Use your Lightning headphones on your Mac or iPad Pro with Anker's new USB-C adapter

Posted:
in iPhone
Accessory maker Anker has launched a USB-C to Lightning audio adapter, allowing iPhone and iPad owners to use their Lightning headphones with any USB-C device.

Anker USB-C to Lightning Audio Adapter


The adapter is MFi-certified by Apple, and can connect Lightning headphones to hardware such as Macs, iPad Pros, and Windows 10 PCs, Anker says. This should include full mic and remote support. The company does caution that Macs may require a one-time setup in which the adapter is selected for output and input.

Anker is further promising 24-bit, 48-kilohertz lossless audio for compatible files and headphones. Digital fidelity is one of the main selling points of Lightning.

Lightning headphones are relatively rare though, since the industry -- Apple included -- has increasingly shifted toward Bluetooth, and sets with 3.5mm or USB cables have wider uses.

Lightning is featured on Apple's EarPods and urBeats3. Some third-party brands making products include Sennheiser, Audeze, Pioneer, and Radius.

The Anker USB-C to Lightning Audio Adapter costs $29.99.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,435member
    Finally! This should have been available when Apple first removed the headphone jack. How many years has it been that Apple customers couldn’t use the same pair of Lightning headphones on their iPhone, iPad and MacBook? Even though Apple removed the headphone jack, calling it old technology, and touting the superiority of Lightning, most customers had to resort to using the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle and an old pair of 3.5mm headphones, if they wanted to carry only one set of headphones and be able to connect to both their iPhone and MacBook, let alone any other common audio device.

    Now if someone would come up with a Lightning headphones to 3.5mm dongle, the transition to Lightning connectors as a replacement for the old headphone jack would be complete.
    edited May 15
  • Reply 2 of 21
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,373member
    mac_128 said:
    Finally! This should have been available when Apple first removed the headphone jack. How many years has it been that Apple customers couldn’t use the same pair of Lightning headphones on their iPhone, iPad and MacBook? Even though Apple removed the headphone jack, calling it old technology, and touting the superiority of Lightning, most customers had to resort to using the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle and an old pair of 3.5mm headphones, if they wanted to carry only one set of headphones and be able to connect to both their iPhone and MacBook, let alone any other common audio device.

    Now if someone would come up with a Lightning headphones to 3.5mm dongle, the transition to Lightning connectors as a replacement for the old headphone jack would be complete.
    It would be really nice but it won't happen. The lightning connector is an active device that needs power; you can get that from the lightning jack, of course, or a USB C port, but not from a 3.5mm audio jack.

    Totally agree with your comments regarding the connectors, though. The Anker dongle costs $30 - so that's an extra $30 to get the same functionality we used to have for free with the 3.5mm jack. My daughter told me a few weeks ago that she doesn't want an iPhone for her next phone because it's too much of a pain dealing with the dongle for the headphones. She also complained that she can't use the same headphones with her laptop and iPhone unless she has the dongle with and has resorted to tying the dongle to a set of 3.5mm headphones. Despite Tim Cook's proclamations, 3+ years on the 'obsolete' headphone jack is still the standard and from from obsolete.
    edited May 15
  • Reply 3 of 21
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 118member
    Still a very niche need. Just get AirPods.
    edited May 15 escapeplissken
  • Reply 4 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,131member
    Apple getting rid of the standard 1/8” audio port on some products has really made a mess of things.
    chemengin
  • Reply 5 of 21
    techsavytechsavy Posts: 34member
    Like apple has shown before. They are fully prepared to remove accessibility from their products so that you the customers are forced to purchase exclusively from Apple.
    chemengin
  • Reply 6 of 21
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,625member
    mac_128 said:
    Finally! This should have been available when Apple first removed the headphone jack. How many years has it been that Apple customers couldn’t use the same pair of Lightning headphones on their iPhone, iPad and MacBook? Even though Apple removed the headphone jack, calling it old technology, and touting the superiority of Lightning, most customers had to resort to using the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle and an old pair of 3.5mm headphones, if they wanted to carry only one set of headphones and be able to connect to both their iPhone and MacBook, let alone any other common audio device.
    Yes but how many people are you claiming needed to do this? I’d say most people didn’t give a crap and used the freebies that came in the (iphone) box for use with their iphone, and then used the supplied, free adapter to listen on their macbooks if they needed to and didn’t already use BT. 
  • Reply 7 of 21
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,625member

