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

  • Hate 'em! I have the same exact problems as you. Too large and verrrrry painful after a few minutes.
  • I don't like then either. I dropped the extra cash for the in-ear ones. They are so worth the extra cash
  • *them
  • Anyone who takes their music seriously, can not use the stock headphones. Terrible bass, terrible mids, terrible highs.
    I have no idea how people can use these every day.
  • I think there ok for 30 minutes or less. Beyond that they hurt pretty bad, and when I'm on a trip or listening to podcasts, I'm going to listen for more then 30 minutes. They need to change them. PLEASE
  • Check out Sleek Audio at They are made in the USA.
  • 110% agreed. They're abysmal on a good day.
  • I also hate them very much. The extra mic/control is nice, but they start to hurt after not even a whole song. I have a pair of MEElectronics M9P in-ear headphones. They came with a lot of different size inserts, the sound and build quality is real nice for a pair you can find as low as $10, and they have basically the same mic/control thing as the Apple ones.
    I don't know anyone who likes the Apple earbuds. It's either bad quality or painful fit.
  • I've never used them. They're unacceptable. I don't understand why anyone who enjoys music would settle to use these and get poor audio quality. Im at the gym and everyone actually using them baffles me, are they really that clueless? Or do they just not care. Invest in actual buds. I have Sony bass boosters and Bose buds
  • Bass boosting is not music either. Bose distorts the sound so it sounds good but is not even close to what the artist wanted you to hear.
  • Ummm, how are they "unacceptable" if you've "never used them"???? WOW SONY BASS BOOSTERS!!!! Just what I want, so much base I hear nothing else....great!!!!! Are you down with Dre Beats too??? SMDH/FOH
  • I complete agree! My earholes are too small for these to stay in & I've yet to find some that I like with the mic & music controls buttons on them..anyone have any suggestions on a good headset?
  • I don't think they are painful, they just don't fit well enough to block outside noises (and they turn and move). I only notice this during phone calls, not during music. I must be able to make make the music louder? ANd actually this is while I'm out an about mostly, at home with no outside noises, they are fine for a phone call. It's when I'm on the street or in the car...
  • Yes, agree! They don't stay in my ears and they're not comfortable when they do stay there. I only use them as my backup of my backup pair.
  • Because Apple knows people will hate whatever they give out with their devices. I hate in-ear headphones and I hate earbud headphones. For quick listening, the provided headset is just fine. But for extended listening, I only go with the Bose QC2s. I would not expect Apple to provide something of that type. They cannot please everyone. That's why there are 1001 headphones from just as many manufacturers so people have a choice. Apple should keep giving out what they give out and keep costs low, so they don't have to jack up the price for high-quality headphones.
  • I have over 10 pair unused from ipod's, iPhones, Ipads over the years. They are totally worthless. You can't hear the music, they don't fit in your ears. total junk.
  • I find that they are not durable at all and only last a short period of time.......
  • I actually don't mind them. I like the volume and music switching capabilities, they are clean looking and don't cost a unnecessary fortune for how little I use headphones.
    Now running sometimes they are difficult to keep in my ear, so maybe I'll invest in a pair made for activities.
    I'm not an audio snob though, it sounds pretty decent to me. I've sold a lot of iPhones over the past couple years and am getting a nice pile of the headphones as well.
  • Hmmmm... My ears seem to be stranger than normal.
    I have to use foam cushions to fit the earbuds in my outer ear.
    I can wear them this way for hours and hours (and sleep on them).
    The sound... well I'm not an audiophile, therefore I'm OK with the sound.
  • Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, that I do love the clicker with the vol up and down buttons! Best thing invented for in-ear headphones.
  • Same here - I need to use foam to get them to stay in. They are comfortable and I've got no issue using them.
    I hate using any earbuds that go into the ear, they never fit properly and are a pain to refit once removed - if you need to pull you your earlobe to get earbuds to fit property, I've got no interest in them.
  • P.S. Major fail to complain about something and not offer up what you use to remedy the situation.
  • These things are so uncomfortable. It sucks that the in-ear ones from apple cost 80 bucks.
  • I can't stand them! I totally agree with your report! It's time for an update!
  • they are evil, plain and simple. I have hated apple earbuds from the start (and that would be my vintage 1st generation iPod 5GB)!
  • I like them. They are comfortable for me, and they are cheap, so when they go through the wash or get all old and gnarly, it's not a huge tragedy.
    I mostly use them for talking on the phone or listening to music while exercising. If I want to listen to music as a primary thing, use large, over-the-ear headphones, which sound much better.
  • I don't use them at all, have a pair of Shures instead. Still got several pairs of brand new Apple earbuds kicking around if anyone wants'em lol
  • I agree they are the worst. never really used them. really like Sony buds with the different rubbers for different sizes apple should really upgrade the buds for the next iPhone.
  • Yea, Apple earbuds blow....
    I use Klipsch Image S4's and they're amazing!
  • I have the S4i as well. The sound is great, but be careful. After about 6 months, due to the design of the jack, the wires start to become exposed. I don't know if its just me, but the wire always gets caught on things and pulls the buds out of my ears.
  • I've found the apple headphones sound rubbish unless you cup your hands over your ears, firmly pushing them into place!!!
