I'm on the hunt for a great sounding, non-in-ear set of headphones with working mic, play/pause, and volume buttons.

I have Bang & Olufsen's EarSet 3i, which are among the best sounding headphones I've ever used. And all three button work perfectly in my MacBook Air and iPhone.

Obviously they don't work perfectly in my Nexus 4, since Android devices uses a different way of reading volume up/down buttons.

So, my question is rather simple, does anyone know how to make them work with Android, or alternatively any equally good headphones to the EarSet 3i's that work on Android? And to make it extra challenging, no in-ear ones please, cause I can't stand them :(

Or maybe anyone knows of some kind of adapter cable that can be used between an Android phone and iPhone compatible headphones to translate the volume button signals so the Android device understands them?

  • Please note that shopping recommendations are off topic at all StackExchange sites. See our FAQ on Recommendations.
    – Izzy
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 11:23
  • Oh, I didn't know that. Anything I should do then, like add a off-topic tag, delete the question or something else?
    – jimeh
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 11:45
  • @DanHulme: Make that a separate answer, it's the most practical way to do it. And it is a generic answer that will not be outdated soon.
    – ce4
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 12:07
  • @jimeh: Maybe rephrase the question to "why do the buttons of 3rd party earphones often not work with Android phones?" Reason: It's not standardized how to do it (and maybe also patent-encumbered), so Apple/Samsung/HTC/Sony/LG/Nokia are free to implement separate solutions.
    – ce4
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 12:11
  • 3
    As "Why" questions are neither good fitting (and subject to be closed as "not constructive"), I took the freedom to convert it to a "How" question -- leaving the "shopping part" in a "small corner" to be "less offending" :) I hope it fits your purpose this way.
    – Izzy
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 12:23

6 Answers 6


Apple and Android headphone wiring standard is different. You can either buy an converter or change wiring on headset connector. See here.

Apple Headphone is Not Working On Android or Windows Phone


Unfortunately, Android and IOS specify different hardware specs for the remote feature. The way the clicks get registered by the devices are not compatible. Sad, but true.

There are very few good solutions that I've found, but I have found a couple. So far, the best I've done is this combination:

  1. Samsung makes earbuds with a mic/remote specifically for android and they do work. Buying them is tricky. If you search amazon, you can find them offered as low as $2. They are, of course, garbage. They work for a few weeks and don't sound too bad but they're not actually OEM product, they're cheap copies. Still, for a few dollars I pick up a few packages at a time and use them until they break.

    There are others out there, but they're hard to find.

  2. Since I want to use my remote earbuds with audible (which is why I want to pause when I want to listen to someone talking to me, so I don't miss out on the reading of the book), I find the audible app is not aware of the button pushes. To solve this, there's an app out there in the Android market called "Headset Droid" which is excellent at directing the button pushes to where you want them to end up.

    The combination of the cheap knockoff "samsung" buds with the headset droid app works well for me.

HeadsetDroid also has a feature that lets you test different earbud remotes. Plug them in, and use the headset droid feature and when you push a button on the remote the software will tell you waht button was pushed. It's a great little tool to see if the earbud remote you're using is compatible.


You might consider Bluetooth headphones. They sound worse than wired at the same price, but make up for that by not depending on how good the headphone amp in your phone is. Relevantly, the volume and play/pause/next/prev buttons are a standard part of the protocol, so one set of 'phones will work with anything that has Bluetooth.


Go to the Play Store and get Headset Button Controller. You can try the free version first to make sure it works.

The app allows you to use the center button to control everything. You can, for example, set the volume to adjust with 4 clicks of the center button. For me, it starts at 20 percent and keeps rising to 100 percent until I press once again to stop the increase. To go lower simply click 4 times to restart the increase from 20 percent to what ever you choose to stop at. I think default is 20 percent to 80 percent. For me, 20 to 100 percent is best.

I can still pick up calls with this setup as well. I find this to be better then to the inline volume rocker.


As said. Android and Apple has different hardware and dont work on each others Plattforms. You need to get an actual "made for Android" headset. This is a video showing an Android headset 3-button and the Nexus 5


I have used these Sabotage Royales for some time with my Nexus 5 and Im very please. Very powerful sound and good balance, with a twist of extra Bass. Just like daddy likes it ;-)


Strictly out of luck, I bought a pair of headphones (from groupon of all places) model name: musicians choice, Company: able planet. Here is the link for them on amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Able-Planet-Musicians-Headphone-Metallic/dp/B009XHW31K/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1371136988&sr=1-2&keywords=able+planet+musicians+choice

They are over the ear (my preference) and reasonably priced (40$ (I got mine for 20$ on group on)) Most importantly, they sound great. (better than ipod headphones, better than phillips, better than JVC. The sound is par with bose earbuds, but has less quality than bose over the ear headphones.

What I think is unique about them, is that the cord is separate from the speaker/headphone portion, but contains a headphone socket, in the right earpeice for the cord. The cord that comes in the box with them has a volume control dial on it (analog I believe) which also works fabulously.

The volume control works with my android motorola cell phone, ipod, macbook, dell, etc. You can buy auxillary (heaphone jack, (TRS connector)) extension cords at Radioshack or wherever, which sometimes have a romote control on them. You would just need to find 1 extension cord that has a remote for apple software, and 1 that has a remote for (all) other software. (I wish there was a 'rolling eyes' emoticon).

Hopefully, this a somewhat managable solution to your problem. I'd love to hear an update.

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