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Audio Dropouts on Apple's Lighting to Headphone Adapter - and one Fix

Herbert

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2018
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As google gave silly results, here comes my problem and it's fix (not any more, see below):
I experienced audio dropouts that very strongly hinted to a loose connection
or floating contacts on my 10$ Apple Lighting to headphone dongle:
After plugging it into my Iphone, sometimes only shaking would make it loose contact.
Tapping on the 3.5mm connection did make the dongle loose connection,
or simply sliding the phone into my pocket.
While trying to reconnect one would hear a toc-toc-toc popping sound
on the earphones (the same pop you hear when the phone amp switches off) but no avail.
Sometimes disconnecting and reconnecting would help for a short time.
Other things also hinted to a loose contact: The Lightning connector has a tad of play, rotating the
3.5mm jack in the connector would make a scratchy sound as it was corroded.
I use a Koss Porta Pro with an "unofficial" Talkback/Volume Control,
(that does not work on an Iphone anyway)
So I soldered on the Koss a new classical 3 pin connector
to check if the dongle works better when it "sees"
a dumb headphone from the Walkman/ Discman times.
Also the 3-Pin connector was new and not corroded.
But the problem remained, audio dropouts that hint to a bad connection.
I was very close to even replace the 3.5mm plug of the dongle
with a better one - all electronics are in the Lightning jack, the 3.5mm plug is passive.

But before doing this mod, I checked
Settings > Sounds and Haptics > Headphone Safety > Lighting Adapters > Forget all adapters
"Lightning Adapters" only comes up, when a dongle is plugged in.
"Forget all adapters" - it is now missing while I type this, maybe because I confirmed the command
helped, the Problem is gone. The dongle works flawlessy.
I do not know what triggers "Forget Adapters" to come back.
Maybe when I plug in the charging cable later... IOS is 15.2.1 btw

EDIT: The problem came back - And "Forget all adapters" does not show up yet.
But it must be there:
 
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Herbert

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2018
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In the meantime, I found the solution but it needs some skills.
The reason for the dropouts is that the designs of the 3.5mm
jack and Lightning connectors are badly executed.
We know classical 3.5mm jacks; they can be very durable.
I never had to replace a jack in a Walkman or Discman or adaptor.
Normally, the tabs or reeds are flexible and pushed back by the plug at least 0.5mm.
This gives torsion and tight and secure contact.
In the 3.5mm jack of Apple's headphone adapter, small
balls stamped on the tabs make contact. For GND and Mic,
they stick through holes in the inner isolation.
By eye, in contrast to classical jacks, one can' t
judge if the balls stick over the outer ring of the jack or are in line.
This means very weak torsion and pressure on the plug.
Luckily, the plastic isolation inside the jack is brittle.
I used leather needles (their tips are more like knives) to carve the plastic out
until I could use a very thin needle to reach under the GND and Mic tabs to bent them up.
Problem gone, no dropouts!
Of course, another solution would be to solder a better jack on the adapter.
I am pretty sure, when customers think, the flimsy cable has broken,
actually the jack has worn out.
Addressing the flimsy cable, I carefully put some heat shrink tube on the adapter
after I modified the jack and tested the mod while jogging.
The heat shrink tube makes the adapter cable more stiff - and the problem came back!
The reason is the same, now it is the iPhone Se’s 2020 Lightning jack:
The flexible tabs simply do not stick well out enough to give pressure and make secure contact.
The stiffer adapter wiggles in the jack and seems to lose connection for milliseconds
and/or electrical resistance rises until the software decides to "unplug".

In my older phone SE, the tabs of the Lighting jack stick out more, never failed in 3 years of use.
In the SE 2020 the tabs are barely noticeable after 6 weeks of use and probably were manufactured like this.

After I removed the heat shrink tube and the adapter´s cable became flexible again,
all went back to "normal".
A very flimsy normal, very annoying and another example how Apple deceives it´s customers.
Just because contacts are deliberately badly executed, such an iPhone will be junk or unnecessarily
new adapters are bought...

EDIT: I also posted my findings in the Apple Support Forum.
This post is copy paste, but on Apples forum,
I left out the last sentences about Apple deceiving it´s customers
and that the contcts are deliberately bad executed.
Just how the problem can be fixed and where the flaws are.
Just got this Mail:
"We removed your post “Audio Dropouts with Lightning to Headphone Adapter - "Forget all Adapters" is missing in Settings
because it discussed questionable advice or inappropriate activities."

Remember, this is the company that refuses to use USB-C instead of Lightning and produces unserviceable products.
R&D plus production are believed to only cover 20% of the sum a customer hast to pay...
 
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AnalogSteph

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
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Just got this Mail:
"We removed your post “Audio Dropouts with Lightning to Headphone Adapter - "Forget all Adapters" is missing in Settings
because it discussed questionable advice or inappropriate activities."
Just about zero subscribers of Louis Rossmann and Jessa Jones (iPad Rehab) are going to be surprised. This kind of behavior was documented years ago (I'd have to look for the videos but I think it was pre-pandemic still), that it's still going on honestly is rather depressing IMO. Questionable advice my ass. How dare you post something helpful?!

Suffice it to say the fruity company isn't going to see any of my money.
 
OP
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Herbert

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2018
Messages
357
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329
The fruity company that build the G4 that could be opened in a second for upgrading and repair.
I simply stick to Apple because I am editing and mixing on Macs since 1995...
I did not know iPad Rehab, bookmarked!
I guess you mean this video, good rant but I think it is not appropiate to put Tim Cook in a skirt:
 
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