    Obviously you shouldn't be expected to listen like this (or cram them in) and apple should offer the choice of in ear headphones with any iPod/iPhone product. If they don't want twice as many sku then just pack them separately. Also, white headphones and cord for a device which has a default colour of black just shows no thought have gone into them since before the iPhone was released!
    The Apple headphones are too expensive for something that should already be in the box!
    I've always used Creative's EP-630 (same as Sennheiser CX300 but with 50/50 cable) and think they're great but they don't have the remote/mic unit.
  • wait youre willing to spend the $200 or so on your phone but not anything for some decent earbuds
    I also use the klipsch image s4 and they're amazing
  • The first thing i do id throw them away. They are terrible...
  • You're not alone, they're terrible. I ended up picking some Ultimate Ears up well worth the money.
  • I love them!
  • I agree....the stock buds are junk!! I went for the skullcandy ones and wouldn't give them up. They are comfortable, sound amazing, and have an in-line mic.
  • it's totally unbelievable that a company like Apple cant get it through their heads that these things are the WORST F*UCKING DESIGN ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH!!!!
    i simply HATE apple earbuds. the only thing i like about them is the mic and volume/voice control. otherwise these things can burn in hell!! sh*tty sound quality+total discomfort= epic apple failure.
  • totally agree. the only thing they are good for is when you go to sell your iDevice you can advertise "brand new-never used!"
  • The stock earbuds are awful. I hate earbuds in general but these are complete crap. I think I used them for about one day, back when I got my original iPod. I'll stick with my Sennheisers, thanks.
  • They a worthless to me. I would rather Apple save a few bucks and not even bother putting them in the package. S
  • Sennheiser's MM70 is much better than those Apple crappy earphones, which is one of the worst product ever made by Apple, ironically being attached/bundled with the best products of Apple.
    Oh did I mention the official iPod/iPhone cables selling at crazy price tags? They are just a USB cable. You can get a good third party cable for as low as $1.25.
  • I have Phillips "virtual surround sound" in-ear headphones. They were like $25 and are really comfortable and the sound is better than expected for such a moderate price.
  • To all of you who say that you hate them, I'll gladly take them off of your hands. I love them and mine are reaching the end of their life. Send me yours, and I promise they'll be going to a good home : )
  • I use them at the gym just because of the mic, but they are so uncomfortable I have stopped working out to music - they hurt and/or fall out! It's ridiculous. Though I do love the mic feature.
  • i never use them, i havent used the apple ear buds since 2008when i got my second iPhone (3G). I got a pair of iBeats by Dr. Dre to keep in my bag for when im at work and out and about, and have Beats Studio for when im at home. LOVE my beats!
  • and does anyone remember the ooooold ones that came with the black felt cover for the ear bud? haha those were a lot better!
  • Yah they really suck, everything else that apple makes is remarkable.
  • Yay! I thought I was the only one with this problem! Oddly enough they only bother my left ear... But after an hour or so they are AGONY.
    Audiowise, they're not nearly as bad as some audio snobs on here are claiming. They work well for phone calls and walking to class, boosting the midrange so vocals are the strongest. Any other time, though, and I use a pair of studio headphones.
  • I agree that there are much better earphones out there (my personal favorites are the Etymotic er6i), but just to confirm, you are inserting them on edge, right? I mean, they are not designed to have the speaker pointing directly into your ear canal, but rather to be slid in sideways so the speakers are pointing more to the back of your head? The newer design even has the post offset so that the bud can more easily slide further into your ear. It seems to me that anyone who finds them painful is either not inserting them correctly, or really has ear canals that are so small, they should switch out to something like the Etymotics and use the foam tips - doesn't get much more comfortable than those!
  • i don't agree at all
    they're the best headphones that come from the own manufacter that i've ever tried.. they just suit me and they're very smooth, and i don't have large ears! they're in a good standart size
  • I HATE my Apple earbuds, I have to jam them in my ear hole sideways and I mean jam them in for them to not fall out when I'm doing anything other than laying down. It's not bad if that's what they're designed to have done like the silicon earbuds of other manufacturers. We have four sets in my house, the only set that has been unbundled is the very first set ever to enter my door. The rest in the plastic sleeve they were packed in.
  • I've always hated them. I bought some Skullcandy 50/50s because they have the built in volume control and song skip/playback buttons on them, and I absolutely love them to pieces.
  • 50 comments and nobody has mentioned that the mic/controls can be damaged from the smallest amount of sweat when working out?
  • Yea, you're late to the party. My first iPod, I kept those headphones for like a couple of days then dropped them. I love music, and how it sounds is really important to me. I feel like a great pair of headphones are worth their weight in gold.
    I'm surprised that Apple hasn't released something so much better. That poor excuse for in-ear-headphones that they offer both stock or their "premium" option should've been gone. If you're using Apples stock headphones or any bad headphones, I feel for your ears. I've always tried to find great headphones. I listen to music all day, everyday.
    Audio quality does matter. I have friends losing their hearing because of crappy headphones and the volume levels they listen at. It's a combination of a lot of things. Also the bit rate is a big factor for quality of sound. If you have 256kbps bit rate, great headphones, and sound check on your iPhone = Best listening experience ever! Great headphones allow you to have eq's on so you can really hear the difference between Pop, Rap, Rock, Jazz, etc.
