MacBook owners frustrated by new audio jacks

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
A few owners of Apple's new unibody notebooks are experiencing backwards compatibility issues with the units' redesigned audio jacks, which offer a snug connection for the company's latest headphones with integrated microphones at the expense of a few legacy stereo headsets and speaker connectors.



Threads about the issue began turning up on Apple's Discussions support boards back in November, shortly after the new unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro began shipping. Customers of both models (1, 2) reported that when wearing non-Apple headphones, even the slightest bump or movement of the cord -- such as turning one's head to the side -- would result in a disconnection that caused audio to be rerouted back through the notebook's built-in speakers.



For those connecting external speakers to their MacBook, the mere act of setting a book down on the desk next to the computer would reportedly disrupt the connection. Upon closer inspection, it turns out that some 1/8th-inch miniplugs are left with a tad more wiggle room while in receptacle, namely those lacking a fourth conductor.



"When a jackplug is inserted into the socket there is a degree of play in the socket," wrote forum user movetolearn. "Fully pushed in...it works. Give a gentle pull, the plug moves back out maybe 0.5mm and, even though the plug stays in the socket, the sound comes out of the speakers."



As time went on and posters tested additional playback devices, they discovered longer plugs with four contacts and three separator rings would sit firmly and securely, while traditional stereo jacks with three contacts and only two separator rings resulted in a loose connection.



"One thing I notice is that my iPhone 3G headset works fine," wrote user Toronto-Ty. "What I am thinking is that since the plug has integrated stereo l/r and mic, there are 3 plastic bands around the metal plug, thus creating 4 metal sections. The fact that the headphone jack on the new MacBook is integrated mic as well, is what I feel the problem might be."







The same poster later reported a secure connection using Apple's in-ear headphones with mic. He also claims to have e-mailed Steve Jobs about the matter, only to receive a response from the company co-founder essentially telling him he was "wrong, literally."



Last year the company transitioned a number of its headphone jacks to quad-conductor jacks with microphone capabilities. Users who are experiencing the loose connection issue with third-party headphones on their new MacBooks may want to explore iFrogz $4 adapter solution suggested by one forum member.











For more on the differences between Apple's various audio and video cable connectors, see the article titled Using iPod & iPhone Video Out: Background and In-Depth Review.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    Call me retarded for defending this one but isn't this exactly what USB audio interfaces are for? The use of non proprietary audio equipment like headphones, monitors, etc? Just sayin.
  • Reply 2 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by h3ndrix View Post


    Call me retarded for defending this one but isn't this exactly what USB audio interfaces are for? The use of non proprietary audio equipment like headphones, monitors, etc? Just sayin.



    You're retarded. The standard 3.5mm headphone socket is loosing connection with standard 3.5mm headphones. There's clearly a problem here!
  • Reply 3 of 82
    Here come all the class action bozos...
  • Reply 4 of 82
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,601member
    what a bunch of fucking morons, just don't push it all the way in. If you push it in and you fee the 'click' stop pushing it.



    My iMac 2.1ghz G5 and iMac intel core duo and my current Alu iMac are exactly the same with some 3.5mm jacks.



    Get over it.
  • Reply 5 of 82
    This is quite sad for those affected, but those are clearly "crap" connectors despite the price of the headsets mentioned. Apple could have stopped it by actually testing the plug with other jacks though, which is a bit of a fail on their part.



    Sadly for almost everyone else, there will undoubtedly be a class-action lawsuit about this as it is more of a concrete problem than the other problems that have engendered class-action lawsuits in the past.



    Stay tuned for at least a year or so of articles, blogs and whining about this one.
  • Reply 6 of 82
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,960member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrochester View Post


    You're retarded. The standard 3.5mm headphone socket is loosing connection with standard 3.5mm headphones. There's clearly a problem here!



    Please don't indulge in attacks against an individual. You can say that his idea is retarded.



    Even if he was being literal.
  • Reply 7 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrochester View Post


    You're retarded. The standard 3.5mm headphone socket is loosing connection with standard 3.5mm headphones. There's clearly a problem here!



    If you're going to call someone retarded... use the proper words. it's "losing", not "loosing".
  • Reply 8 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by federmoose View Post


    If you're going to call someone retarded... use the proper words. it's "losing", not "loosing".



    In mrochester's defence, the OP asked to be called retarded. I don't think responding with "your retarded" is out of line at all in that situation.
  • Reply 9 of 82
    I encountered the same issue like everybody else in this forum, but found a cheap solution that resolved the problem.

