Best Lightning and USB-C wired headphones for iPhone and iPad

A collective groan echoed throughout the Internet some years in the past while Apple introduced that it became losing the conventional 3.5mm headphone socket from the iPhone 7. Then, in 2020, Apple additionally determined to prevent consisting of a hard and fast of EarPods withinside the field with new iPhones leaving iPhone customers to discover their personal headphones.

A equal assignment applies to proprietors of the iPad – not one of the present day variety of iPad fashions has a headphone socket. Only the usual 10.2in iPad capabilities a Lightning port, the alternative iPads all provide USB-C as a method to attach accessories.

It’s obvious, then, that Apple desires us all to exit and purchase a hard and fast of AirPods, which use Bluetooth to offer wi-fi audio. However, there are nonetheless instances while it’s most advantageous to apply a great old skool set of stressed headphones. Apart from some thing else, you don’t need to fear approximately the battery strolling flat, and there are numerous individuals who nonetheless pick the sound best supplied through stressed headphones too. Throw withinside the fashionistas who appear to assume that stressed headphones are charmingly retro, and stressed headphones do appear to be having a piece of a second proper now.

There are some producers that make headphones with a Lightning connector, which can be in particular designed to be used with the iPhone. However, maximum of the trendy iPad fashions – other than the entry-stage ninth gen iPad – have now switched from Lightning to USB-C connectors. Perhaps the iPhone will comply with this equal trend.

Fortunately, there are new headphones now to be had which have a USB-C connector for stressed audio, so that you can pick out a hard and fast of headphones that has both Lightning or USB-C, relying on which iPhone or iPad you personal.

Headphones which have USB-C must paintings with Macs which have USB-C too – even though maximum Macs do nonetheless have a preferred 3.5mm headphone socket in an effort to paintings with traditional headphones. One aspect to recollect is that many headphones use a USB-C connector for charging – however might not will let you play audio through a USB-C cable, so take a look at on that earlier than shopping for any new headphones.

There’s yet another alternative as nicely. You can nonetheless use conventional headphones which have a preferred 3.5mm audio connector with an iPhone or iPad – even though you’ll want a appropriate adaptor or cable that has a 3.5mm connector for the headphones and a Lightning or USB-C connector on your Apple gadgets. Apple sells 3.5mm headphone jack adaptors with each Lightning connectors for $nine/£nine and USB-C for $nine/£nine.

Other businesses promote adaptors too – maximum considerably Belkin, with its Rockstar or Connect Lightning to 3.5mm adaptors ($39.ninety nine at Amazon US or £29 at Amazon UK), which offer more than one ports and connectors so you can price your iPhone or iPad and concentrate to track on the equal time. We study even greater adapter alternatives here: Best Lightning headphone adapters for iPhone.

Best Lightning and USB-C headphones

1. Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT

Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT


Includes USB-C-to-3.5m, USB-C and USB-A cables

Great sound best

30 hour battery lifestyles


Not extraordinary as Bluetooth headphones

Wireless mode does not help AAC

Austrian Audio is a famous call in Hi-Fi circles, making high-stop headphones and microphones for musicians and audiophiles. However, it additionally makes a few greater cheap headphones, including the Hi-X25BT, which gives superb sound best for a totally cheap $179/£135.

As the call suggests, the Hi-X25BT does consist of Bluetooth to offer a wi-fi alternative while required, with an excellent 30 hours of battery lifestyles in Bluetooth mode. It’s now no longer at its fine with Bluetooth, though, because it doesn’t help both Apple’s AAC or AptX for Android, counting on the greater fundamental SBC codec for wi-fi audio.

The emphasis, therefore, is greater on the use of the Hi-X25BT as a hard and fast of stressed headphones through its USB-C connector. Austrian consists of  cables with the headphones, with a USB-C-to-3.5mm connector that offers preferred analogue audio, or a trustworthy USB-C cable that offers virtual audio from an iPad, Mac or different gadgets which have USB-C. There’s additionally a USB-A adaptor blanketed too, and I had no hassle the use of the Hi-X25BT with each USB-A and 3.5mm connections on my growing old workplace iMac. I additionally located a Lightning audio adaptor from Belkin in my table draw, which allowed me to apply the Hi-X25BT with a Lightning connection on my iPhone as nicely – even though, of course, this isn’t blanketed with the headphones, so that you’d want to offer your personal adaptor for an iPhone.

And, as you’d assume from a employer with Austrian’s Hi-Fi background, the sound best is extraordinary, way to 40mm drivers with superb 12Hz – 24KHz frequency response. The cymbal crash that begins offevolved Blondie’s Rapture earrings out crisp and clear, with a free comfortable sense at the jangling rhythm guitar. The song’s bouncing bass line works a deal with too, and by no means receives misplaced withinside the blend as can on occasion show up with much less particular headphones.

