The introduction of the iPhone 7 had mixed reviews – Apple fans loved the updated design of the iPhone 7 range, especially the new Jet Black finish and, of course, the dual-camera setup of the iPhone 7 Plus. However, not everything was welcomed with open arms – Apple decided to drop the infamous 3.5mm headphone jack and replace it with a dual-speaker system. While Apple justified its move by supplying a 3.5mm to Lightning adapter with every iPhone 7 as well as providing Lightning-enabled EarPods, it left potential users with one question: “How can I charge my iPhone 7 and listen to music at the same time?”
This tutorial also applies to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X.
While Apple suggests using its new iPhone charging dock to listen to music and charge your iPhone at the same time, it isn’t a great option – especially if you want to use your phone while charging. It’s not the end of the world though, as we at Macworld UK have done our research and present you with three different ways to get around Apple’s Lightning port issue.
How to charge iPhone 7 and listen to music: Use wireless headphones
While the first option is fairly obvious, it’s still worth mentioning. The best way to listen to music and charge your iPhone at the same time? Use wireless headphones. As most wireless headphones rely on Bluetooth technology, it frees the Lightning port up to be used by a charger without any worry about sharing the port. Sure, this means that you’ll probably have to make sure your headphones are charged up when you want to use them, but decent modern Bluetooth-enabled headphones can last up to 20hrs per charge.
Of course, Bluetooth headphones come in a range of shapes, sizes and most importantly, prices. You can pick up fairly decent sounding Bluetooth headphones for cheaper than you may realise – take the Jabra Move Wireless on-ear headphones for example. At only ~£60 at the time of writing, Jabra’s headphones offer decent audio quality, battery life and comfort for those that want it. Of course, those wanting something a little fancier can opt for something like the £289 Bose QC35s with active noise cancellation, or Apple’s brand new £159 AirPods that are coming in October.
If you’re in the market for a pair of wireless headphones/earphones but have no idea where to start, take a look at our selection of the best wireless headphones on the market at the moment.
Read next: Best iPhone games
How to charge iPhone 7 and listen to music: Make your wired headphones wireless
Of course Apple offers users a 3.5mm to lightning adapter in the iPhone 7 box, but that won’t help users when wanting to charge and listen to music at the same time. While the obvious answer is to invest in wireless headphones, this isn’t always a viable option. Whether it’s because you’ve got an expensive pair of wired headphones or that you don’t want to pay over the odds for wireless headphones, case and accessory maker Griffin has released an accessory that might solve the problem.
While it’s still a paid option, it’s considerably less than buying wireless headphones, and boasts the ability to enable Bluetooth functionality on any pair of wired earphones or headphones. This comes in the form of the Griffin iTrip Clip Bluetooth Headphone Adapter, a £20 accessory that allows you to plug in your wired headphones and utilise its built-in Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity to wirelessly connect to your iPhone. It also features media controls for headphones without them, and also a built-in mic for use with Siri and phone calls.
Read next: How to use Apple Music in the UK
How to charge iPhone 7 and listen to music: Lightning splitter
Just like the headphone splitter used by many to share the fabled 3.5mm headphone jack, Belkin’s Lightning splitter, or “Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar” as its officially called, offers users the ability to plug two Lightning cables into a single Lightning port.
While the adapter will set you back a rather costly £34.99, the cable allows you to listen to your favourite tunes and charge your iPhone up at the same time without any effect on charging time, apparently. Belkin claims that the 12W pass-through charging will power the iPhone 7 at maximum speed, despite sharing the port with your headphones. It shouldn’t affect audio quality either, as the accessory maker claims that its adapter supports “the full ecosystem of Lightning Audio Headphones and supports up to 24-bit 48kHz lossless output”.