It’s effectively been a year since Apple killed the headphone jack… and this year something big is on its way. No it isn’t the iPhone 8. It’s the iPhone 7 headphone hack! Yes, I say hack, because serial tinkerer, Scotty Allen literally hacked his iPhone 7 to fit in a functioning headphone jack! Here’s how…
Remember how initial teardowns of the iPhone 7 revealed that the area where the headphone jack would usually sit was not occupied by a speaker, but in fact lay empty because Apple executives said that the gap was a “barometric vent” that helped the iPhone’s altimeter work with precision? Well, Scotty decided to make a trade-off by filling that gap with a headphone jack. He first figured out how the circuitry would work, by connecting a headphone port component to the lightning port of the phone. While this worked in practice, it had one major flaw. The solution would mean the lightning port would stop charging the phone (because of a circuitry overlap). Scotty then decided to use Apple’s Lightning to Aux adapter and craft himself a circuit switcher out of a flexible PCB, and voila! After more than 15 weeks of constant fiddling with the iPhone’s electronics, he managed to make a solution that worked. Oh yes, he also had a neat little hole CNC machined into the side of the phone for the headphone jack to slide through. The end result would allow the jack to work perfectly, and the lightning port to charge the phone too… but not together. While that seems like a small caveat, it goes to show that Apple’s ways aren’t always the best for the consumers, and given the opportunity to fix or hack one’s electronics, there will always be someone who puts a consumer’s needs above the strategies of a technological super-company.
The process of putting a headphone jack onto the iPhone 7 is by no measure an easy one. The video shows how many times Scotty had to try (and fail) to get his solution to work. It involved a lot of broken hardware. However, he decided to publish all the necessary files on github. Although be warned… the price of innovation doesn’t come cheap (in other words, try this on a spare phone please). You can check out Scotty’s Strange Parts website to read about his endeavor.
Video Credits: Scotty Allen