    Sound matters! Step ya game up and treat your ears right! Invest in some great headphones. You'll never go back to Apple's or anything close to that. haha
  • Yes, please, better earbuds.
    Thank you to all of you who posted better options. I'm checking them all out.
  • Mmm... Interesting that so many of you seem to really hate them...
    I hate to admit it, but I like them. I use them mostly for running, because they stay in my ears, they are comfortable, and I get a lot of use out of the in-line controls.
    At home, I have a nice pair of Sennheiser's, and when I fly, I use Sony earbuds, which have a much better dynamic range, and block out way more noise than apple's.
    I HATE that they're white. I know that it's almost iconic, but after all these years, I still hate the fact that they're white.
  • Agreed - I hate them with a passion. They never stay in for any length of time and are painful while they are in place.
  • I find them more confortable than most earbuds I've tried. I prefer circumaural headphones but I'm not going to lug around my $80 Sony MDR-V6s. The sound from the Apple earbuds isn't great, but it isn't terrible, and when I'm on the bus or walking on city sidewalks there's enough background noise that it doesnt matter anyway. It's nice to have earbuds that fit in my pocket, have nifty controls, and I don't have to worry about breaking.
  • Meh. Whatever. My wife doesn't like them, but they're fine for me (and obviously a lot of other people). They just throw them in to make the device minimally useable. Most every other device doesn't come with premium earphones, and it would be impossible to please everyone with one size/style.
    What's interesting here, though, is how misleading the comments can be. To read them, you'd think 95% of all people hate them. A posting like this draws exactly that sort of response.
  • Yea, my wife doesn't like them either. Maybe they are designed for male ears? I've heard the don't like them due to comfort thing mostly from women. Though, I'll admit they aren't incredibly comfortable for sure. I hear 'sound quality' a lot from men, though I've yet to hear any reasonably priced ones I think are better.
    That said, when I want to listen to high quality music, I either do it through the home stereo or use can-style earphones. I'm NOT going to pay $100s for some ear-buds, no matter how much better than the Apple ones they are.
  • Uh do you ever travel? That's when you use them
  • Yea, if I flew all the time, I could understand that kind of investment. Kind of a special circumstance (though, I admit, not uncommon).
  • I love my Apple earbuds they are cheapest with those microphones and the iPod controles that work properly, before the sound quality was not as load as is now major improvements over the prevues models and I don't think I am buying better headphones for over $100 just for microphones and the iPod controles.
  • I like them pretty good for not having to pay for earbuds. I dont understand people complaining their too big for their ears, they are perfectly fine for me.
  • Yes, because everyone has the same ear size as you do.
  • I have the same problem. After just a few songs my ears start to hurt, but I like the functionality with my iPhone.
    I found a perfect solution with YurBuds (
    They slip over the standard Apple earphones and you get a size that fits your ear perfectly. They are design to avoid the typical pressurepoints in the ear, and are also great when running as they keep the earphones from falling out.
    Initially I thought it sounded too good to be true (like another Home Shopping Network offer ;-)), but I took the plunge and are now enjoying my Apple earphones for hours at time every day.
  • I hate to say it, but I am thoroughly sick of Georgia's vapid commentary and whining; i can barely listen to the podcasts these days because of it. When she was just one of the contributors, it was mildly tolerable, but now she just seems to be everywhere.
  • Yeah, god forbids if Georgia has anything bad to say about our religion, I mean, Apple.
  • Fine... you're free to go, you'll be missed.
  • I have to strongly disagree with you, Mystic. I find Georgia knowledgeable, insightful and down to Earth. She makes the podcasts and live chats warm and inviting. I would hate to imagine TiPb without our beloved Georgia
  • Agree... I feel she's my voice in the podcasts, very objective and eventhough she loves her apple stuff as much as i do.. I dont think she's a "fangirl" and I like that.
  • but the thing is, shes not on team pure... so +1 respect lol.
  • Really? That's an ass-hole move. Georgia is a good writer, and I probably wouldn't like TiPb as much without her. If you don't like her enough to whine about it all over the blog, maybe you should just leave. Unlike the person above me, I would not miss you.
  • Don't like her beat it.
  • Wow, a bit defensive, are we?
  • And yet, here you are...
  • They cost Apple, like, what, 5¢ each set to make in this generic style? And, as noted, though they make much of the styling of the rest of their products, the earbuds truly are an afterthought.
    That said, I've yet to find comfortable earbuds, while in-the-ear models are simply bad for you and, let's face it, headphones make you look like a dork.
    It's a problem for mobile sound listeners - and Apple is not exactly striving to improve the situation - especially if it might cost more.
  • My roommate lost her earbuds and asked if I had an extra pair. I use third party earbuds so I knew I must have the ones that came with my iPod Touch. Problem was...I had no idea where I put them. After 15 mins of rummaging through my drawers, I decided to look in the white, plastic iPod packaging and whadya know, there they were! I never even took them out of the package!
  • I switched to Plantronics backbeat 216 a while ago
    Much better sound and has the same controls as apple ones
  • They got them at store as well
  • I don't even wear mine anymore, they are terrible! I am actually on the lookout for some new earbuds, my Jbuds are falling apart
  • The Bose IE are the best ones I've ever used. The fit us unrivaled and the sound quality is amazing.
  • I've had a combination of four iPods and iPhones over the years and I've never even tried the earbuds. They're still unopened in the packaging. Have never been a fan of white earbuds/cords.
