5 Types of Headphone Jacks – Explaining Headphone Jacks & Plugs

5 Types of Headphone Jacks – Explaining Headphone Jacks & Plugs

A pair of headphones has its life span. After some time, it starts deteriorating and begins to tear down. It sometimes happens that you are unable to replace these headphones because they are of very high-quality. Every headphone has its own Jack (pinout) and connector. These pinouts and connectors play a crucial part in the working of the headphones. We'll provide you with information about all kinds of connectors, their features, and pinouts.

By the time you finish reading this article, you should be familiar with the concept of headphone jack and the following terms:

  • Audio Lightning Jack
  • Micro-jack 2.5
  • Mini-jack 3.5
  • Jack 6.3
  • Micro-USB, Type-C


Lightning Jack Headphone
Apple Lightning Headphone Jack | Source: Unsplash

1. Audio Lightning Jack

The lightning Jack plug has an outstanding feature of producing output sound without reducing it. Lightning connector or Jack produces and transmits full sound compared to 3.5 mm Jack, which squeezes the output sound and can only transmit 16-bit quality to the listener.  

The headphone has a lightning headphone jack that has many advantages over other jacks or connectors. Here are some advantages:

  • The lightning Jack produce perfect sound reproduction without any distortion and compression of the built-in DAC;
  • By using lightning jack, you can provide electrical energy to your headphone device directly from the source;
  • An increased probability of the exchange of digital values between the headphone device and the signal source;
  • You can add other functions to your accessories, such and digital introductions, and fitness sensors.

The headphone pinout with lightning cable is as follows:

  • Pin GND Earth
  • Pin L0p Line 0+
  • L0n Line 0-
  • ID0 identifier / control 0
  • PWR charging
  • L1n Line 1-
  • L1p Line 1+
  • ID1 identifier / control 1. Micro-jack


Vention 2.5mm to 3.5mm Aux cable
Vention 2.5mm Micro-jack & 3.5mm Aux cable | Source: Vention

2. Micro-jack 2.5 mm

If you are looking for a very small plug, 2.5 jack is the smallest headphone plug. It is called 2.5 micro-jack because the diameter of the Jack is 2.5 nm. The micro-jack is usually used in cables of smartphones and players. This micro-jack is only for audio transmission, and it is challenging to find it nowadays because the manufacturer has started using mini-jack nowadays.

Many people use headphones, but only a few of them are aware of the plug’s properties. This thing will usually cause a problem for them. For example, if you will insert the TS plug into the TRRS connector, whereas TRRS stands for “Tip, Ring, Ring, Sleeve.” There is a very high risk of damaging your equipment output while, on the other hand, when you connect TRRS plug to TS connector, there is no issue at all. That is why the basic knowledge of connectors and Jack is essential.

Wiring – headphones with a TRRS 2.5 cable look like this:

  • The first channel is left;
  • The second channel is right;
  • The third channel is for the microphone connection;
  • The fourth channel is ground.
Mini-Jack 3.5 mm 2 Pole 3 Pole 4 Pole
Mini-Jack 3.5 mm 2 Pole 3 Pole 4 Pole | Source: MillSO

3. Mini-jack 3.5 mm

Mini-jack 3.5 connector is a prevalent type of connector, and it is used in almost all kinds of devices, including Apple products as well. It is the same plug that they now want to replace with USB type-c and have already been replaced by Apple manufactures. The repairing of jacks of any diameter is very easy, but the lightning or type-c has an exception. The pinouts of the plug are depended on the type of manufacturer. We are going to tell you some more about this mini-jack.

  1. TS cable is used to connect microphone; having common contacts only means plus and minus.
  2. TRS is the most common type, being suitable for all kinds of accessories. It has 3 pinouts, left, right, and ground.
  3. The TRRS is an older one that was designed for older Nokias. It has four pinouts. The first one is left, the second one is right, the third one is microphone, and the fourth one is ground.
  4. There is another form of TRRS in which, first is left, second is right, third is ground, and the fourth is a microphone. It is particularly designed for HTC, iPhone, Samsung, and Sony.
Stereo Audio Adapter - QGEEM Headphone Jack 6.3 mm - Use cases and compatibility
Stereo Audio Adapter - QGEEM Headphone Jack 6.3 mm - Usage and Compatibility | Source: QGEEM

4. Headphone Jack 6.3 mm (6.35 mm)

The jack 6.3 headphone is very rare and seldom used nowadays. You can see jack 6.3 only in professional music equipment, old model microphones, and metal detectors. 

The headphone jack can be divided into two types based on the number of pins. Two-pin and three-pin. Each of them has different pinouts.

For two-pin:

  • The first contact is a microphone;
  • The second is ground.

For three-pin:

  • The first one is left;
  • The second one is ground or common;
  • The third one is ground.
Headphone Jack - Type-C Headphone Jack And Lightning Interface
Headphone Jack - Type-C Headphone Jack And Lightning Interface | Source: MCDODO

5. Micro-USB Type-C

In case of Apple, after replacing the 3.5mm headphone jack, Apple started using USB Type-C in all its phones. The mini-jacks on iPhone 7 and newer models will be replaced with Type-C jacks. Moreover, Micro-USB Type-C has improved the sound quality very much.

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