I just recently performed a teardown of the Apple Lightning Earphones to see if the stock Earphones could be replaced/modded for different drivers. I plan to use the lightning adapter and then change the earphones/cabling to something better.

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your EarPods with Lightning Connector, use our service manual.

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  • As you can see, there are 5 wires going into the mic/volume control. The red/red stripe are passed through to the right earphone, while the other 3 (red, green, & orange) are twisted together and wired for the mic/volume controls.

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  • Close-up view of the right side wires passing through the in-line controller and going to the right earphone.

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  • Close-up view of the left side cable stripped to expose green/green stripe wires for the left earphone.

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Mason Dowell

Member since: 09/22/2016

142 Reputation

1 Guide authored


@oldturkey03 The device has 7 wires just like the adapter. 2 for the left earphone, 2 for the right earphone, and 3 for the mic/volume control.

Mason Dowell - Reply

@masongdowell you are absolutely right. Sorry about the miscount. Old eyes and not enough sleep :-)

oldturkey03 -

It seems like the EarPods maintain discrete ground wires for all 3 signal lines out of the amp, as well as the common ground, but combines them for any headphones plugged into the adapter jack. Does this mean the Lightning EarPods are providing balanced lines throughout? Whereas the adaptor is an unbalanced converter?

These 7 wires still have to be resolved onto four conductors of the TRRS jack of the adapter. So that means that of the four conductors, L, R, Mic, & Ground, only the L, R & Mic are discreet. The ground sleeve is where the L-, R-, & Mic-, must converge. So essentially 4 out of 7 wires are common ground in this adapter.

So what would happen if I cut off the EarPods, and took the 4 wires and connected them to a TRS jack for attaching a pair of basic stereo headphones with TRS plug? I'd combine both negative L & R wires to the common ground. Basically converting a basic headphone into one with a remote and Mic. Would this result in any loss of quality?

Mac 128 - Reply

This also makes me think the amp in the Lightning adapter is compromised to provide headphone and line level output, while the Earbuds probably have a custom amp for providing optimal headphone output. That may be why there are two different chips.

Mac 128 - Reply

I have to wonder if the wiring is the same for the 3.5mm EarPods as it is with the Lightning pair.

Link to: 3.5mm Apple EarPods Teardown

In other words, do both have 7 wires, connecting in the same configuration, and if so, are the remote controls a simple analogue ground short variety like the 3.5mm pair, or are they actual digital controls, as featured with the Audeze Sine Lightning headphones remote?

Mac 128 - Reply

Is the DAC chip in the Lighting connector? I'm wondering to mod this EarPods as a DAC cable

L XY - Reply

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