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Somewhere in China, there’s a man listening to wired headphones on his iPhone 7 without using any adapters. Yes, the miracle every iPhone owner has fantasized about since Apple found the courage to remove the headphone jack is now a possibility.
Scotty Allen, our DIY friend who created an iPhone out of scrap, found a way to put a working 3.5mm headphone jack into the body of an iPhone 7 without compromising its lightning port. You can see how he pulled it off in the video below.
A lot of people were disappointed when Apple announced the iPhone 7 wouldn’t come with a headphone input. After its unveiling, trolls filled YouTube with fake DIY tutorials on how to add one to an iPhone by simply drilling a hole into the bottom. As you can imagine, this destroyed many expensive devices. But those who took the time to film that lame joke may have been on to something.
Like those modders, Allen drilled a hole right into the bottom of a used iPhone 7 he picked up in Shenzhen, China. To his surprise, there wasn’t much inside. It appears Apple replaced the headphone jack with a small piece of plastic. Once Allen removed the plastic, which is supposedly a “barometric vent” (whatever that is), he was clear to drill right on through. Then all he needed to do was push the battery up a bit and fiddle with the Taptic Engine to get the space he needed for a 3.5mm input.
Then there was the question of how he’d link the active lightning port with his new headphone hole. But wait, Apple already has a solution for that: dongles. The rest of Allen’s work involved a bunch of complicated rewiring, soldering, and printing a custom circuit board—all of which take this far out of the realm of a casual weekend DIY project. In fact, it took Allen four months and close to $1,000 worth of broken iPhones, headphone adapters, and other little pieces to make this unicorn device.
Apple is set to announce the hotly anticipated iPhone 8 next week, and Allen has one simple request: “If any Apple engineers email me, I’ll send them a board,” he said. “I would like to see a new iPhone with a headphone jack from Apple.” Allen answered whether this mod will work on the iPhone 8 if it doesn’t have a 3.5mm input. “I don’t know—I haven’t seen one yet!” he said. “But I’d like to take a closer look at that once they’re available.”
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.