  • I just hate earbuds, period. Over-the-ear headphones are the way to go for me.
  • Thank you Georgia, my thoughts exactly. I always wondered why nobody else complained. The set that came with my iPhone 4 sits in the box, I used it once, they were too big for my ears, hurt after a short while, the sound was bad, frankly I could not understand how Apple could have supplied such lousy pair of earphones. I think the smart move would be what Nokia did with the 5800, a two part plug, a part with the mic and controls that ends on a jack, where you can use the phone supplied or plug your own without loosing functionality. But god forbids if Apple has anything to learn from anyone else.
  • I totally agree. The apple earphones hurt my ears. I don't think they are meant to fit everyone.
  • Why pay hundreds of dollars for a mp3 player and have horrible head phones?
  • Funny timing. My wife and I just went out and bought a pair of Sony headsets (earbud style) with in-line remote last night because we got fed up with Apple's uncomfortable earbuds. It's such a huge business now, you have to wonder if Apple doesn't do it on purpose just to support their army of third party developers - ha!
  • Why anyone hasn't dropped coin for Bluetooth cans is beyond me.
    Wired earbuds/phones are stupid.
    I got some Senni's that are amazing, and the latest versions of iOS support advanced functions.
    Lose the wires kids!
  • I alctualy love my Apple earbuds. They work well and tend to be comfortable enough. They break eventually (just like everything else) but are cheap enough to easily replace. They really can't be beat considering they're free with every version of iPhone and iPod. I actually prefer them to many others, but I don't entirely know why. I think that they're more than fine.
  • I hate my earbuds because they are a medieval torture device for my ears! I tried them once when I bought an iPod Touch in 2007; and after I got a 3G in 2008, I never even took them out of the plastic wrap. Same thing with my iPhone 4 - never touched them. I thoroughly enjoy listening to music on my bluetooth Motorola S305 that also allows me to listen to phone calls in stereo. It's the best quality bluetooth headset I've listened to.
  • I have the same headset... I have noticed the sound cuts out if I have my phone in left front pocket and look right with my head all the way to look for traffic while riding my bike. Have you experienced any issues with audio dropping out?
  • Apple ear buds suck. They're slightly smaller than an average frisbee in diameter, causing severe discomfort. I prefer other gel earbuds that actually fit down in the canal of my ear, blocking out noise.
  • Well I am lucky. I am into music, so have a good pair of AKG studio earphones. I have used the ear buds, and they are cheaply made. They will hurt the ears, and will fall out. Georgia is right on with this. Rant on Georgia, keep us thinking.
  • It's total crap and i would rather pay for earbuds that 20-30 dollars.
  • Me too,Georgia! What a relief, I thought I was the only one. Apple's earbuds don't even fit in my ears so I don't use them. I would rather have dollar store earbuds than use Apple's earbuds. And now I know it's not just me!
  • I'm pretty much amazed with these comments. :D
    I never realized that my lovely earbud have a problem with a lot of people out there.
    But here what I think:
    Every person have their on ear, and those ears are have a various diameter of ear hole (i don't know what they called), so I think Apple make the earbud for the average diameter there is, maybe they make a research of something.
    It's just seems impossible to make an earbud that fits perfectly for everyones ears around the world.
    Oh about that in-ear earphone, Apple built that for the quality, while this earphone that comes out with ipods and iphones are built for a purpose, making ipods and iphones more cheap (than using the in-ear earphone).
  • Apple's earbuds suck in general. I have several pair that have never even had the plastic wrap taken off. My favorite earbuds right now are Zaggsmartbuds! They have the music controls and they fit my ears well. I don't run them over with my wheelchair when they fall out of my ears because they're worn around the neck.
  • JBaby, we agree again!
  • For those who find them uncomfortable or even not bassy enough, you are wearing them incorrectly. They are meant to be worn with the speakers pointing forward and the headphones sticking out horizontally not vertically. Try it. They fit better and sound better.
  • I the them all as well. They are uncomfortable and they do not last at all. I cannot tell you how many times they have ALL been replaced. I have 2 iPhones, and the ipd nano 5th and 6th gen and they have all failed. They really are crap!!
  • Personally, I love them. For my ears, they are most comfortable ear buds I have used. Plus, they sound nice. I can go about an hour or so before my ears start to feel a little sore.
    But, that's just me.
  • Perhaps Georgia is secretly an Apple-phobe. The Prophet Jobs can do no wrong. Apple-akbar!
  • This article made me laugh. I have purchased 3 iPhones and have never even taken the headphones out of the box. Of course they are crap. Any self respecting music listener would never use them.
  • Same here! I have an iPod, iPad and iPhone and 2 sets of headphones are still in plastic, in the original boxes. I tried them when I got my first iPod, but didn't like them and switched back to my Sennheiser ones (which are excellent btw)...
  • For those that don't like them send them to me! I admit they aren't the best but they work well for me because I cannot use sound isolating ones in case of an accident in the lab. BTW, I am serious about sending them to me. I will pay for
  • Hopefully someday Apple will make a big stink about it and remake the earbuds. Unfortunately I don't think enough people complain about them, they just go and buy other ear buds. The fact is that with a $300 iPod that's MADE for listening to music one should expect to get earbuds that are nicer. But then again I guess earbuds are in fact the problem. By design they're awful, but in-ear buds are by far superior. I have two sets actually. A $40 pair of klipschs for activities and the Apple in ear buds for everything else. They both work and fit great... I haven't used the regular buds for years.
