Monday, May 30, 2011

iPhone 3GS headphones on iPhone 3G - remote not working

Trying to use my iPhone 3GS/4 headphones, MB770G/B with an old iPhone 3G gave me a lot of headaches. The 3G plug differs from the 3GS headphone plug. Apple redesigned it. As a result, the microphone can't be used on the 3G, also the remote Volume Up, Volume Down, Answer/Hang Up keys are not compatible with the iPhone 3G. Bummer!
After a little bit of research (that also included changing the jack flex cable inside the 3G with a 3Gs version) I think I found the most convenient way to overpass these problems: drum-roll... the answer is:
Activator - a beautiful piece of software installed at iPhone jailbreak that allows you to assign special functions to the volume keys on your iPhone.  For instance: holding the Volume Up can be set up as Next Track and pressing Volume Up + Volume Down play/pause. The "shortcuts" can be set to function even if the screen is locked. 
Simply awesome! 
When riding a bike there's no need to take the iPhone and unlock it and go to iPod and change the song. When riding a motorcycle you don't have to take off your gloves to change the song! 

Is jailbreaking recommended? If you ride the bike, the motorcycle, skateboard, skates - yes it is!

Important Update:
Based on the fact the mic was not working as well, I decided to open up the iPhone to see if the headphone mother-plug was working properly. It was full of dust/dirt! Using a compressed air can I managed to take all the dust out and after measuring continuity on the flex cable from the headphone mother-plug to the connector no. 6 and putting the phone back together... Surprise, the microphone started working and the remote is partially working (the volume up/down keys are still useless but now I can answer the iPhone/hang up, change the song and pause music).


The Apple headphones MB770G/B are compatible with iPhone 3G even if they are designed for 3GS+ iPhones. The only downside is that the +/- keys will not work, but the main headset functionality can be achieved, the headphones act like their old version (the ones that had only the microphone/answer button.

Read more on headphone compatibility on Apple's site.


  1. This is a compatability issue indeed. I think there is nothing to be done.
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  2. Its amazing what is is happening with headphones this days. Beats By Dre are very good. Would you be willing to spend $1000.00 on headphones? Try Grado. Also with wireless and airplay like technologies, cordless head are definitely the way to go.

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