Confession: I hate my Apple earbuds

I've come to a realization: I hate my Apple earbuds. They're more like a medieval torture contraption for my ears than a comfortable manner in which to listen to music. Apple has Jonathan Ive and some of the most sought after designers in the world on staff, taking chunks of glass and metal and molding them into a devices that aren't just phones or players or tablets but works of art. Yet the standard earbuds that come with these beautiful pieces of art are ungainly, ill-fitting, and just plain annoying to wear for any length of time.

Here's the the thing -- the Apple earbuds are just way to large for a smaller person's ears. After a few songs, the large round earbuds start causing me a good deal of pain. I end up with the choice of either suffering through the pain or placing them so lightly in my ears that the earbuds are about to fall out (not that they don't fall out eventually anyway!)

The shape and size of the earbuds for iPod and iPhone has not changed in years. The diameter and roundness of the earbud is not anywhere close to ergonomic. You would think that over the years, and with all the complaints, Apple would have redesigned them into something more inspired. Even the Apple mouse has been shown more love over the years! To add insult to injury you can buy some Apple in-ear headphones for $80, which means that someone at Apple knows that this would be preferable to the circular torture disks that come in the box.

Now it's not all bad. For a pair of stock headphones I do find that the sound is acceptable and, since the introduction of the iPhone, Apple has added a mic and control button with increasing amounts of functionality. It's just that they get so much right it's especially frustrating when they get something wrong for so long.

So am I just being difficult in wanting them to also be comfortable enough to use for more than a few songs? How do you feel about your Apple stock headphones?


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector and Isometric podcasts, follow her on Twitter @Georgia_Dow and check out her series at