    There is a small adapter called "Fitz iPhone headphone jack adapter" which is made by iFrogz. It works perfectly fine for the new Macbooks.

    check it out on: http://ifrogz.com/products/fitz/

    The price is $3.99 - not a lot of money to end your frustration.
  • Reply 10 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    In mrochester's defence, the OP asked to be called retarded. I don't think responding with "your retarded" is out of line at all in that situation.



    Exactly. Said in Jest perhaps? Jesus, you guys take yourselves way too seriously sometimes.
  • Reply 11 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post


    Here come all the class action bozos...



    Calling my lawyer now. Speed dial, no less!



    ...even though I don't own a uMB. Apple makes this too easy.
  • Reply 12 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hlanslots View Post


    I encountered the same issue like everybody else in this forum, but found a cheap solution that resolved the problem.

    There is a small adapter called "Fitz iPhone headphone jack adapter" which is made by iFrogz. It works perfectly fine for the new Macbooks.

    check it out on: http://ifrogz.com/products/fitz/

    The price is $3.99 - not a lot of money to end your frustration.



    The amount of adapters we mac users need to use 3rd party products is rather funny.



    \
  • Reply 13 of 82
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,960member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Boogerman2000 View Post


    Exactly. Said in Jest perhaps? Jesus, you guys take yourselves way too seriously sometimes.



    We should just stay away from it.
  • Reply 14 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hlanslots View Post


    I encountered the same issue like everybody else in this forum, but found a cheap solution that resolved the problem.

    There is a small adapter called "Fitz iPhone headphone jack adapter" which is made by iFrogz. It works perfectly fine for the new Macbooks.

    check it out on: http://ifrogz.com/products/fitz/

    The price is $3.99 - not a lot of money to end your frustration.



    And the fact that even one adapter that is not made by Apple works as well as the Apple plugs does, kind of puts the lie to the whole premise as well.



    The plug is "captured" by means of the knob at the end connecting to embedded leaf springs at the back of the socket. If the socket as designed captures some plugs but not others it kind of implies that the plugs are at fault, not the socket.



    Apple's plugs look pretty standard to me, and Apple has a history of exacting adherence to specs in things like this, so what are the odds that Apple's plugs are going to turn out to be exactly on the mark and that the plugs in question that don't work are actually just poorly made?



    High IMO.
  • Reply 15 of 82
    Huh. Bought my MBPro the first day it was available and have had no issues with the headphone jack whatsoever. I've plugged in everything from regular Apple earbuds to Philips noise canceling headphones to Bose desktop speakers with not one issue.



    I obviously believe most of the complaints, but anyone who would sue over this should be beaten in the face with a rubber hose. If a product doesn't work for you, return it. If the replacement still doesn't work, return it and don't do business with that company anymore.
  • Reply 16 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    And the fact that even one adapter that is not made by Apple works as well as the Apple plugs does, kind of puts the lie to the whole premise as well.



    The plug is "captured" by means of the knob at the end connecting to embedded leaf springs at the back of the socket. If the socket as designed captures some plugs but not others it kind of implies that the plugs are at fault, not the socket.



    Apple's plugs look pretty standard to me, and Apple has a history of exacting adherence to specs in things like this, so what are the odds that Apple's plugs are going to turn out to be exactly on the mark and that the plugs in question that don't work are actually just poorly made?



    High IMO.





    I believe you are forgetting the original iPhone or you didn't own one. In order to use any headphones (other than those that shipped with the iPhone) you had to buy an adapter.



    They got so much shit over it they changed it to a standard headphone plug in for the 3G model.
  • Reply 17 of 82
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,960member
    It's easy to understand what Apple is trying to do with these various adapters, as they been doing it for many years, but I wonder if it's such a good idea.



    Unless they offer these systems as standards, and they are accepted, it's just going to continue to cause confusion, and frustration to many people.



    They offered the Mini Displayport to the standards board, why don't they offer these as well?



    Then we might see other companies using them, and more plugs will be compatible.



    This isn't something that crucial to the company's survival that they keep it to themselves. They would benefit from everyone using it.
  • Reply 18 of 82
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Let me see:

    1.) No HDMI

    2.) NO FireWire

    3.) Bad audio jacks

    4.) Hi-gloss screens



    Apple hardware may start a new trend of switchers goin' the other way-to the dark side!
  • Reply 19 of 82
    So Apple has found yet another way to piss its customer off!

    I had started hating them quite a while ago for the degrading customer satisfaction hardware-wise. It's things like this that will keep the hate going.



    I still prefer Mac OS X as my primary OS. What to do, what to do...
  • Reply 20 of 82
    I thought Microsoft was only allowed to make things non backwards compatible? LOL



    Apple is following in the footsteps.... haha
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