Listening to music and making calls on your iPhone is a much better experience when you have a nice pair of earbuds. Whether you prefer traditional wired earbuds or cutting-edge wireless models, there are plenty of excellent options to choose from. This guide will walk you through the top earbuds for iPhone users on the market, focusing on critical factors like sound quality, connectivity, noise isolation, and price.
Apple’s iPhone has long been one of the most popular smartphones, known for its sleek design, user-friendly interface, and extensive app ecosystem. With excellent built-in speakers and support for wireless audio standards like Bluetooth, the iPhone is also a great device for listening to music and making calls.
But the tiny speakers on the iPhone itself provide a somewhat limited audio experience. Earbuds can offer far superior sound quality and noise isolation. They also provide the convenience of private listening without disturbing those around you.
Earbuds come in two main types – wired and wireless. Wired earbuds physically plug into the iPhone’s Lightning port or headphone jack, while wireless earbuds connect via Bluetooth. There are excellent options available in both categories.
This guide covers the leading earbuds across several price points, use cases, and form factors. Keep reading to discover which model is the best match for your personal needs and budget.
Factors to Consider When Choosing iPhone Earbuds
There are several key factors to weigh when shopping for the best earbuds for your iPhone:
- Sound quality: How accurate and well-balanced is the audio reproduction? Look for earbuds that offer clear highs, dynamic mids, and full bass.
- Noise isolation: Earbuds that form a tight seal in your ear canal block out ambient noise. This is crucial for private listening in noisy environments.
- Comfort: You want earbuds that feel good and stay put comfortably in your ears over extended listening sessions. Ergonomic designs and interchangeable eartips help.
- Connectivity: Wired earbuds plug into the iPhone’s Lightning port or 3.5mm jack. Wireless earbuds connect via Bluetooth, with support for high-quality codecs like AAC. Seamless pairing and switching between Apple devices is ideal.
- Controls: On-board controls for volume, playback, calls, and voice assistants allow you to adjust your earbuds without reaching for your iPhone.
- Battery life: For wireless earbuds, longer battery life means you can listen for longer between charges. Quick charging also helps.
- Special features: Active noise cancellation, transparency/ambient sound mode, and water/sweat resistance all add functionality and versatility.
- Price: In-ear monitors with audiophile-level sound quality can cost over $1,000, while generic earbuds may be less than $20. Expect to spend $100-300 for quality earbuds with premium features.
Keep these factors in mind as we break down the best earbuds for iPhone owners below.
Best Wired Earbuds for iPhone
While wireless earbuds are increasingly popular, wired models still have some key benefits. They tend to be more affordable, with excellent sound for the price. You never have to worry about battery life or Bluetooth connectivity. Here are some top wired earbud recommendations for iPhone users:
1. Jabra Elite 7 Pro
The Jabra Elite 7 Pro earbuds offer tremendously versatile performance in a compact wired form factor. With a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz, they reproduce audio with excellent clarity across the spectrum. The 12mm titanium speaker drivers deliver powerful yet nuanced sound.
Jabra designed these earbuds with comfort in mind. The angled design matches your ear’s natural contours, while silicone EarGels come in three sizes for a secure personalized fit. All-day wear is painless.
Voice calls also shine thanks to the four-microphone system, which focuses on your voice while minimizing ambient noise. Press the large buttons on each earbud to control music, take calls, or activate Siri. At just $199, the Jabra Elite 7 Pro punches well above its weight.
2. Sennheiser Sport True Wireless Earbuds (iOS version)
Audiophiles looking for premium wired earbuds that interoperate seamlessly with iPhone should consider the Sennheiser AMBEO. These earbuds feature an extended frequency range up to 22kHz for incredibly detailed and nuanced sound across your music library.
The in-line microphone comes optimized for iOS, making voice calls clear on both ends of the line. Sennheiser’s mobile app even lets you personalize the sound profile with an intuitive equalizer.
At $299, the AMBEO headset is an investment reserved for serious iPhone users seeking studio-quality audio in a mobile form factor. The replaceable ear tips ensure all-day comfort too. If sound quality trumps all, Sennheiser delivers an unbeatable wired listening experience.