  • I got some "refurbed" Apple in-ear headphones from OWC for a few bucks off. Much better than the 1st-gen in-ears.
    The only problems were that they appeared to be partially smeared with curry or something, so I had to soak the wire mesh discs to get it off. And the medium-sized silicones were missing. Oh well, the smalls fit me fine. Your mileage may vary. Drastically.
  • Oh, and I forgot to say that I too hate the standard earbuds. There is no acoustic seal, so there is near-zero bass. And I'm a bass player. 'Nuff said.
  • iBeats by Dr.Dre. THE BEST headphones I EVER owned. The sound is amazing compared to anything else I tried. Deep base that you would hear in clubs can be felt in these bad boys. they come with like 6 different sized headphone tips to fit into every ear and they fit so well that they cancel out all background noise.
    When I wear em it's like life was put on mute and my music took it's place. Not to mention they hve control talk built in for when I get a call.
    You can get em on Amazon for like $90 or less. I tired to use apple headphones once just to see the difference and it made Apple's headphones seem like something I would expect from a $1 store pare of earbuds.
  • Puh-lease.
    Beats is all hype and mediocre quality.
    If you think those rock, you ain't heard good cans. Period.
    Yeah, they're better than Apple's offerings, but all they do is suck money out of your wallet and make you feel like one of the cool kids.
    If you like them, that's cool, but they're NOT great cans.
  • Um, considering I got them for $50 and had no problem getting a replacement pair FOR FREE if an issue ever appeared, I would say they are pretty good.
    You can call it hype. But for what I have heard, I would say they are amazing if not MORE for what they cost.
  • Agreed, beats are just ok (way too much bass imho) with an exorbitant price. Take your beats to the Bose store and see which ones sound better for the price. Part of the Bose price is the great customer service. Even with out of warranty products Bose will give credit towards replacements. Yes Apple earbuds are low quality and outdated.
  • I can't wear the Apple earbuds, either.
    I'm a former professional musician and have been fitted with in-ear monitoring earpieces. So, I know that I don't have "small" ears. My sizing blank was actually a medium-large.
    However, people being people, we're all a little different and not everybody has ears that accommodate the shape of the disc style earpiece.
    For me I just bought a couple pair of Altec Lansing in-ear canal-style buds with interchangeable sizing collars and that worked for me. The kind I got let me enjoy pushing the button to change songs/pause/etc. and the microphone - so it replaces all the functionality of the Apple earpiece.
    I'm surprised Apple didn't go with that solution? In ears with a couple changeable collars/tips?
    It's not like we're worried about sound quality - they're compressed digital music files. They're only going to sound so-good anyway.
  • I just either toss the iBuds or leave them in the box as soon as I get my iProduct. I care about what I'm listening to and want it to sound the best. Right now the best bang for the buck are the Hifi-man RE0 for something like $80 on Amazon.
  • Georgia is 110% right on this. The original earbuds stink. Sound is okay, fit is bad. Apple makes a set of in ears that are really good. They got bad reviews but there was one by a guy who is a sound engineer that said you had to make sure they were all the way in your ear properly. I took the chance and they really are great. Wish Apple would include these instead of the ear buds. Listening anyone in Cupertino????
  • They kill my ears also. I use iBeats by Dr. Dre. I love those headphones.
  • At least Apple provides earbuds. The Droid X didn't come with anything. I don't mind the Apple earbuds. Sure, there are better ones, but for a set that comes with the iPhone they aren't bad.
  • I find it humorous that some of these people would purchase the 80-90 "upgraded" Apple headphones. When you have equivalent and cheaper options being offered by companies that specialize in AUDIO...why would you buy mediocre Apple headphones?? Oh yeah...because Steve Jobs told you they were magical.
  • The Apple headphones are garbage along with most headphones under $100.00. When it comes to this particular item you get what you pay for. For the past 20+ years I've listended to more bad headphones than I'd like to admit to. My last set was the Shure 530 and I will never go to anything less again. My best advice to anyone purchaing any digital device that plays music is to ditch whatever headphones it comes with as soon as you can aford it a buy something better. Listen to a few headsets first then get the one that's most pleasing, balanced and clear to your ears.
  • I agree, they are terrible. I've never used them.
  • Not to be rude... but if you've never used them, how do you know if they're any good or not?
  • I hate them too, but if you hate them Georgia, why are you using them? There's tons of options out there.
  • I dont use them but I was doing a story on how to use the Apple earbuds and had to find them and use them and even just using them to write the How to almost killed me.
    Hence this article was born =)
  • You were using them wrong! ;-)
  • Can't find it. Link?
  • They don't stay in my ears, without the addition of foam pads. The earbuds are not my favorites.
  • The apple earbuds kill my ears only after a few minutes. I switched to ifrogz (in pink YAY) and they are so comfortable. They have a mic too. Huge win... So cheap. Around $26 at best buy!
  • I went to Best Buy and bought a pair of Apple In-Ear Headphones ( when I could not stand the set that came with my iphone. It is the best set I have had.
