More and more devices are shipping with only USB-C ports and without traditional headphone jacks, from modern Android phones like the Moto Z or HTC Bolt or Google Pixel 2, to the new Macbooks. This trend isn’t going away anytime soon as long as phone and computer manufacturers keep chasing ever-thinner products.
There are three possible solutions to use headphones with these new USB type C devices: you can either A) use special USB-C headphones, B) use Bluetooth wireless headphones, or C) use a USB C headphone adapter.
That last type of solution is the one we’re going to focus on for this article. There are a few reasons why you might prefer to use normal headphones with a traditional 1/8th inch audio jack instead of those alternatives. For one, Bluetooth wireless headphones need to be recharged and may be more complicated to operate. And special USB-C headphones can’t be used with other devices that have traditional headphone jacks. So using a USB type C to headphone jack adapter can be a great solution.
USB Type C to Headphone Adapters
USB C to 3.5mm Audio Adapter (male to female)
This is a basic USB C to headphone jack adapter. It’s flexible and it will allow you to use normal headphones with your Google Pixel 2 or other USBC only smartphone (like a Xiaomi 6 or a Huawei P9, etc).
This USB C audio adapter will securely hold your headphones in place and won’t easily slip out. It comes in black.
USB Type C to 3.5mm Audio Adapter (2 pack)
Here’s another USB type C to headphone jack adapter option. These adapters come in a 2 pack and convert a USB C port to a normal 3.5mm headphone jack. It can be helpful to get more than one of these at a time in case you have multiple devices, or simply because they’re easy to lose since they’re so small.
Works for making phone calls if your headphones have an in-line microphone built in (although it volume up/down buttons may not work, as is typically the case with these types of adapters).
USB Type C to 3.5mm Audio Adapter (male to male)
Here’s a different type of USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter: this allows you to plug your USB C phone into a car’s aux port to play music. This adapter cable is almost 4 feet long and comes in black. Its connector tips are gold plated and works with USB C phones like the Google Pixel or the Samsung Galaxy Note.
This cable can also serve as an extension cable if you’re plugging your phone into a device (like speakers) to play music out of it but you need to extend its reach.
USB C Headphone adapter with charging cable
This headphone adapter for USB C cell phones has a trick up its sleeve: it can also recharge your phone while you’re listening to music. It’s a splitter, providing you with a standard 1/8th inch headphone jack as well as a USB C port which you can plug the charging cable or a portable USB Cbattery pack into. Comes in silver and built in a sturdy braided design.
USB C Computer Hub with headphone jack
If you have a new Macbook or another computer with only USB C ports, you might wish that you had a headphone jack (as well as several other ports!). Luckily USB C hubs exist to supply you with a plethora of ports when you need them. This USB C converter box gives you a headphone jack, 3 normal USB type A ports, an SD card reader, a Micro SD card slot, a VGA output port, an HDMI output port, a Mini Display port, an ethernet jack for wired internet hookup and a USB C port for charging. Whew, that’s a mouthful to even say! If this hub doens’t fit your needs, be sure to check out our other list of USB C hubs.
Frequently asked questions about USB C headphone adapters:
Do all USB C adapters work with all USB C devices?
There are some edge cases where even USB type C adapters don’t work with some USB C ports. For the most part, devices work cross-platform but there are still some scenarios where manufacturers may not have built their devices to be cross-compatible as specified in the official USB C spec.
As time goes on this problem will sort itself out but in the meantime we recommend double checking to make sure your device is listed as compatible with USB C adapters if you’re concerned about your choice working properly. Retailers like Amazon also have very customer-friendly return policies if products don’t work.
Is USB C the same as Apple’s Lightning cable?
No, Apple’s proprietary Lightning cables are different although they look similar to the USB type C connector. One difference in the design of the two ports is that USB C has a hollow tip, while Apple’s Lightning connector is solid.
Related USB C Adapters and Accessories:
USB Type C Data Sticks, Thumbdrives, USB-C Flash Drives, and USB C Keys
The Best USB C Adapters for the new Macbook & Macbook Pro, Chromebook Pixel
Best USB Type C to Normal USB Type A Adapters