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Use Your iPhone Headphone Jack to Connect With the Car? Here's What to Do

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author photo by James Riswick September 2016

The iPhone 7 will not include a headphone jack. This announcement has irritated many an owner of perfectly good headphones, who are left wondering what they'll do when the time comes to upgrade to Apple's latest and greatest. But jackless iPhones are also a bummer for anyone who drives an older car equipped only with a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary audio jack.

Owners of newer cars should have nothing to worry about, as the iPhone 7 can still be played through a USB port and/or Bluetooth audio, which have been common in cars for the past 5 years or so. But without those connections and only a 3.5-millimeter jack at their disposal, what's the owner of an older car to do?

The easiest thing is to buy Apple's $9 adapter -- plug the headphone-style wire you currently use to connect your car and your phone into one end, then plug the other into the iPhone 7's lightning jack.

Though this is the easiest and cheapest method, it doesn't allow you to charge your phone and listen to music at the same time. Currently, you can do this by using two wires or, more elegantly, an adapter that plugs into your phone's lightning port then splits at the bottom with headphone and 12-volt (cigarette-lighter) power plugs. Such adapters are one reason why so many cars place the auxiliary jack and 12-volt power points close by.

Better still, there's the iClever Himbox HB01. Despite its rather unfortunate name, this highly rated device is a must-have for anyone with an auxiliary-jack-only car and any iPhone, not just the new 7. Like the above-mentioned adapter, the Himbox plugs into both a power point and the auxiliary jack, but on its other end is a sleek black disk that connects wirelessly to your phone through Bluetooth. Not only does this allow you to play music from phone to car, but its built-in microphone also lets phone calls play through your car's sound system.

Actually, the Himbox HB01 can even be helpful for those with USB ports in the car but no Bluetooth audio (a more recent feature). While the USB port almost always comes with some sort of built-in iPod interface, these can be frustrating to use. They also aren't intended to stream content from music services such as Pandora or sports play-by-play apps like MLB At Bat. You'll need an auxiliary jack or Bluetooth audio for those, which leads us back to the Himbox.

So while the iPhone losing its headphone jack will require you to purchase an adapter of some sort, you shouldn't have to replace your sound system or even the entire car just because Apple decided to change things up.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Use Your iPhone Headphone Jack to Connect With the Car? Here's What to Do - Autotrader