    MplsP said:
    mac_128 said:
    Finally! This should have been available when Apple first removed the headphone jack. How many years has it been that Apple customers couldn’t use the same pair of Lightning headphones on their iPhone, iPad and MacBook? Even though Apple removed the headphone jack, calling it old technology, and touting the superiority of Lightning, most customers had to resort to using the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle and an old pair of 3.5mm headphones, if they wanted to carry only one set of headphones and be able to connect to both their iPhone and MacBook, let alone any other common audio device.

    Now if someone would come up with a Lightning headphones to 3.5mm dongle, the transition to Lightning connectors as a replacement for the old headphone jack would be complete.
    It would be really nice but it won't happen. The lightning connector is an active device that needs power; you can get that from the lightning jack, of course, or a USB C port, but not from a 3.5mm audio jack.

    Totally agree with your comments regarding the connectors, though. The Anker dongle costs $30 - so that's an extra $30 to get the same functionality we used to have for free with the 3.5mm jack. My daughter told me a few weeks ago that she doesn't want an iPhone for her next phone because it's too much of a pain dealing with the dongle for the headphones. She also complained that she can't use the same headphones with her laptop and iPhone unless she has the dongle with and has resorted to tying the dongle to a set of 3.5mm headphones. Despite Tim Cook's proclamations, 3+ years on the 'obsolete' headphone jack is still the standard and from from obsolete.
    Yeah and for that $30 we got a bigger battery, water gaskets, and OIS hardware in the non-plus size in return (as per engineering VP). That’s very much worth it. 

    Your daughter doesn’t want an iphone because of wanting to use the legacy port rather than a digital port or using the adapter? lol. Ok. Be a sport and give her some BT headphones for her bday, you’ll blow her mind.  
    roundaboutnowpscooter63
  • Reply 8 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,435member
    MplsP said:
    mac_128 said:
    Finally! This should have been available when Apple first removed the headphone jack. How many years has it been that Apple customers couldn’t use the same pair of Lightning headphones on their iPhone, iPad and MacBook? Even though Apple removed the headphone jack, calling it old technology, and touting the superiority of Lightning, most customers had to resort to using the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle and an old pair of 3.5mm headphones, if they wanted to carry only one set of headphones and be able to connect to both their iPhone and MacBook, let alone any other common audio device.

    Now if someone would come up with a Lightning headphones to 3.5mm dongle, the transition to Lightning connectors as a replacement for the old headphone jack would be complete.
    It would be really nice but it won't happen. The lightning connector is an active device that needs power; you can get that from the lightning jack, of course, or a USB C port, but not from a 3.5mm audio jack.

    Totally agree with your comments regarding the connectors, though. The Anker dongle costs $30 - so that's an extra $30 to get the same functionality we used to have for free with the 3.5mm jack. My daughter told me a few weeks ago that she doesn't want an iPhone for her next phone because it's too much of a pain dealing with the dongle for the headphones. She also complained that she can't use the same headphones with her laptop and iPhone unless she has the dongle with and has resorted to tying the dongle to a set of 3.5mm headphones. Despite Tim Cook's proclamations, 3+ years on the 'obsolete' headphone jack is still the standard and from from obsolete.

