May 19, 2024

Modder builds his own custom iPhone 7 that restores the headphone jack

An iPhone 7 with a 3.5mm headphone jack is a dream device for any disgruntled Apple fans still mourning the loss of the port. Now, that dream device can be yours… if you’re willing to mod one from scratch.

You may remember Scotty Allen, a former software engineer who managed to build his own iPhone 6S out of recycled and spare parts from Shenzhen’s famous phone markets, but his latest project takes things a step further by not just replicating Apple’s most recent smartphone, but arguably improving on it by adding back a 3.5mm headphone jack.

While the 33-minute video detailing the entire build process is the best way to understand the amount of effort Allen put into the project, what he actually did is fairly simple, at least conceptually: he took apart Apple’s official 3.5mm to Lighting adapter, and built it right into the phone.

As you’d expect, it was incredibly complicated and expensive. Allen had to design his own circuit board to integrate Apple’s adapter, figure out how to actually fit that circuit board into the phone, and of course, build the actual phone.

There are also a few limitations to Allen’s design. Due to how Apple’s Lightning adaptor works, you unfortunately still can’t use the headphone jack while charging your phone. And if you’re hoping to modify your existing device (Allen has made the custom circuit board design open source so that others can put their own together), you’ll have to move around some internal components — including the taptic engine and battery to get everything to fit.

According to Allen, the entire project cost him somewhere in the range of “thousands of dollars,” which he spent on three iPhone 7 devices for parts, screens, and tons of Apple’s headphone adapters.

Still, if you truly can’t live without a headphone jack on your iPhone 7, at least now you know that it is theoretically possible for one to exist — even if it is probably easier to just get a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

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