In the not-too-distant past, you used to be able to buy a smartphone knowing that any pair of headphones you bought would work with it. From the most questionable $10 earbuds to the best Bluetooth headphones, there was no mystery involved. They would just work.
That’s not the case anymore, thanks to the unjust, but slow death of the traditional headphone jack. Smartphone makers have been eager to ditch the tried-and-true audio output mechanism for the past few years, with Samsung finally caving with the Galaxy Note 10.
Yes, you read that right: Even Samsung is dropping those 3.5 millimeters of Heaven from its next big phone. If you don’t want to go over to the Bluetooth side of things or use a dreaded dongle, you need to know which currently supported phones from Apple, Samsung, and Google still come with headphone jacks.
That’s where we come in. Here are the phones from those three companies that run the latest software and still have headphone jacks.
If you’re an iPhone owner who uses wired headphones, you basically have two options. You might not like either of them.
Your first option is to use an old iPhone. Apple removed headphone jacks from iPhones starting with 2016’s iPhone 7. That is, unfortunately, the oldest model Apple still sells on its website. However, you can still get a slightly older iPhone elsewhere, install the latest iOS firmware, and still enjoy your wired headphones from there. Easy.
The good news is the current iteration of iOS is compatible with the iPhone 5s and beyond. That means you can go back a decent ways in the iPhone’s evolution and still stay current with software, all while using a headphone jack.
The bad news is iOS 13 is coming out later this year, and it cuts off support for everything before the iPhone 6s. Once iOS 13 is out, the 6s, 6s Plus, and SE will be the only iOS 13-compatible iPhones with headphone jacks. There’s no guarantee they’ll remain compatible with iOS once the 2020 iteration comes out.
Your second option is, unfortunately, to just get AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones. This might be a battle you can’t win.
To review, the iPhones with headphone jacks and software compatibility right now are:
- iPhone 5s (until iOS 13 comes out)
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (until iOS 13 comes out)
- iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
Google’s Pixel smartphone line is interesting in this regard because the presence of a headphone jack was actually a selling point for the first Pixel back in 2016. It was going up against the newly jack-less iPhone 7 and might have looked more appealing to some by comparison.
And then Google immediately removed the jack from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 models. So much for having principles, Google.
The fact that there haven’t been very many Google Pixel phones makes this an easy list to curate. These are the Google Pixel phones with headphone jacks:
- Google Pixel and Pixel XL
- Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL
The Pixel 3a only came out recently and we gave it high marks, so it might be one of the better phones out there that still has a headphone jack.
Samsung might be the easiest of these lists to put together. The Galaxy phone maker has been one of the few major holdouts in terms of still including headphone jacks on most of its smartphones. It was a point of pride for loyal Samsung customers, until we found out this week that the upcoming Galaxy Note 10 won’t have a headphone jack.
That makes the Galaxy Note 10 the first big Samsung phone to launch without a headphone jack, at least in the United States. A handful of other Samsung devices have come without 3.5mm jacks in recent years, as compiled in a helpful list by SamMobile. Still, none of them are as big as the Note 10.
It’s worth noting that the Galaxy Fold also lacks a headphone jack. This will only be a problem if that phone ever actually comes out.
To summarize, wired headphone users are pretty safe to buy Samsung smartphones, provided they aren’t the brand new Galaxy Note 10 or Galaxy Fold.