Apple working on fix for iPhone 7 Lightning EarPods remote control issue

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2016
Apple on Monday acknowledged consumer complaints that a glitch in the gratis iPhone 7 Lightning EarPods causes the attached multifunction remote control to intermittently stop functioning, saying a fix is in the works.




According to numerous social media reports, the new Lightning EarPods found in every iPhone 7 box suffer from a glitch that renders the multifunction remote control module useless. The issue appears to be sporadic, but its reproducible nature suggests a flaw is present in Apple's software.

In most cases, users claim the EarPods' volume and call answer/end buttons become unresponsive after a few minutes of inactivity. Audio continues to play, and the microphone remains active, but users are unable to adjust volume settings, start or stop calls, or invoke Siri with the embedded remote.

A fix is in development and should roll out in the near future as a software update, an Apple representative confirmed to Business Insider.

The initial troubles are unfortunate for Apple, which bet big on the future -- or lack thereof -- of the 3.5mm headphone jack by removing the component from its flagship iPhone 7 smartphone. Unveiling the phone onstage at a special event earlier this month, SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said it took "courage" to move away from the legacy port.

With iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple ships a pair of EarPods terminated in a Lightning plug and, to allay perceived upgrade pains, a Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone jack adapter.

Amidst an outcry from consumers, Apple defended its decision, saying the headphone jack's deletion made space for an advanced Taptic Engine, bigger battery and better cameras. In addition, by removing the 3.5mm port, Apple was able to rid iPhone of a key point of liquid ingress, allowing engineers to design a water resistance chassis.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Oh, poor Apple! I like the jack's removal, but I do think they should've created a market for L before standardising on it. In any case, I'm sure they'll fix it all. 
    watto_cobrafreshmaker
  • Reply 2 of 21
    Scientific progress goes boink. 
    hopestillfliesanome
  • Reply 3 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,492member
    brakken said:
    Oh, poor Apple! I like the jack's removal, but I do think they should've created a market for L before standardising on it. In any case, I'm sure they'll fix it all. 
    They sold 900 million Lightning-connected devices and there are a plethora of Lightning headphones have been available for years now.
    roundaboutnowlkruppfastasleeplolliverredgeminipastanthemannolamacguyjony0
  • Reply 4 of 21
    I experienced this and it's a joke that Apple didn't catch this in QA testing, given the impact of removing the 3.5mm jack.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,369member
    Here's the first teardown of the Lightning audio connectors:


    Looks like a stereo dac, stereo amp and a mono-adc in that chip. The IC on the reverse side is likely the standard one that all lightning cables have. Unknown manufacturer and specs. I wonder if it's another custom chip like the W1?

    Hard to believe some people here were actually suggesting that this would be an analogue passthrough from the iPhone 7 internal DAC.

    edited September 2016 squuiidjasenj1
  • Reply 6 of 21
    It will be fixed. World not coming to an end.
    watto_cobranolamacguy
  • Reply 7 of 21
    dsddsd Posts: 179member
    Open the EarPod bay doors, Siri.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    mac_128 said:
    Here's the first teardown of the Lightning audio connectors:


    Looks like a stereo dac, stereo amp and a mono-adc in that chip. The IC on the reverse side is likely the standard one that all lightning cables have. Unknown manufacturer and specs. I wonder if it's another custom chip like the W1?

    Hard to believe some people here were actually suggesting that this would be an analogue passthrough from the iPhone 7 internal DAC.

    I believe there is no longer a DAC in the iPhone 7, there is no use for it now with the headphone SOCKET (Not not a jack) being removed
  • Reply 9 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,369member
    smiffy31 said:
    mac_128 said:
    Here's the first teardown of the Lightning audio connectors:


    Looks like a stereo dac, stereo amp and a mono-adc in that chip. The IC on the reverse side is likely the standard one that all lightning cables have. Unknown manufacturer and specs. I wonder if it's another custom chip like the W1?

