A custom iPhone 7 gains a headphone jack

The headphone jack dream is alive as an engineer pulls off an epic electronics challenge.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

When Apple's iPhone 7 hit the scene without a headphone jack last September, many mourned the loss.

Former software engineer Scotty Allen is one of those people. Allen famously made his own iPhone 6s from parts bought at electronics markets in China, so it wasn't a huge stretch for him to pick up an iPhone 7 and decide to install a working headphone jack.

Allen posted a video of his headphone exploits to his Strange Parts YouTube channel on Wednesday, and it tells a tale of determination, electronics know-how and perhaps a tinge of madness. There may be some irony in the fact that the video has come out just before next week's unveiling of the iPhone 8, which will likely remain jack-free.

Allen starts with a used iPhone 7 and pulls it apart to get a better understanding of the phone's innards and how he can get a headphone jack to fit into the tight space. The project is fraught with challenges, which is why the video runs more than 30 minutes. It's a fascinating journey through Allen's problem-solving process and the creativity required to pull it off.  

So does he manage this miracle? According to a jubilant Allen in the video, "I finally got it working. I finally put it together without breaking anything." He gives a demonstration of the headphones working. Barring any sort of video trickery, it looks to be an astounding success.

Allen notes that he spent thousands of dollars on this project. The cost includes three iPhones, several screens, custom circuit boards and numerous other small parts. The biggest drawback to the final design is that he can't charge the phone and listen to music at the same time. 

While it will be pretty much impossible for an average iPhone owner to follow in Allen's footsteps, at least his solution is much more effective than the YouTube prank suggestion to just drill a jack into the bottom of your phone. Seriously, don't drill into your iPhone.

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