    I wouldn't say it won't happen. Considering an AirPod is able to provide 5 hours of battery life streaming digital audio and amplifying it for listening, I'd say there's an adapter with a rechargeable battery to meet this need in a reasonably sized package. The issue is going to be cost, and demand. By all accounts Lightning is coming to the end of its run, even as battery technology improves and costs come down. That said, Apple continues to release new Lightning headphones, which will need some way to connect to legacy devices. I suspect the iPad Pro is the driver behind a third party finally introducing an adapter, as the pool of potential buyers increased substantially over just PC and Mac users. But doing so only increases the needs of customers who can now carry just one pair of headphones for use with most of their devices, which furthers the desire for a way to bridge that last chasm.

    Apple could have allowed Lightning to bypass the internal circuitry and pass through an analogue signal with the correct adapter, which wouldn't require a power source -- and who knows, maybe it's mechanically possible with a software update. But it would have been a simple solution to allow Lightning headphones to function on every audio device in existence. Instead it took 3 years to address the simple need to use one pair of headphones on all current devices made by the same company.

    Appleish said:
    Still a very niche need. Just get AirPods.
    Hah. Based on the market saturation, there's an argument to be made that AirPods are the niche use, given that BT headphones are still only a small minority of the overall headphone sales, even though they are the most profitable segment. 
    edited May 15
  • Reply 9 of 21
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 909member
    MplsP said:
    mac_128 said:
    Finally! This should have been available when Apple first removed the headphone jack. How many years has it been that Apple customers couldn’t use the same pair of Lightning headphones on their iPhone, iPad and MacBook? Even though Apple removed the headphone jack, calling it old technology, and touting the superiority of Lightning, most customers had to resort to using the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle and an old pair of 3.5mm headphones, if they wanted to carry only one set of headphones and be able to connect to both their iPhone and MacBook, let alone any other common audio device.

    Now if someone would come up with a Lightning headphones to 3.5mm dongle, the transition to Lightning connectors as a replacement for the old headphone jack would be complete.
    The Anker dongle costs $30 - so that's an extra $30 to get the same functionality we used to have for free with the 3.5mm jack.
    I remember this differently. I paid about $1500 for the 3.5mm jack that came with my free MacBook Pro.
    MplsPfastasleeproundaboutnowpscooter63
  • Reply 10 of 21
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,959member
    $30 price for this dongle from Anker is stiff. Wouldn't pay. The ports on phones,laptops,tablets are moving to USB Type-C so more earpods/earphones/headphones should be USB-C based. Hypothetically someday when Apple moves iPhone(the last man standing) to USB-C than what's point of such dongle.
    edited May 15
  • Reply 11 of 21
    techsavy said:
    Like apple has shown before. They are fully prepared to remove accessibility from their products so that you the customers are forced to purchase exclusively from Apple.
    It's bizarre how people pretend like AirPods are the only compatible headphones in existence. 
    roundaboutnowpscooter63
  • Reply 12 of 21
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,865member
    techsavy said:
    Like apple has shown before. They are fully prepared to remove accessibility from their products so that you the customers are forced to purchase exclusively from Apple.
    This is made by Anker. 
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 13 of 21
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,865member
    Since getting my iPad Pro, I’m fully in favor of USB-C replacing Lightning on the iPhone and switching to USB-C for wired headphone solutions across the board. 
  • Reply 14 of 21
    AlOfNYAlOfNY Posts: 2member
    Accessory maker Anker has launched a USB-C to Lightning audio adapter, allowing iPhone and iPad owners to use their Lightning headphones with any USB-C device.

    Anker USB-C to Lightning Audio Adapter


    The adapter is MFi-certified by Apple, and can connect Lightning headphones to hardware such as Macs, iPad Pros, and Windows 10 PCs, Anker says. This should include full mic and remote support. The company does caution that Macs may require a one-time setup in which the adapter is selected for output and input.

    Anker is further promising 24-bit, 48-kilohertz lossless audio for compatible files and headphones. Digital fidelity is one of the main selling points of Lightning.