  • the headphones are the worst i never opened them and i have an iphone ipod and a shuffle so i have them and i would give them away. the sound is the worst and they dont cancel out the noise so you have to go deaf to try and hear your music . my suggestion is ultimate ears. they are the best headphones hands down . bose doesnt come close neither does beats by dre but there is a price involved. first dont get the vi model they suck get the regular super fi pro and then by the cord for the triple fi pro and you have ipod controls. i have the super fi pro but i also have the customs. best thing i have ever done. they seal your ear block out all the noise again for a price and you have to go to the doctor for them but best investment you will ever make . go to you will see what they have but you can get the non custom ones on ebay for cheaper hope this helped
  • Apple earbuds are not that great. I find Sony one to be of better quality than Apple. But I definitely find the in-ear ones uncomfortable. It would really be inconvenient if Apple included the in-ear ones by default and charged 50 $ more to the price of iPod/iPhone. So what it is now, I would consider it alright.
  • The Klipsh S4s are by far the best headset i i ever heard. can't recommend them enough.
  • My ears are huge. They hurt mine, too.
  • Stock earphones are crap and have terrible sound. It always makes me laugh when I see people using them in public, and having the look "I'm so proud of using apple". They are most likely listening to low quality mp3s as well.
    I recommend Sennheiser MM70. They have amazing sound quality (for a pair of commuting earphones). Much better than the overhyped klipsh s4i.
  • Agreed! The Sennheiser mm70s are phenomenal. Those stock earbuds can be tossed as far as I'm concerned -- crazy uncomfortable, and inferior sound quality to almost any other earbud out there.
  • I've ditched the standard headphones for a number of iPods & now my Phone. The best included headphones I've ever had came with my BB Bold & I still use them to this day, so comfortable and have a great sound.
  • Agreed! I love the Blackberry Bold earbuds. They cost only about $30 in-store, but for that kind of money they are just as good if not better than earbuds twice their price. They've always been my fall back when more expensive earbuds crap out on me or the wires get fraid (which happens more often than it should for the $100+ price I've paid in the past for them).
  • I prefer the Apple Earbuds over others I've tried. They hurt my wifes ears thought. The thing I don't like about them is the rubberized parts tend to break down quickly. I go through at least two sets of earbuds a year, if not three.
  • My views on apple earphones are good I prefer them over anything else
  • I've got to agree with Leet - I actually like the stock earbuds. I've got a bose pair and shure and most times I just reach for the stock. I've got small ears and they fit well.
  • I don't like earbuds period. They either 1. Hurt my ears after 20min of use, or 2. They don't stay in my ears.
  • Bose ie2 is where its at, great sound and doesn't hurt your ears.
  • I have the apple $80 in ear headphones for my ipod touch just to use Skype mostly. the stock earbuds suck! I even use Bluetooth headsets sometimes too.
  • I don't find the Apple earbuds uncomfortable at all, the sound quality just sucks.
  • I have an iPod touch (4G) and, ironically, no music on it. I'm using it mostly for apps, games and such. Mainly because the sound quality of the iPod itself is so miserable that it makes me wonder why the hell is Apple advertising and selling this as a portable music player. After plugging in my SE HPM-77's (which have outstanding sound quality, at least for my standards), the sound quality is still bad to say the least. Even after playing around with the equalizer... Which brings me to another complaint, why isn't there a manual equalizer option???
    Regarding the headphones themselves, the sound quality, that is... They sound great, but only after I do this with settings:
    only then the sound quality is finally enjoyable. But, there is still the problem of headphones being extremely uncomfortable after some time.
    Apple is very "smart" (or better, tricky). Sell devices for a high price, advertise them as the best, offer no or low quality accessories and rip everyone off if they decide to buy something decent. Playing this dirty game has "won" them millions in profit over the years.
  • your absolutly right. why did it take so long for someone to comment on the disign error?
  • I use Doctor Dre's Beats. They were built just for apple products.
  • No they weren't.. Beats by Dre were designed to steal your money, all while delivering a sub-par listening experience at a premium cost. long as you enjoy them..that is all that matters.
  • apple ear buds are horrible. horrible sound quality. horrible fit. the only redeeming factor is the audio control capabilities, but i don't even know how to use them that well haha.
    i use ultimate ears triple fi 10. expensive, but GREAT earbuds. personally, i don't want huge cans on my head.
  • For my iphone I bought a pair of Hifiman RE0 which are great after 100hrs burn in. I matched them with a Fiio F5 headphone amp with bass boost (RE0 need it) and a LOD (line out device) and they sound sublime. For about 120usd they perform like some of the klippsh and shure models for 3x the price.
  • Any iem with silicone earpieces toss this style under the bus.
    Even knock offs at those Chinese discount sites fare better. These things just HURT.
  • Yeah the Apple headphones are really uncomfortable. Bought a pair of Plexgear headphones for $49 and except for one warranty replacement, they work great.
  • I wouldn't say they are great, but they are "acceptable". The sound is good and they fit...
  • Incredibly uncomfortable. To avoid headache i stopped using them years ago, and anytime I have cause to use them I remember fairly quickly why I stopped.
    As someone who uses public transport regularly i also hate them because they let so much sound escape. I can actually hear other peoples music when I'm wearing my own headphones - so annoying
  • You know, several companies have figured this out. The stockers that came with my Samsung Captivate were fantastic! They are the in-ear type, not the bud type, and come with different size ends. Too bad the phone was terrible!
