Introduction: Apple IPhone Headphone Jack Plug

Picture of Apple IPhone Headphone Jack Plug

The headphone jack on the Apple IPhone has gotten a lot of bad press because it does not work with most standard headphones because it is recessed. That obvious annoyance has concealed another critical drawback to the headphone jack design - it is clearly a weak point in the IPhone's armor. Many generations of cellular phones have used simple rubber or plastic plugs to keep dirt, debris and water from getting into the headphone jacks. Apple, however, made no efforts whatsoever. If you look closely into the headphone jack when the IPhone's screen is active, I swear you can see the light and that makes me wonder how protected sensitive internal components are.

Immediately after its release, many reviewers were quick to test the Apple IPhone's durability. The results were impressive. Apple's first endeavor into the cellular phone market place was surprisingly tough. The sophisticated piece of equipment resisted scratches and impacts quite well. This super phone did seem to have a weakness - water.

I do not know if a single wayward raindrop tumbling from an overcast sky into the IPhone's headphone jack would be enough to turn the phone into a paperweight. I don't know what would happen if lint or dust from a person's pocket got into that little porthole of doom. I don't want to find out. I set out to create a plug to protect my precious IPhone with very basic supplies.

Some quick warnings - this instructable requires the uses of sharp pointy tools. The use of proper safety gear is recommended. Also, the IPhone's headphone jack was meant for use with the headphones that come with it and not my little plug. I've had no problems but that doesn't guarantee you won't. If you try this and somehow damage your phone in the process - you're the one to blame. The final product is very're baby may eat it. If any harm comes to you, your phone, your baby or anything else don't come whining to me :)

Step 1: Find a Doner 3.5mm Plug

Picture of Find a Doner 3.5mm Plug

The basis for the plug is a normal 3.5mm headphones connector. The easiest way to get one of these is from an old/cheap set of headphones. You can buy just a plug from radioshack but the construction is a little different. They often give away cheap headphones with stuff so I wouldn't think it would be hard to find.

Step 2: Dissect the 3.5mm Plug

Picture of Dissect the 3.5mm Plug

You don't want a giant L Shaped plug hanging out of your sleek IPhone so you have to cut that away. You really just want a little more than the metal bit. I used a utility knife* to slice into the plastic - it doesn't put up much of a fight.

*Note: My knife is a tetanus waiting to happen. Feel free to use a knife that isn't crusty and broken.

Step 3: Liberate the Plug

Picture of Liberate the Plug

Once you've cut open the plastic it peels back pretty easily. The metal bit you need is only connected to a couple strands of copper wire so it was easy enough to just rip out with my fingers. If you're having any trouble getting it out, I would avoid grabbing the metal of the plug with pliers because you'll probably mess it up. If you must, try grabbing the ugly black plastic/solder part on the back end of the plug to pop it out.

Step 4: Cut the Tail Off the Plug

Picture of Cut the Tail Off the Plug

The part you have now will fit nicely into the IPhone's recessed jack. There are two problems. First,the "tail" on the back of the plug is functional but hideous and will get snagged on your pockets. If you like ugly stuff, you can leave it alone. Otherwise, trim it down. You want to leave a little in place to add a nicer grip. I used a pair of side cutters to trim the tail but the options are limitless...strong scissors, bolt cutters, tin snips, a hacksaw - pretty much any cutting device you have handy.

Step 5: Snip the Tip

Picture of Snip the Tip

On to problem number 2 - since you have the entire 3.5mm connector, the IPhone will think you have headphones plugged in and nothing will play out of the speaker. That's totally unacceptable. If you cut off the tip, there won't be anything to touch the contacts inside the IPhone headphone jack.
I used a jeweler's saw to cut off the tip at the first black plastic insulating ring.
Jeweler's saws might not be all that common but there are other options. A hacksaw might work, a dremel cutoff disc, etc. You might even be able to use the side cutters again but I didn't want to risk bending the part I needed so I decided sawing was preferable to snipping.
I filed down the cut area to remove and burrs and smooth it out overall. I made sure to wipe it down really well so that no filings would end up in my phone.

Step 6: Finishing Your Plug

Picture of Finishing Your Plug

To finish off the plug, I covered the tail with a two part epoxy putty. The epoxy putty is great - it forms easily, hardens quickly, can be sanded and drilled and is pretty mess free. I made the grip about flush with the base of the plug. Keep in mind that the base of the plug pretty much fits perfectly into the recessed cavity of the IPhone's headphone jack. If you have putty hanging over the base, it won't fit well and you'll have to sand it down.
I would test fit the plug so you can sand if necessary. I would put the plug in for the first time with the IPhone upside down. If you have too much putty, some crumbs might sheer off and you don't want those falling into the phone.
I was going to paint the plug but it fit so tight that a layer of paint wouldn't last long - instead I just used a black permanent marker to color the plug.