    ..
    I don't understand this, the purpose of going to the lightning path it the quality of digital. Is Lightning audio 48KHz or headphone dependant? Most audio music is 44.1 kHz while DVD movies are 48 kHz. IF you are an audiophile or serious listener, you maybe wasting your money on high end Lightning headphones; you will be disappointed. This 44.1/48 kHz selection for audio/DVDs are a mess, there should only been one of the two. If lightning / headphone supports both, Anker should also. Otherwise, I'll stick with my USB DAC and Sennheiser HD6x0.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,435member
    wood1208 said:
    $30 price for this dongle from Anker is stiff. Wouldn't pay. The ports on phones,laptops,tablets are moving to USB Type-C so more earpods/earphones/headphones should be USB-C based. Hypothetically someday when Apple moves iPhone(the last man standing) to USB-C than what's point of such dongle.
    The fact that Apple currently doesn't offer any USB-C audio products (including Beats), and won't likely offer any until they switch the iPhone to USB-C, means that there will be a lot of Lightning accessories and devices which will need a dongle to connect the latest devices. And that's the point of this dongle. That's like saying 7 years ago, what's the point of a 30-pin to Lighting dongle when everything will be moving to Lightning?
  • Reply 16 of 21
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,545member
    techsavy said:
    Like apple has shown before. They are fully prepared to remove accessibility from their products so that you the customers are forced to purchase exclusively from Apple.
    Do you have any idea how stupid your comment sounds in an article about a NON-APPLE company offering the accessory? So much for being “forced to purchase exclusively from Apple ...

    Next time maybe read the article before commenting! You’re probably also unaware that some Apple products still do have the headphone jack, or that Bluetooth has been invented and works great for headphones (frankly I don’t know why people are still using wired headphones now that BT 4.2/5.0 exists).
    fastasleeppscooter63
  • Reply 17 of 21
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,373member
    linkman said:
    MplsP said:
    mac_128 said:
    Finally! This should have been available when Apple first removed the headphone jack. How many years has it been that Apple customers couldn’t use the same pair of Lightning headphones on their iPhone, iPad and MacBook? Even though Apple removed the headphone jack, calling it old technology, and touting the superiority of Lightning, most customers had to resort to using the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle and an old pair of 3.5mm headphones, if they wanted to carry only one set of headphones and be able to connect to both their iPhone and MacBook, let alone any other common audio device.

    Now if someone would come up with a Lightning headphones to 3.5mm dongle, the transition to Lightning connectors as a replacement for the old headphone jack would be complete.
    The Anker dongle costs $30 - so that's an extra $30 to get the same functionality we used to have for free with the 3.5mm jack.
    I remember this differently. I paid about $1500 for the 3.5mm jack that came with my free MacBook Pro.
    Man - I got gypped! I paid $1650 for my 3.5mm jack!

    StrangeDays said:
    mac_128 said:
    Finally! This should have been available when Apple first removed the headphone jack. How many years has it been that Apple customers couldn’t use the same pair of Lightning headphones on their iPhone, iPad and MacBook? Even though Apple removed the headphone jack, calling it old technology, and touting the superiority of Lightning, most customers had to resort to using the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle and an old pair of 3.5mm headphones, if they wanted to carry only one set of headphones and be able to connect to both their iPhone and MacBook, let alone any other common audio device.
    Yes but how many people are you claiming needed to do this? I’d say most people didn’t give a crap and used the freebies that came in the (iphone) box for use with their iphone, and then used the supplied, free adapter to listen on their macbooks if they needed to and didn’t already use BT. 
    Based on personal observation, quite a few. Like I have said in the past, 3.5mm headphones are still the industry standard. They work in everything except iPhones and a few android phones. They work with out extra batteries, without pairing and in devices that don't have bluetooth. They also don't have batteries that wear out. The last time I flew with my family, my son and I watched a movie together on my laptop. We both had a set of headphones with a Y adapter. You can't do that with bluetooth either. If you don't want the expense and hassle of bluetooth headphones then you have a choice of carrying 2 sets of headphones or one set with the standard 3.5mm plug and a lightning adapter. 
  • Reply 18 of 21
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,373member