    I was using the SkullKandy Ink'd replacements, since I could get them with the mic and end-call button. however, nobody carries them, or anything like them, anywhere near me anymore.
    If I just want to listen, i have a set of Etmyotic ER6i, which are fabulous. I've had them for several years.
  • The Apple ones don't stay in my ear. I bought some Skull Candy in ear ones and some Bose dj style ones. Both are great.
  • BUT I do have several pairs of the Apple ones all around my house, in various handbags for emergencies.
  • 2nd that
  • Love my Kicker earbuds
  • This Is how I felt about the headphones Pre 2005 iPod ( classic ). Now THOSE earbuds were painful. They were round and big. I feel that the current earbuds are a lot more comfortable. I've tried others and I've always went back to the apple ones after the 3rd party ones either broke or were lost.
    They fit in my ear like man earrings ( lol ) and I barely notice it if music isn't playing. Maybe I have big ears but when the 2005 iPod came out everyone who brought one raved how much better it was. I guess apple is making those headphones for generally big eared people.
  • SonyEricsson MW600.. bluetooth earbuds + radio FM RDS...
  • my ears love them ,,
    i guess my ear oppening is huge u know
    like the rest of my oppening :P
  • Apple's included buds are for one purpose: To let buyers of new devices use them immediately.
    Headphones, like speakers, are a personal choice - even more so since they go in/on/around your ears.
    They would be stupid NOT to include them, and STUPID to make them expensive.
    It's very simple, and smart.
  • I hate the Apple earphones. I went through four pair that kept falling apart and breaking etc. I had two pair replaced for free at Apple, but that does not solve the problem. I ending up buying Sennheiser sports earphones at Apple store and they work great for active use in the yard, on my bike etc.
  • See Einstein's definition of insanity...
  • I have a pair of the Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 BT headphones and I love the form factor, but the sound sucks and the fit isn't great. Why can't Apple make a decent pair of BT bud headphones?
  • EXACTLY! They just hurt and/or fall out of my ears. PLEASE change them (or pack the in-ear ones with the iPhone), Apple!
  • I've got my sennheiser[sp] CX300's that I've had since my 1st gen iPhone. I love them. I can wear them for hours at a time and barely notice they're in. I've NEVER even unwrapped the woeful stock headphones on any of my 4 iPhones.
  • Adding foam covers (cheap at Radio Shack) changed my mind. The sounded thin and tinny and fell out a lot. Then I added the foam covers, and they now have a very good frequency response, going very deep into the bass also. They went from my worst to close to my best (I have about 6 sets of portables, including the excellent in-ear monitors from Shure, SE530).
    Try the foam covers, and concerns over sound quality, comfort, and staying put are reduces if not eliminated.
    In-ear monitors have the potential to be much better (like my expensive Shures), but I wear these often when I need to hear the environment somewhat: airport announcements, people at work, etc. On an airplane, I wear the isolating in-ear types.
  • I've never used the earbuds Apple provided. They were always a pain in the *** to keep in my ears. I've relied on Skull Candy earbuds for the past 5 years; they fit way better.
  • My ears are big and I hate those things because they keep falling off from my left ear. Reading that all of you have the exact opposite problem makes me feel weird.. lol
  • I have this strange obsession with buy earphones/headphones of all shapes and sizes. I confess that I am an audiophile that will buy anything that my financial limits will allow me.
    With that said, I too hate the Apple Earbuds for 3 reasons: (1) Ill-fitting, not comfortable and won't stayin my ears; (2) Sound quality is horribly unbalanced and tends to be mid heavy; (3) Teenagers (and even grown adults) like to turn them up so high that a quiet bus/train will be filled with sounds of indistinct treble sounds.
    I have tried the Apple in-ear buds and those are definitely better than the regular earbuds but still not the best. I have/owned everything from Bose headphones and in-ear to some disposable Sony ones. I used to think that my favorite pair of over-the-ear headphones were Audio-Technica studio monitors (~$400) and my favorite pair of in-ear headphones were Sennheiser buds (~$200). I then found the Klipsch S4i ($70-$80) and these have always been my go-to pair. I replace the stock ear tips they provide and instead buy an after-market product from Comply Foam which is a memory foam ear tip. Someday I'll fork over for a custom ear tip but until I pay off my student loans, that's not happenning anytime soon.
    Anyway, try those in-ear headphones with the comply foam tips. I promise you won't be disappointed.
  • bose
  • Maybe I've got peculiar ears and odd hearing but I've always liked the Apple stock earphones. They fit me nicely, and while the bass is a bit weak they've always been very clear sound. I'm sure the sound quality has improved a lot with each generation - the ones with my iPod Touch and iPhone 3GS were a little better sounding and still fit my ears well. And I've still got all the pairs from all my iPods dating back to the 3rd gen - and they all still work fine. But I actually use Swedish A-Jays 4 iPhone earphones (great bass), as wearing standard white Apple issue in London is likely to get you mugged.
  • to throw one more complaint about the earbuds into the ring: the inline mic / remote control for the iPhone earbuds needs to be tapered on the ends... can't tell you how often the current version snags on my shirt collar, annoying, and on most occasions pulls the earbud out of my ear.
