Apple’s move to remove the headphone jack on last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus disappointed a lot of customers. The 3.5mm headphone jack is one of the most widely used, commonly available jack on almost any smartphone, tablet, laptop or a PC. Removing it from the iPhone ensured Apple received a lot of flak.
The only way you can use a pair of wired headphones with the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 7 Plus is by using the supplied adapter. The adapter simply converts the 3.5mm headphone jack into a Lightning adapter.
Now that’s not really the best option to use. A lot of times you want to charge your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus while listening to music. Then there are times when you’ll forget to carry the adapter. Lastly, the cute little adapter can be easily lost without a trace.
All that is very annoying. A lot of people would want a headphone jack on their iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. This is why a lot of people fell into an online trick and ended up drilling holes into their iPhones.
But Scotty Allen, an American engineer and hacker, was determined. Allen wanted to add a headphone jack to his iPhone 7 and he worked super hard to make it possible. On his website, he has detailed the entire process on how he made it happen. It’s not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s not entirely impossible either.
Allen shot to fame earlier this year for building his own iPhone 6s using parts he entirely sourced from Chinese vendors. He has spent a lot of time in Shenzhen, China, and learned a lot about electronics manufacturing there.
According to Allen, the hardest part was getting everything fit inside the iPhone 7. He used a headphone jack from the iPhone 5 and a headphone adapter that’s supplied with the iPhone 7. He ended up making a lot of complex circuit boards, with three different iterations of PCB designs that were manufacturers and four different flexible PCBs.
That’s not all. Allen used three iPhone 7 smartphones during the entire process, a bunch of displays and an endless number of internal components which he sourced from the local markets in China.
So how does his implementation really work?
Allen managed to use an Apple Lightning to headphone adapter and shoved it inside the phone. The adapter is hooked with a flexible PCB which has a switching chip to switch between headphone adapter and the phone since it uses the Lightning port.
His designs are open-source and, therefore, available to everyone. The only downside here is that you cannot listen to music at the same time while charging your iPhone 7. His solution uses the traditional headphone to Lightning converter so the circuitry still won’t support both these features at the same time.
In a video that Allen posted on YouTube, he has explained the entire process that took weeks to implement. One thing is for certain: Allen didn’t give up at any moment, he kept going on and on. That’s true dedication right there.
Allen encourages others to use his designs and improve on them. Maybe someone can take this to a whole new level with a little more tinkering.