What are Lightning Headphones? All About Lightning Headphones for iPhones

Many people are wondering what Lightning headphones are these days. We’ve compiled all the answers for you in this article.

What is Lightning?

Lightning is a port connector and cable technology invented by Apple for use in its iPhone and iPad products. It is both shorter and thinner than the legacy old 30 pin iPod connector, more durable, and is also reversible, meaning it doesn’t matter which way you plug it in to your device– there’s no wrong way. It also can transfer both data and power faster than the old legacy 30 pin adapter.

What are Lightning headphones?

Lightning can transfer data to a computer and charge your iPhone and iPad but its specification also allows audio (such as music) to be carried over it. As a result, some manufacturers are now making headphones with a Lightning connector at the end of it, instead of a normal old 1/8th inch headphone jack, that you can plug directly into the Lightning port on your iPhone or iPad– without using the headphone jack.

Why would you choose Lightning connector headphones instead of normal headphones?

Lightning jack headphones are quite new. Some people just prefer to plug their headphones and earbuds into the Lightning port, but there are other reasons to use it as well. For instance if the normal headphone port on your iPhone or iPad is broken, repairs can be expensive so it is often cheaper and easier just to get a pair of Lightning headphones as a replacement for your normal headphones.

The Lightning specification also offers a benefit over the normal 1/8th inch headphone jack: it allows devices to draw power from the iPhone or iPad they’re hooked into, which can then power noise canceling technology if the headphones have it, meaning they can be smaller since they don’t require a battery. Lightning also allows for higher quality audio transmission and firmware updates for headphones.


Artist’s rendering of iPhone 7

Apple is also rumored to remove the headphone jack on its next generation iPhones and iPads in an effort to make future devices thinner. Because a normal 1/8th inch headphone port is thicker than a Lightning port, removing it would allow them to shave a millimeter or two off the device, as well as help make it more waterproof. This might mean that in order to use an iPhone or iPad with headphones, you’ll need either Lightning cable headphones or a Lightning headphone adapter. (Update: This prediction came true when Apple replaced the headphone jack with the Lightning connector on the iPhone 7 in 2016.)

When will Apple remove the headphone jack from future iPhones?

Apple’s iPhone 7, released in September 2016, finally got rid of the headphone jack in favor of a Lightning headphone port. Apple’s cheaper and smaller 4 inch iPhone SE still has the headphone jack in addition to a Lightning port but it is unclear how long that unit will remain in the iPhone lineup. If we had to make a guess, we’d predict that the iPhone SE will probably be updated in 2018 to ditch the headphone jack, or be discontinued all together.

Where can I get Lighting connector headphones to use with my iPhone?

New iPhone 7 Lightning Headphones & Earbuds With Remote Controllers

What are the Best Lightning Cable Headphones?

Best Replacement iPhone Lightning Cable Earbuds & Headphones

Best Lightning to Headphone Adapters & Converters for iPhones

It’s hard to find dedicated Lightning to normal, 1/8th inch jack headphone adapters these days for iPhones and iPads. But there are a few Lightning to headphone jack adapters and converters already on the market and they’re getting great reviews. Many of these products are imported from Japan, often a leader in new technology– and these devices are quite new. Here are some of the best Lightning to headphone adapters we’ve found:

Deff Sound Lightning connector dedicated headphone amplifier
Lightning to Headphone Converter

This Japanese-imported Lightning to headphone jack converter comes with a handy remote control at the midpoint where the adapter plugs into your headphones. The remote includes a next/previous track button to control your iPhone’s music, as well as a play/pause button and even volume controls. Technically it’s an amplifier, so you will get the ability to make your music louder if you want to, but it also works as a Lighting to headphone converter by plugging in as a lightning cable and offers a normal headphone jack for you to plug your headphones into. It also features a clip on the back side of the unit, to attach the Lightning to headphone jack adapter unit to your clothing for easy access.

Logitec HiRes conversion adapter Lightning connector corresponding MFI acquisition headphone amplifier DAC
Lightning to Headphone Converter

Here’s another Japanese imported product that converts the Lightning port on your iPhone into a normal 1/8th inch headphone jack. It also acts as an amplifier if you want your music louder, and offers play/pause, previous and next buttons as well as volume and a hold button.

Cozoy Astrapi Mini DAC Amplifier 24bit/192khz for iPhone
Lightning to Headphone Converter

If all you need is a Lightning to headphone jack converter without any of the play/pause buttons the earlier two models offer, the Cozoy Astrapi Mini is the closest you can get right now. It’s as simple as it sounds: you plug in an (included) lightning cable to one side, and your normal headphones in the other.

Related: USB-C to Headphone Jack Adapters for Cell Phones, Laptops & More