  • yeah, I hate that snagging mic too. It drives me crazy every time it snags and pulls the bud out of my ear. Something like 38 times a day.
  • I've just replaced my stock iPhone earbuds with iBeats and I have to say they are awesome. I was slightly reluctant splashing out quite a lot of money for "premium" earphones, but iBeats are a vast improvement on the standard iPhone earphones. The sound quality is exceptional.
  • I thought I was the only one, but yes the inline mic/remote snags on my collar if I turn my head even just a little. It has sharp corners and is just at the right spot to catch collars. This is super annoying. Please fix that!
  • The stock buds are absolutely worthless. They will stay in my ears, if I don't move at all, and even then not that well. Bought a pair of $60 Sennheiser in-ear earbuds with the interchangeable "tips"....used the middle size, fit well and sound great. The only good thing about the Apple buds for me is that I can advertise "never touched Apple earbuds" for any applicable Apple device if I choose to resell
  • Actually I was about to look for some articles to confirm if the stock earphones improved because I compared the latest earphones with the ones that came with my iPhone 3G, the new one earphones sound better. I have no problem with comfort since it fits well in my ears. The sound quality is decent. I'm listening to Lossless files on my Mac and on my iPod. I believe they improved it a little OR I just got a lucky pair of earphones that sounds good.
    If I can't bring my Grado headphones with me, I grab the stock earphones.
  • Totally agree. The discs hurt after the first 30 seconds and easily fall out; absolutely useless. I've spent an hour googling for a better headset for my iphone... and there are not many realistically priced options. (Gotcha says apple!!!)
  • If your looking for a good price on earbuds you should try looking at skullcandys earbuds... They price from around 20-80 dollars... Depending on how much quality you want.
  • AGREE! Tried to go jogging today with them and they kept falling out! Lost my sony ones that go over the ear so I had to use the apple ones. not a good run!
  • I stick them in sideways, so that the cord is pointing away from my head and the speaker grill is facing forwards. 100% better bass and sound isolation. But that that's just my ears.
  • i have what drs have told me... exceptionally small ear canals. ear buds were not an option. they never fit!! even the small (when you can find a pair that has optional buds) are too big. my over the ear headphones got broke!! :(( they are truly not a great item to jog in unless your using a headband. LOL. all this to enjoy our music?? hmmmmm... ive bought many ear buds, many brands & various of prices. even those skull candys everyone else loves!
    well i truly found my solution & i truly hope this helps you & i hope ear bud makers wake up!!!
    i cut little triangles on the ear bud part itself out. keeping the rubber grippy part yet shrinking the size. altering it so that when scrunched & placed inside my ear.... they now fit :)
    since the recent hot pink ifrogz i bought with mic have 3 sets of ear buds what did i have to lose by cutting 1 i thought??? so.... i came up with a plan & it worked for me.
    i hope it helps you too :)
  • I am going to do this on a pair I already have to see how it works for me..Cheers for your suggestion x
  • I agree with this. My apple earphones are complete agony to wear and leave my ears red raw and painful after only a few minutes. As a qualified architect and designer i find them totally lacking in functionality - if my buildings were as crap as this I'd be sued by clients.
  • Those earbuds are absolutely horrible. They won't stay in my ears whether I'm standing, sitting, or even reclining. I am so frustrated. I found online an item called "BudFits". It's claim to fame is: "The most secure and comfortable way to wear iPod and iPhone earbuds."
    They are totally useless to me. Can anyone recommend a wonderful set of earphones.
  • my ears really hurt and it hurts to take them out after ive worn them for a bit. GRRRR :O
  • my ears really hurt and it hurts to take them out after ive worn them for a bit. GRRRR :O
  • my ears really hurt and it hurts to take them out after ive worn them for a bit. GRRRR :O
  • I am so with ear canal is tiny and ear phones hurt and fall out more often than they stay in...surly there is some small silicone ones that mould to the shape of your ears that are the foam ear plugs you et for concerts or drag race meetings??? Do tell please if you know of any at REASONABLE prices...x
  • Cooter46
  • I've hated the stock apple earbuds since I first bought the iPod mini. They are just INCREDIBLY uncomfortable. They cause pain after maybe 30 seconds, and the constantly fall out. The wire gets filthy almost instantly. And they wire is also weirdly tacky and sticks to itself, so when they get tangled, they're a huge pain the ass to untangle. I had a great pair of Sony earphones with the iPhone controls built in that I paid 60 dollars for a few years ago. Just lost them though. :(
  • Yes i agree with you that these earphones are s painfull. When i put it in my ears after 10 minutes i feel so uncomfortable.
    earbuds for running
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  • I know a lot of people who have issues with their Apple earbuds, but the answer is really with a new design of earbud cover. In full disclosure, I work for the company that designed the covers called Breppies. We have received great reviews for the product and they are really inexpensive while also extending the life of your earbud. Much better than foam or snap ons. You can find out about them at
  • Hi - I had a major problem with iphone earbuds falling out. I got so frustrated I actually came up with a solution. I'm not looking to get support to make these things so that no one has to suffer the frustration any more. Please take a look in kickstarter. I have added a link direct to my project. Thanks, Rob
  • Oh btw, I received my EarSkinz in the mail yesterday - testing them out today - Google it. I tried to paste the url but my post got marked as spam :( And no, I do not work for the company. Just sharing :)