    mac_128 said:
    MplsP said:
    mac_128 said:
    Finally! This should have been available when Apple first removed the headphone jack. How many years has it been that Apple customers couldn’t use the same pair of Lightning headphones on their iPhone, iPad and MacBook? Even though Apple removed the headphone jack, calling it old technology, and touting the superiority of Lightning, most customers had to resort to using the Lightning to 3.5mm dongle and an old pair of 3.5mm headphones, if they wanted to carry only one set of headphones and be able to connect to both their iPhone and MacBook, let alone any other common audio device.

    Now if someone would come up with a Lightning headphones to 3.5mm dongle, the transition to Lightning connectors as a replacement for the old headphone jack would be complete.
    It would be really nice but it won't happen. The lightning connector is an active device that needs power; you can get that from the lightning jack, of course, or a USB C port, but not from a 3.5mm audio jack.

    Totally agree with your comments regarding the connectors, though. The Anker dongle costs $30 - so that's an extra $30 to get the same functionality we used to have for free with the 3.5mm jack. My daughter told me a few weeks ago that she doesn't want an iPhone for her next phone because it's too much of a pain dealing with the dongle for the headphones. She also complained that she can't use the same headphones with her laptop and iPhone unless she has the dongle with and has resorted to tying the dongle to a set of 3.5mm headphones. Despite Tim Cook's proclamations, 3+ years on the 'obsolete' headphone jack is still the standard and from from obsolete.

    I wouldn't say it won't happen. Considering an AirPod is able to provide 5 hours of battery life streaming digital audio and amplifying it for listening, I'd say there's an adapter with a rechargeable battery to meet this need in a reasonably sized package. The issue is going to be cost, and demand. By all accounts Lightning is coming to the end of its run, even as battery technology improves and costs come down. That said, Apple continues to release new Lightning headphones, which will need some way to connect to legacy devices. I suspect the iPad Pro is the driver behind a third party finally introducing an adapter, as the pool of potential buyers increased substantially over just PC and Mac users. But doing so only increases the needs of customers who can now carry just one pair of headphones for use with most of their devices, which furthers the desire for a way to bridge that last chasm.

    Apple could have allowed Lightning to bypass the internal circuitry and pass through an analogue signal with the correct adapter, which wouldn't require a power source -- and who knows, maybe it's mechanically possible with a software update. But it would have been a simple solution to allow Lightning headphones to function on every audio device in existence. Instead it took 3 years to address the simple need to use one pair of headphones on all current devices made by the same company.

    Appleish said:
    Still a very niche need. Just get AirPods.
    Hah. Based on the market saturation, there's an argument to be made that AirPods are the niche use, given that BT headphones are still only a small minority of the overall headphone sales, even though they are the most profitable segment. 
    Cost and demand is exactly why I don't think it will happen. It's certainly technically feasible, but it would be significantly more cost and hassle to do that vs get a pair of standard headphones with a $10 lightning to 3.5mm adapter. The number of lightning headphones is minuscule compared to the number of 3.5mm headphones, and as you say, the lightning jack's days are numbered. I'm guessing the Anker adapter's best use is for the people who made the mistake of buying expensive Beats headphones with a lightning jack that will become obsolete once Apple switches over to USB C.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    Appleish said:
    Still a very niche need. Just get AirPods.
    What about those who suffere when they stick anything in ears? Not niche many do not like AIrPods and any earphones.Sure niche also for those who like quality sound. AirPod is not quality sound. Sorry. Maybe you should listen to other headsets to understand difference between voice on calls and music.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 417member
    Too bad there is no (spare) port to plug them into on my MacBook. 
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