Step 7: Finished Apple IPhone Headphone Plug

Picture of Finished Apple IPhone Headphone Plug

Here you have the finished product.
I don't know if this plug will actually protect your IPhone in any way or if the phone really needed protecting to begin with. In fact, it's even possible that this plug is bad for your phone in some way I haven't thought of but so far so good.
I don't use the headphone jack too often but if you do, you'll probably lose the plug pretty quickly since it is pretty tiny. It fits well in the phone though and I haven't had it fall out ever.

Now I can rest easy knowing my IPhone is safe from any sniper clouds trying to fire rain into my phone as well as from the garbage in my pockets.


Delete_ (author)2014-10-16

Original iphone!

qwerty the turtle (author)2011-12-21

i diddnt have any epoxy or anything like that so i filed down the wirey end and stuck it in backwards it looks really cool
sorry for fuzzy the picture i took it with my sisters phone

GorillazMiko (author)2007-11-24

nice! lucky, you have the iphone. or is that the ipod touch? i dont know, hahaha.

Kuhan (author)GorillazMiko2008-04-06

it's the phone. the touch doesn't have a camera or the receiver. and it has no buttons on the sides. (but it does have the sleep/wake button on top.)

A.C.E. (author)Kuhan2008-10-06

my ipod touch (maybe 2nd generation??) has volume control on the side.

cody777 (author)A.C.E.2010-08-18

if it has buttons its a second gen

Kuhan (author)A.C.E.2008-10-06

how recently did you get it? if it was within the past few weeks at the apple store or other official retailer, then it is 2nd gen and should have volume control. if it's over a month old, then it's not an ipod touch :)

A.C.E. (author)Kuhan2008-10-07

yea I got it 5 days ago.. Guess it is 2nd gen. Is your avatar that crazy undead terrorist from comedy central?

Kuhan (author)A.C.E.2008-10-15

yes. and yes.

chaz84 (author)2009-05-16

Also the sensor for water damage is at the bottom of the jack. If it's pink in there your phone has lost any kind of repairs from apple. one raindrop is all i gotta say. great idea lepninja!

A.C.E. (author)2008-10-06

hey, im wongering, since you cut the end of the headphone jack off, will it still kind of "lock" in the ipod's headphone port?

LepNinja (author)A.C.E.2008-10-06

Once cut, the headphone jack itself does not lock into place. Mine stayed in place because I made sure it fit really well into the recessed headphone jack of the iphone. This plug does NOT work with the iphone 3G.

A.C.E. (author)LepNinja2008-10-07

ok, cua I figured the end was what locked it in.. I did this and though it doesn't lock in, it won't fall out either. Great instructable!

XBlade316 (author)2008-08-11

sry but do u put the regular headphone jack into the clay mold thingy

LepNinja (author)XBlade3162008-08-11

The epoxy goes around the back end of the headphone plug (where the wires connect). The tip of the headphones plug needs to be removed otherwise the phone will think there is a set of headphones attached and it won't play sound through the speakers.

XBlade316 (author)LepNinja2008-08-24

but where am i supposed to put my standard headphone jack in?

puffyfluff (author)2008-07-17

I never would have thought of this. Great instructable! I'll have to do this...

mrmath (author)2007-11-24

You forgot one of the iPhone's weaknesses.

John Smith (author)mrmath2007-11-24

OMG! I just knew you would link to that website! Really weird!

mrmath (author)John Smith2007-11-24

Knew that I would do it, or that someone would do it?

John Smith (author)mrmath2007-11-24

Whoever typed the sentence ( I didn't look at the username at the time).

Derin (author)John Smith2008-06-03

here we say "cüşş yani" which stands for OMFG for that mov

Derin (author)Derin2008-07-09

oops, stupid foreign lettering hope this one works:

çüş yani

Derin (author)Derin2008-07-09

yay it worked

coolz (author)2008-06-16

aha! no wonder the jack was like that!

drummonkey92 (author)2008-01-18

nice job a realy sleek addition to an obviouse solution, when i started reading this i was thinking 'couldnt u just cut the end f a pair of head phones n shove that in' but the way you did it makes it look like its supossed to be there. *just incase that was a bit confusing...this is ment to be a positive comment! :)

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