    Hard to believe some people here were actually suggesting that this would be an analogue passthrough from the iPhone 7 internal DAC.

    I believe there is no longer a DAC in the iPhone 7, there is no use for it now with the headphone SOCKET (Not not a jack) being removed
    Not only does the iPhone 7 have a DAC, but it's the same quality DAC that's in the 6s. At a minimum the 7 needs a DAC for the built in speakers. But the tear downs have shown that the 7 also has 3 audio amps.

    https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown

    But Lightning has always been a digital connector. And while Lightning is capable of outputting analogue audio, due to its dynamically assignable pin ability, Apple has never allowed, or utilized it for use in this way. Since the MFi specs haven't changed in this regard, it was an unlikely prospect.
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 10 of 21
    This problem also happens with the dongle and my Bose headphones.
  • Reply 11 of 21
    mac_128 said:
    Here's the first teardown of the Lightning audio connectors:


    Looks like a stereo dac, stereo amp and a mono-adc in that chip. The IC on the reverse side is likely the standard one that all lightning cables have. Unknown manufacturer and specs. I wonder if it's another custom chip like the W1?

    Hard to believe some people here were actually suggesting that this would be an analogue passthrough from the iPhone 7 internal DAC.

    Interesting. That raises questions about the quality of that DAC and the power capability of the amp. I suspect some audiophile nerds will put it through its paces.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,492member
    mac_128 said:
    smiffy31 said:
    mac_128 said:
    Here's the first teardown of the Lightning audio connectors:


    Looks like a stereo dac, stereo amp and a mono-adc in that chip. The IC on the reverse side is likely the standard one that all lightning cables have. Unknown manufacturer and specs. I wonder if it's another custom chip like the W1?

    Hard to believe some people here were actually suggesting that this would be an analogue passthrough from the iPhone 7 internal DAC.

    I believe there is no longer a DAC in the iPhone 7, there is no use for it now with the headphone SOCKET (Not not a jack) being removed
    Not only does the iPhone 7 have a DAC, but it's the same quality DAC that's in the 6s. At a minimum the 7 needs a DAC for the built in speakers. But the tear downs have shown that the 7 also has 3 audio amps.

    https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown

    But Lightning has always been a digital connector. And while Lightning is capable of outputting analogue audio, due to its dynamically assignable pin ability, Apple has never allowed, or utilized it for use in this way. Since the MFi specs haven't changed in this regard, it was an unlikely prospect.
    1) I coud have sworn that you told me it was impossible for the DAC and AMP to still remain on the iPhone after the move to Lightning headphones.

    2) iFixit had the iPhone 7 x-rayed but they didn't have the damn adapter x-rayed. I feel that was shortsighted on their part.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    This may be blessing in disguise:
    Mainstream media has been reporting the mantra that "Apple got rid of the headphone jack because they want you to buy their $159 wireless earbuds".

    Thus:  They imply that the only way to listen to music on an IPhone 7 is to buy their Bluetooth earbuds.  And, it's like they're oblivious to the fact that Apple both supplies earbuds with 7, but an adapter for older earphones.  

    Maybe this will wake those idiots up!
    nolamacguy
  • Reply 14 of 21
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,495member
    This may be blessing in disguise:
    Mainstream media has been reporting the mantra that "Apple got rid of the headphone jack because they want you to buy their $159 wireless earbuds".

    Thus:  They imply that the only way to listen to music on an IPhone 7 is to buy their Bluetooth earbuds.  And, it's like they're oblivious to the fact that Apple both supplies earbuds with 7, but an adapter for older earphones.  

    Maybe this will wake those idiots up!
    You're hired: Minister of Optimism.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,369member
    jasenj1 said:
    mac_128 said:
    Here's the first teardown of the Lightning audio connectors:


    Looks like a stereo dac, stereo amp and a mono-adc in that chip. The IC on the reverse side is likely the standard one that all lightning cables have. Unknown manufacturer and specs. I wonder if it's another custom chip like the W1?

