Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is it okay to connect non-Apple headphones to an iPhone (a 5s, in this case) or do I need to use apple branded or authorized headphones for some reason?

share|improve this question

6 Answers 6

up vote 27 down vote accepted

Here is the visual comparison of the plugs.

headset plug

As you can see any headset will work BUT !!

In case of non apple (or if it does not have the plug type as shown) you will be missing the Microphone function.

The standard 3.5mm headphones use the configuration of TRS- Tip, Ring, Sleeve. The pinout for these connections is: Left Audio, Right Audio, Ground.

Connection types for headphones with a mic (and newer ones with volume control) are configured in TRRS- Tip, Ring, Ring, Sleeve. On TRRS there are 2 types:

  1. The original TRRS configuration was created by Nokia and has a pinout of Left Audio, Right Audio, Mic, Ground. (OMTP standard)
  2. American Headset Jack (AHJ) pinout to Left Audio, Right Audio, Ground, Mic.

TRRS layout

Plugging an OMTP headset into an AHJ jack, and vice versa, will result in the audio-out being inaudible or very quiet. Converters to switch between the two types of headsets are readily available, but do add extra bulk, and may not work reliably with remote control functionality. Furthermore, Apple uses a AHJ connector arrangement, but uses a non-standard microphone and control signalling method.

share|improve this answer

Any headphone with a 3.5mm jack will work.

But be mindful about the remote controls. If it doesn't specifically says compatible with iPhone/iPod, it may not work with your iPhone.

As long as you just care about listening to sound on the headphones, as long as the tip is undamaged and standard, you won't harm the iPhone using any headphones.

share|improve this answer
Why should we be careful? –  CousinCocaine Jun 24 '14 at 11:45
I you want to use the microphone or the remote controls you might get some frustration if it's not compatible :) –  Matthieu Riegler Jun 24 '14 at 11:51
perhaps "be mindful" is a better term –  stuffe Jun 25 '14 at 15:21

Any headphones with a 3.5mm headphone jack will work fine with the iPhone, not just Apple products.

share|improve this answer

Sennheiser makes great headphones for iPhone with working mic/remote. I have the version for Android phones and everything works fine and sounds great. Just make sure you check the package for the "made for iPhone" label.

share|improve this answer

And note that some headsets have plugs with 4 metal bands, but the order is different, these won't work (older Nokia, for instance):

Instead of "mic, ground, right, left" they will have "ground, mic, right, left"

share|improve this answer

I misplaced my iPhone headphones but had my old Blackberry Bold headphones (with the remote attached). These worked perfectly on my iPhone 5.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.