I am trying to use my white in ear iPhone/Apple headphones with my HTC Thunderbolt. I can hear, but the mic does not work with the thunderbolt. Any suggestions for a fix? A specific app or setting I should use?

For clarification. . . my headphones work fine with my Apple iPhone. But when plugged into my android phone, the mic does not work. A guy from BestBuy said, that Apple iPhones doe not work with Android devices. This seems odd (and likely incorrect). . . hence my post here.

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    You mean the mic on the phone itself won't work while the headphones are plugged in, right? – newuser Mar 28 '11 at 17:40
  • I think he means the mic on the headphones. Don't iPhone headphones have a mic? – Daniel Mar 28 '11 at 17:43
  • @Daniel Presumably some do? I haven't seen ones with a mic myself. – Matthew Read Mar 28 '11 at 17:47
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    I mean the mic on the headphone does not work. But the headphone set is not broken--it works fine with other phones. I was told my a bestbuy guy, that apple headphones do not work with android devices. That sounds really odd. Hence my post here. – zkidd Mar 28 '11 at 17:51
  • @Matthew Good to know - for some reason I thought they all had a mic. – Daniel Mar 28 '11 at 17:51

11 Answers 11


They both may have 3.5mm jacks, but if you look at it you can see the the insulating plastic bands around the metal jack. The problem is that Apple wire these sections of the jack up to different inputs than other manufacturers, so that different sections of the jack carry different signals than normal.

I have heard that as long as you're happy with getting mono rather than stereo sound out of the speakers, then you can get the microphone to work by pulling the jack out of the socket slightly. RIM used to do the same thing with their 3.5mm jacks on Blackberrys, but I believe they use the same configuration as most manufacturers (except Apple) now.

  • I tried this. . . makes sense. But it actually did not work on the Thunderbolt. – zkidd Mar 29 '11 at 15:29
  • For what it's worth, Apple use the industry standard pinout for their TRRS (headset) jack on their devices (macs as well as iPhones/.iPods). I have a DInc and several HTC Evos, and the "designed for iPhone" klipsch Image s4i headset works as expected. The mic works, the play/pause button works, and I get stereo sound out of the 'buds. – devnul3 Aug 28 '11 at 16:42
  • @devnul3 This is the industry standard, which Apple does not follow – endolith Aug 22 '16 at 19:17
  • That's one industry standard, yes. Apple follows the more popular CTIA standard, which seems like the appropriate standard for a wireless company to adopt. blog.audio-technica.com/… – devnul3 Aug 27 '16 at 1:40

An Apple accessory only working in Apple hardware - sounds about right to me ;-). You can get converters take a look here but it's probably cheaper to just get some 'standard' ones.

  • I really don't want to use an adaptor. Besides both have 3.5 mm headphone jacks – zkidd Mar 28 '11 at 18:37
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    That's understandable, but Apple is known for not following standards. Hard to fight that. If you want to use the i phones on a non i product - adapter. Or cut the cord and rewire. I haven't tried it myself, but it sounds like the Mic and Ground conductors are swapped between the Apple headphones and standard ones. – Saiboogu Mar 28 '11 at 19:01
  • @zkidd: Not all 3.5mm jacks are the same, Apple have obviously made theirs so that the contacts do not line up with the 'standard' configuration. – DilbertDave Mar 28 '11 at 19:36
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    @DilbertDave. Yes they are. – devnul3 Aug 28 '11 at 16:44
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    I stand corrected (maybe) but the fact remains that @zkidd (and others) are having problems. The headphones are not faulty but won't work with the Thunderbolt. Maybe I should have said 'not all headphones are the same' ;-) – DilbertDave Aug 30 '11 at 13:17

This (the mic not working) is apparently a widely known bug with the Thunderbolt. Sorry, this is probably not the answer you were looking for, but it appears to be an issue with that particular phone and TRRS (tip ring ring sleeve) headsets.

Out of curiosity, do you see a "headset" (little boom below the 'phones) icon on the phone when you plug it in, or just the stereo headphones icon?

Apple uses the standard pinout in their headset jack, and the button works the normal way (by crossing ground/common and mic). If you have a phone that follows the standard, it should work


I have been neck deep in exactly this for a long time, the problem is Apple innovates special stuff that's not compatible with other brands, they have deals with many accessory manufactures to make stuff that has many functions like Mic and buttons that do great things like change tracks and skip etc.

What I find is Android is totally lacking, and it's a gamble when you try it. Some things work with either or, some with specific phone models, there's just so many different things all trying to do everything at once.

I use Skullcandy headphones, which i love, and have a Thunderbolt

I found out certain types of headphones only work with Apple, the label says it, some with both Apple and Android, to an extent. Apple has the button actions that Android doesn't, the Mic OS hit or miss. I found there's the buttons on the wire that have a rocker with center, they seem to only work with Apple, Mic too, but the smaller single button works with the Mic.

I can turn my mp3 player with one press and call the the last number connected via voice call with double press...but its so complicated and many variables, just don't try to use headphones for both platforms if they specifically say works with iPhone, iPad and i-etc...what a ramble...


I have the Droid Incredible 2, and I was running into the same thing, but I figured out a way to get it to work: hold down the volume down button of the headset while inserting into your phone. You should now see the headset recognized as a microphone headset, and so your mic and your clicker should both work.

  • This makes my headset get recognized properly, but still the mic doesn't work. – mlissner Nov 13 '11 at 23:03
  • On my phone, this trick allows the internal mic not to be disabled. You only think you're recording with your headset. Basically when you press the centre button, you're shorting out the mic, so it's as if you plugged in a T/R/S headset with no microphone ring on the plug. – Kaz Oct 18 '13 at 4:14

The configuration for i devices in the case of headphones that also use a mic is different than for other products in general. Headphone & mic combos that state "designed specifically for ipod" etc. often will not function with non mac devices. The headphone may function but mic and volume controls etc may not function correctly. If you're lucky they will, if not so lucky....


The guy at Bestbuy has incorrectly informed you, it will work, but it depends on the phone. It works on my Droid Charge.. with the mic, I had to force the headphone plug to go further into the phone... and the mic work... the remote however requires a driver... that has not been made yet (to my knowledge) for the headphones


Found a fix after a couple minutes of messing with the headphones!! Plug your apple headphones with mic in then hold both volume up and down keys on the headphones until you see the symbol on the thunderbolt showing a headphone with a mic!

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    Meh. I have a Thunderbolt running Cyanogen 7. I have a Sony headset with three buttons, and this didn't do anything. – mlissner Nov 13 '11 at 22:57

Yes, you can download an app to change the priorities of the buttons.

I just got myself the Etymotic mc3 set (for iPhone), and use Headset Button Controller. You can make different profiles, and there are many options for the buttons... almost too many.

IMO, it's better having the three-button mic if you also own an iPod touch or iPhone.

You could also look at Klipsch S4a (Android), if you can find them.


"I was told my a bestbuy guy, that apple headphones do not work with android devices." thats not true you can video chat with someone on qik or tango and it works fine plus i have a pair of sony and bose that also dont work with it. and it has three rings at the input part of the headphones. I also have the HTC Thunderbolt.

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    Not an answer, use add comment instead. – Markissimo Nov 21 '12 at 11:55

Try downloading btunes for the thunderbolt and then holding down the volume button as you plug the head phones in. I have some Bose headphones I bought at the apple store and this seems to do the trick

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