    Hard to believe some people here were actually suggesting that this would be an analogue passthrough from the iPhone 7 internal DAC.

    Interesting. That raises questions about the quality of that DAC and the power capability of the amp. I suspect some audiophile nerds will put it through its paces.

    http://www.heise.de/ct/artikel/iPhone-7-nachgemessen-Audio-Adapter-liefert-schlechteren-Sound-3325932.html



    http://www.head-fi.org/t/627111/what-is-the-sound-quality-of-iphone-ipad-ipod-touch/285#post_12872457


    jasenj1
  • Reply 16 of 21
    Wow. I've had this issue with my iPhone 6s ever since iOS 9 came out. I've called Apple support, it went up to senior tech engineer or whatever, no resolution. Went to Apple Store, ran a bunch of tests and confirmed but just swapped out the phone. Nothing wrong with the headphones. Still happened. Updated to iOS 10, still have the issues sporadically. Controls just stop working. It's weird. Unplugging and plugging back in fixes it but it shouldn't happen in the first place. 
  • Reply 17 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,492member
    xmhillx said:
    Wow. I've had this issue with my iPhone 6s ever since iOS 9 came out. I've called Apple support, it went up to senior tech engineer or whatever, no resolution. Went to Apple Store, ran a bunch of tests and confirmed but just swapped out the phone. Nothing wrong with the headphones. Still happened. Updated to iOS 10, still have the issues sporadically. Controls just stop working. It's weird. Unplugging and plugging back in fixes it but it shouldn't happen in the first place. 
    You had this issue with EarPods that use the analog headphone jack?
  • Reply 18 of 21
    Since upgrading to iOS 10, I've found the hardware volume control on my 6 to not work during phone calls. The icon shows the volume going up and down, but the volume doesn't change. 
  • Reply 19 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,369member
    tokyojimu said:
    Since upgrading to iOS 10, I've found the hardware volume control on my 6 to not work during phone calls. The icon shows the volume going up and down, but the volume doesn't change. 
    Yes I discoverd the hard way with a not safe for work video sent me, that my phone no longer mutes video playback with the mute switch flipped, and the physical buttons don't control global volume. I actually had to click into the video within the facebook page to change the volume.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    Soli said:
    xmhillx said:
    Wow. I've had this issue with my iPhone 6s ever since iOS 9 came out. I've called Apple support, it went up to senior tech engineer or whatever, no resolution. Went to Apple Store, ran a bunch of tests and confirmed but just swapped out the phone. Nothing wrong with the headphones. Still happened. Updated to iOS 10, still have the issues sporadically. Controls just stop working. It's weird. Unplugging and plugging back in fixes it but it shouldn't happen in the first place. 
    You had this issue with EarPods that use the analog headphone jack?
    Yup. Similar issue with the included airpods in the iPhone 6s box I bought new. Reproduced the issue with another set of older airpods. So it indicates the airpods aren't the problem. The Apple Store swapped out my iPhone 6s and I still had the problem. iOS 10 came out and I still have the problem. The Genius Bar thought it could be a corrupted iOS and that even backing up and restoring onto a new device would copy the corrupted OS. But they wiped my original phone, put a troubleshooting OS on it in DFU mode or whatever, and put my basic iCloud info without all my other files/apps/etc. And I still experience the issue listening to podcasts and music and taking calls. There were a few other problems too, for example trying to pause a podcast, with one quick press obviously, activates Siri. It's supposed to be a long press. Then the in-line mic controls won't respond at all after invoking Siri. So it's a much bigger issue in my case, but includes mic controls not responding.

    It's fucking nuts. But a relief somewhat to hear other ppl having similar issues. The senior engineer over the phone at Apple had told me they had no other similar issues on record. I just live with the issue and I got a new phone after 7 months so at least there's that. 
    edited September 2016
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