2. Belkin SoundForm

Belkin SoundForm


Features a Lightning port

Tangle-loose cable

Great sound for low price


No bring case

Sound best is depending on appropriate in shape

Best Prices Today: $41.30 at Amazon

Lightning headphones are generally quite high priced, for the reason that producers need to make a unique model in their preferred headphones that makes use of the Apple-handiest connector only for iPhone proprietors. However, Belkin amazed us through freeing its  SoundForm Headphones With Lightning Connector, priced at simply $39.ninety nine/£29.ninety nine.

Despite their low price, the SoundForm headphones – which was referred to as Rockstar, however were rebranded – are sturdily built, with a chunky, flat cable that reduces tangles whilst you shove them into your pocket.

The inline controls are pretty fundamental – only a little microphone for voice calls, more than one buttons for extent adjustment, and a Play/Pause button that controls track and call calls. And, at this price, there’s now no longer plenty withinside the manner of introduced extras both – there’s no wearing case, and simply 3 sizes of silicon ear-guidelines, even though that must be sufficient to offer a great, snug in shape for maximum people.

Belkin additionally says the headphones are water-resistant – even though it doesn’t quote an IP rating – in order that they must be a great, cheap alternative for running across the park or operating out on the gym.

Sound best is a pleasing marvel too, given the low price. The SoundForm brought the multi-layered bombast of Bohemian Rhapsody with readability and detail. Smaller, much less high priced earbuds including those regularly be afflicted by vulnerable bass, however the SoundForm additionally controlled to dig right all the way down to the deep, sinister digital bass on Prime Evil through The Orb.

Our handiest challenge is that the sound best could be very depending on getting a great, corporation in shape interior your ears, however so long as the ear-guidelines supplied through Belkin suit your needs nicely then the SoundForm is the fine set of budget-priced Lightning headphones we’ve visible so far. Belkin additionally makes a few available and cheap Lightning adaptors, which will let you use current 3.5mm headphones with a current iPhone, or maybe join an iPhone to a automobile track system.

3. Zorloo Zophia

Zorloo Zophia


Bluetooth and stressed modes

USB-C cable, with optionally available Lightning adaptor

Includes super DAC


No noise-cancellation

Modest battery lifestyles

Best Prices Today: $169 at Zorloo

The new Zophia earbuds from Zorloo certainly stand out in a crowded market, genuinely through distinctive feature of offering each Bluetooth wi-fi and a greater conventional stressed mode.

If you want the benefit of Bluetooth then the Zophia helps Apple’s AAC codec, along side AptX for Android gadgets. Battery lifestyles is tremendously modest at simply 5 hours, however the USB-C charging case helps you to pinnacle the earbuds up for a complete of 25 hours listening time. But, while the battery is flat, otherwise you need to concentrate on your favored track with the fine viable sound best, you could genuinely plug withinside the proprietary audio cable supplied through Zorloo and the Zophia will robotically flip off Bluetooth and transfer into stressed mode.

The audio cable has a USB-C interface in an effort to paintings with Macs and iPads which have USB-C, however you could additionally purchase the Zophia with a Lightning adaptor as nicely. The cable additionally works as a DAC – virtual-to-analogue converter – that bypasses the rather ropey analogue audio that you could get from many Apple gadgets a good way to decorate the sound best even further. The preferred USB-C model of the Zophia costs $169/£139, or $179/£147 with the Lightning adaptor. And, for actual hi-fi buffs, there’s a model that costs $209/£a hundred and seventy with the Lightning adaptor and extra help for the ‘studio best’ MQA audio layout utilized by a few high-stop audio gadgets, and streaming offerings including Tidal.

The Zophia works flawlessly nicely in Bluetooth mode, even though there are inexpensive Bluetooth headphones which can in shape its sound best the use of Bluetooth alone. But it’s the stressed alternative this is the Zophia’s actual promoting point – and switching the Zophia into stressed mode the use of the Lightning adaptor on my iPhone makes a right away development to the sound best. Kate Bush is everywhere in the Internet on the second, way to Running Up That Hill being utilized in Stranger Things on Netflix, however my favored music at the Hounds Of Love album has continually been The Big Sky, and in particular the thunderous 12-inch ‘Meteorological Mix’. The Zophia certainly involves lifestyles with the Lightning adaptor’s stressed connection, without delay showing a brighter, greater colourful sound. It captures the deep, snappy sound of the slap-bass, and the rumbling avalanche of drums and percussion, however nonetheless manages to choose out lighter info including the shimmering cymbals and, of course, Kate’s personal hovering vocals because the very last refrain goes “strolling out at the massive, massive sky…”

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