Best Headphone Jack Adapter iMore 2020
Overall, Belkin's Rockstar Lightning + 3.5mm adapter is your best bet. It offers high-quality audio while being super durable and versatile.
- Best overall: Belkin Rockstar audio adapter
- Best Value: Apple Lightning to 3.5mm adapter
- Best Cable: Belkin Lightning to 3.5mm cable
- Best Durability: Hamdol iPhone audio adapter
- Best Flexibility: my-handy-design 2-in-1 adapter
Best Overall: Belkin Rockstar audio adapter
Belkin has two variations of this adapter. One converts one Lighting port into two lightning ports, effectively requiring two different dongles. Get this one only if you plan on using Lightning headphones such as the EarPods that come with your phone. However, the one we recommend is the version that includes one Lightning and one 3.5mm port.
The adapter is rugged and the cable is thick, avoiding potential cables breaking at all. Sound quality is solid, and it, of course, allows you to charge your phone with a Lightning cable and use a wired speaker or headphones. While it won't provide full speed fast charging over USB-C, it will enable faster charging, up to 12W. This is the same speed you get when using a standard 12W iPad power adapter.
- Lightning and 3.5mm
- Fast charging up to 12W
- Rugged and well built
- Great audio quality
- Full speed fast charging
HQ audio and fast charging
Belkin products are as close to first-party Apple products as you'll ever get. This adapter works as expected and can be purchased directly from Apple. 12W is more than enough for charging, and the 3.5mm jack allows avoids having a double dongle.
Best Value: Apple Lightning to 3.5mm adapter
Apple's Lightning to 3.5mm adapter is easily the best adapter around if you're planning to listen from your iPhone. It is relatively inexpensive, is MFi certified, and even comes included in the box for certain older iPhone models. That's assuming, of course, that you don't need passthrough charging (wired charging while listening to wired headphones).
It also features a similar amp and DAC to the one found in the iPhone 6s. This translates to an adapter that can drive most consumer level headphones or speakers.
- MFi certified
- Small and easy to stow away
- Great sound quality
- Easy to lose
- Thin cable, could break easily
Inexpensive and MFi certified
Apple products work best with other Apple products. This Lightning to 3.5mm adapter offers the basics and will work with most headphones, including some high-end ones with higher impedance ratings.
Best cable: Belkin Lightning to 3.5mm cable
The Belkin Lightning to 3.5mm cable is different than the rest of the crowd. It's not an adapter, but rather a cable that plugs directly into your iPhone's Lightning port and directly into your car's stereo or headphones with a male 3.5mm port on the other side of the cable.
While it's not the most practical situation, this cable works best if you plan on keeping it in one place like your home stereo, in a car, or on a dedicated pair of portable headphones. This is definitely not worth it if you plan on using your headphone or speaker with multiple non-Lightning devices.
- Avoids the "dongle"
- Stationary usage
- Solid audio quality
- Non-Lightning devices
Perfect for a home theater setup, a car, or anywhere where you know your iPhone is the only thing you'll need to plug in. Expensive, but worth it if you'd like to avoid dongles entirely. The only downside is no passthrough charging.
Best Durability: Hamdol iPhone audio adapter
This adapter from Hamdol is interesting, to say the least. It aims to fix a problem that I don't think many users will have. However, if you fall into this category, this adapter will be a godsend. It splits the lightning charging port and the lightning (for audio) port into a T-shape. If you have a super bulky Lightning charging cable or Lightning to 3.5mm dongle, this solves that problem.
However, due to this design, if you rock a case that covers the bottom portion of the phone to any extent, the Hamdol simply won't work. Again, this is designed for a very specific use case.
- T-shaped design
- Compact and durable
- Supports wired audio controls
- Very specific use case
- Won't work with most cases
For case-free iPhones.
If you're brave and rock your iPhone naked, this adapter will do the trick. It's built out of high-quality metals, so grab this if you need your charging and audio cables on opposite sides (for example, a bulky charging cable).
Best Flexibility: my-handy-design 2-in-1 adapter
You've probably never heard of the brand, but it gets the job done. Unlike the T-shaped adapter that we mentioned above, this one splits headphones and charging into two. Instead of having them in a T-shaped form, the two connectors are split via cable. This makes it much more compatible with different charging cables, as well as cases. For its price, you can't complain, even if it's coming from a less-than-notable brand.
- Simultaneous audio and charging
- Works with most cases and cables
- Braided cable for extra durability
- Lightning for charging, 3.5mm for audio
- Not MFi certified
Flexible and durable.
It enables fast passthrough charging, while retaining that standard 3.5mm adapter. The cables are also split with a lengthy distance between the two, allowing cables of all shapes and sizes.
The Lightning + 3.5mm adapter from Belkin is your best bet if you want a combination of everything. It allows for quick charging and has a port for the standard 3.5mm audio jack. It is slightly bulky but has a thicker, more rugged design that will last for years to come. Belkin is also a reputable brand that is as close to first-party as you're going to get when it comes to iPhone products.
Some other adapters, including ones on this list, have two Lightning ports which means that if you want to adapt to 3.5mm, you'll need to pull out yet another Lightning to 3.5mm adapter to get what you want. There are benefits of having two Lightning ports, though, such as using your included Lightning EarPods or other Lightning-enabled headphones. Pick the best fit for what you're looking for.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Peter Cao has spent years testing and analyzing audio. He's constantly trying out new audio gear and comparing them to others on the market.
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