Convenient Anker adapter converts iPhone headphones to USB-C [Review]

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Anker USB-C to Lightning Audio Adapter review
Use iPhone headphones with your MacBook or iPad Pro with this handy adapter.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Anker’s latest adapter lets Apple fans bring a single pair of wired headphones to use with their iPhone, Mac and even iPad Pro. It’s a simple gizmo that converts Lightning audio to USB-C.

You won’t need an adapter to read our hands-on review.

Anker USB-C to Lightning Audio Adapter review

The design of this accessory is simple: a short cable with a USB-C connector on one end and a Lightning port on the other.

There are a lot of benefits in simplicity, but consider that there’s no second USB-C port to supply power to the computer while headphones are being used. This is not an issue for MacBook models with multiple ports, but it makes using this adapter with an iPad more questionable.

Also, don’t mistake this for a universal Lightning-to-USB-C converter. It does audio and that’s all. We tried a couple of other accessories with no luck.

Anker’s accessory is 4 inches long, making it about as portable as possible. It’s white to match the headphones Apple bundles with every iPhone. There’s no trouble carrying the headphones around with this adapter attached.

The build seems good. The short cable between the two connectors is fairly thick, and the whole product appears capable of standing up to regular use.

Anker put a Lightning port on one end and a USB-C connector on the other
Anker put a Lightning port on one end and a USB-C connector on the other.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Anker USB-C to Lightning Audio Adapter performance

We tested Anker’s audio adapter with a MacBook, iPad Pro and even an Android. It performed just as expected with all three.

Anker tested its adapter with Lightning headphones made by an array of companies and promises they all work. We did our tests with a pair that came bundled with an iPhone because those are the ones we think a majority of people will use.

Its manufacturer promises that this adapter provides full digital 48KHz/24-bit lossless audio transmission. In real-world use, we detect no difference in quality between songs played on an iPhone and then same ones played on an iPad through this adapter.

This accessory doesn’t interfere with the microphone built in Apple’s headphones. The volume control buttons work too.

Anker USB-C to Lightning Audio Adapter final thoughts

Apple wants everyone to use Bluetooth so it’s making no effort to provide a unified way to connect wired headphones. iPhones use Lightning, Macs have a 3.5mm headset jack and USB-C, while iPads employ just USB-C. The Anker USB-C to Lightning Audio Adapter allows a pair of iPhone headphones to be used with any of these.

It might have been nice if this adapter also had a USB-C charge port, but this accessory does everything it’s designed to do very well.

Pricing

Anker’s price for this audio adapter is $29.99. That’s in-line with rival products.

Buy from: Amazon — Out of stock

Similar converters include the Kanex DuraBraid USB-C to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter, which goes for $29.95. Or Satechi offers its own 3.5-mm adapter that sells for $24.99

Anker provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more stuff we recommend.