Tell me I'm wrong… ;) I bought the QC35 a couple of weeks ago, and traded it in for the M2 shortly after. Yep, the M2 is expensive, but the QC35 is one of the weirdest sounding sets I've ever come across, and I work in audio, so I've tried plenty. Having said that, the noise cancellation on the QC35 is indeed truly incredible, but to prioritise that over sound quality seems like lunacy to me.
  • This is not review for audiophiles, music producers or engineers, but for an average consumer and from that point of view there is certain point of sound quality above which the quality doesn't matter. When you take the whole package the Bose are clear winner, I am also music guy and you're right they are not best sounding out there, but they sound good enough, above popular consumer models like Beats or Synchros. For an average client it will be all purpose headphones, so not only to listen to the good quality music in perfect environment, but especially on a train, bus, street, plane etc., that's why an incredible noise cancelation will be so appreciated but everybody and the difference in quality just by few.
  • The review implies that the QC35 sounds better than the M2, and glosses over the QC35's shortcomings. Seems wholly misleading to me. And like I say, I strongly suspect the reviewer didn't actually use the M2s.
  • Can You quote the part of the review saying QC35 sounds better then M2 ?
  • Do the headline "Bose is best!" and the claim of "unbeatable sound" not qualify?
  • 'Unbeatable' in the meaning: extremely good, outstanding (dictionary). In other parts Serenity writes Momentum 'deliver excellent sound' and Bose 'amazing', so it's a matter of vocabulary interpretation in terms of quality, Serentiy doesn't put one over the other in this case. Yes, Bose are the best option when we consider the whole package, other consumer reviews agree, like this one from CNET which gives Bose score 4,5 overall and Momentum 4.
  • I'm aware Serenity reviewed the Bose that she went out and bought. So it was one of those "wow, these are great" kind of reviews and well done. This article though is just another roundup from another person who hasn't actually used the devices he's listing. He's just looking around the net at other reviews that anyone else could do and then compiles his "best" list with referral links to buy. It's a bit misleading but imore would probably come back with "we never said we actually reviewed them."
  • This article says at the very top very clearly, it's a 'buyer's guide', not review, there is nowhere written Serenity or Mike were testing all those headphones. You also won't find here any direct comparison between models in terms of sound quality.
  • completely agree - Bose is a complete package that gets most of whats important right
  • Well, since this is the umpteenth so-called "review" hyping the same pair of Bose cans, while they are clearly and objectively worse than most competitors under all aspects except noise cancellation.... It is safe to conclude that these reviews are nothing but paid ads, hidden between ads for cases and cables, hidden between press releases, hidden between hundreds of articles without any substance. If you want to find something interesting and relevant on iMore these days, you have to go to Google and enter "Rene Ritchie". The Sennheisers, the B&Os and especially the Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless (which really MUST be in any so-called review under such a heading) outperform the QC35s by miles – there is not even a comparison. And yes, I have both (paid by my own money, not Bose). I bought the QC35s for air travel – about the only place where I "need" NC. They do that fine – they sound like garbage. Period.
  • Amen to most of that.
  • Just yesterday, I compared the Bose QC35 to the B&O H7 headphones. While the latter sounded more detailed and clear, I still preferred the QC35 for its warmer sound. I looked at the B&W P5 as well. I have a B&W Panorama speaker, I absolutely love its sound—but I didn't even listen to the P5 because it just didn't feel very comfortable; it was hard and leathery, and most importantly on-ear. The B&O H7's ergonomics was not bad, but I've never come across headphones as comfortable as Bose's. I completely understand that some audiophiles do not like Bose's less-than-natural sound (though I also tried out Bose's SoundTrue headphones, which were rather close to the B&O H7, and sounded "neutral" to me). But for normal consumers, I think Bose tweaks the sound exactly the right way, and it gets almost all the other criteria like NC and comfort remarkably right. I have a QC15 and I am probably going to buy the new wireless QC35. For me, it's like paradise on my ears.
  • I like my Parrot Zik 2.0s and their corresponding app, but I have never compared them to any other Bluetooth headphones. Of course, I am skeptical of articles claiming something is best. It is very hard to compare every available option out there. Bose is definitely popular, though.
  • The top two headsets are 350 and 420 dollars US before tax! -- Posted via Titanium Galaxy S7 edge --
  • How did Jabra Move headphones not make this list?
  • I would also add the Sennheiser Urbanite XL to this list of decent sounding bluetooth headphones. And they are under $200, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SJ1KG06/ref=sr_ph_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468644705&...
  • No mention of jaybird x2? Sent from the iMore App
  • Waiting for the QC30 from Bose due in September. Tired of using over-ear headphones.
  • I hope they do an update and review the newly released Sennheiser PXC 550 and compare it to the QC 35. Sent from the iMore App
  • Sony MDR100ABN definitely deserve a mention here. They're outstanding cans and look cool too. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I agree that for the average consumers who are upgrading from earpods or 10$ pair of headphones that the Bose QC35's will probably seem like the best audio especially with ANC assisting. As a person who has Momentum 2 wireless and listening to my wife's new Bose QC35's, I can definitely say that the Sennheisers sound noticeably better, but Bose takes the cake when it comes to ANC and overall comfort (in my opinion). My wife absolutely loves her QC35's and constantly gives them praise to all her family and friends. With that being said, the Bose QC35's aren't meant to make the audiophiles/audio engineers/audio purist happy because Bose knows that true audiophiles stay away from Bose products as they are targeting the 90-95% of the market that are just looking for an good upgrade to their existing setup. The Bose QC35's are an impressive set of cans and if someone is looking for a wireless pair of headphones that have ANC and calling features I wouldn't mind recommending them but in doing so I would so also give them other options since everyone has difference preferences when it comes to music sound/sound signature.
  • I have the QC 35 and they are the best investment I have made, they are quite pricey, but worth every penny!
  • And they do it without the magical Apple chip.
  • Not quite sure why you made a dig at Apple, but ok…
  • That W1 chip does many things that prevents other bluetooth earbuds from being able to do, not least of which is maintaining a very solid BT connection to each ear bud rather than to one like most do, and then them having to transmit through your head to the other, which often causes problems because BT is weak and has a hard time going through your skull and grey matter. Read up about it, it is pretty great and therefore somewhat magical. :-)
    I'll never understand the need to mock things Apple does. But it suspect it's often because the mocker doesn't actually know many details of said item, just sees the price, assumes there's no reason for the higher price, and then mocks it.
  • Another wasted bias and totally uninformed article. Why do we even come to this site anymore? Anyon