3. Pioneer Rayz Pro
With a frequency range of 10Hz up to 22kHz, the Pioneer Rayz Pro earphones recreate audio with incredible accuracy throughout the lows, mids, and highs. Each earbud contains multiple balanced armature drivers working together to pump out sound that rivals full-size headphones.
An in-line remote lets you control volume, music playback, and phone calls easily. The seven sets of included eartips essentially guarantee you’ll find a custom comfortable fit. At $149, these Pioneer earbuds make a strong case as the best sounding wired earbuds at this more affordable price point.
4. Belkin SoundForm Rise
If you want simple and comfortable wired earbuds without breaking the bank, Belkin’s SoundForm Rise is a great choice. The 12mm dynamic drivers produce highly detailed audio across a wide 20Hz to 20kHz frequency spectrum.
The lightweight aluminum housing rests gently in your ears, while the eartips provide a noise isolating seal to keep distractions at bay. One button lets you control music and calls. At just $39.99, the SoundForm Rise earbuds deliver surprisingly good sound quality for iPhone owners on a tight budget.
Best Wireless Earbuds for iPhone
Cut the cord with a stellar pair of Bluetooth earbuds designed to shine when used with an iPhone. Wireless models trade the hassle of cables for the convenience of free movement and oft-extended battery life. Apple users in particular benefit from special features like fast pairing, automatic device switching, and native integration with Siri. Here are the top wireless earbuds for iPhone available today:
1. Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Apple’s own brand new AirPods Pro 2nd generation represent the pinnacle of seamless connectivity and premium features for iPhone users. The upgraded H2 chip enables added functionality like personalized spatial audio and 2x more noise cancellation prowess than the original AirPods Pro.
Transparency mode lets external sound in when you need it. The earbuds detect when they’re in your ears, pausing playback when removed. Sweat and water resistance make them ideal workout companions. The customizable eartips deliver comfort along with excellent noise isolation.
And of course, pairing and switching between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac happens instantly and automatically. Starting at $249, these are simply the best wireless earbuds available for those deeply invested in the Apple device ecosystem.
2. Beats Flex Wireless
For iPhone users seeking an affordable but capable pair of wireless earbuds from Apple’s Beats brand, the Beats Flex are a great choice at just $49. The Flex earbuds last up to 12 hours on a charge and pair with just a tap to your iPhone or other Apple devices via the integrated W1 chip.
The Flex neckband design provides a secure fit, while the inline controls make it simple to adjust volume, skip tracks, and take calls. Four size options for the eartips ensure you’ll find a comfortable and sound isolating fit. While audio performance isn’t audiophile-grade, these lightweight earbuds deliver very solid sound quality for the low price.
3. Sony WF-1000XM5
Serious music aficionados will adore the Sony WF-1000XM5 wireless earbuds, which combine audiophile-level sound with best-in-class noise cancellation powered by Sony’s renowned integrated processor V1. Pairing is a breeze with Bluetooth 5.2 support. Sony’s mobile app unlocks customizable EQ settings and 360 Reality Audio compatibility.
The XM5 earbuds deliver deeply dynamic bass along with superb clarity and detail across the frequency curve from 20Hz to 40kHz. Eight hours of battery life keeps your tunes playing on the go. At $279, these Sonys compete with the AirPods Pro 2 as the top wireless earbuds for discerning iPhone audiophiles.
4. JBL Vibe Beam 2
For just $99, the JBL Vibe Beam 2 earbuds deliver features that compete with far pricier models. You get rich JBL sound with punchy bass reproduction and phone call quality enhanced by beamforming microphones. The slick matte black design is waterproof and sweat proof too.
Onboard touch controls make it easy to manage music, volume, and calls without reaching for your iPhone. Ambient Aware and TalkThru modes let you pipe in external sounds as needed. With up to 10 hours of battery life, these JBL earbuds are great bang-for-the-buck wireless companions for iPhone.
5. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
The premium Bose QuietComfort Earbuds set the bar for noise cancellation in true wireless form, eliminating an impressive 90% of ambient noise. Lifelike sound quality keeps your music shining through thanks to Bose’s proprietary Active EQ. Your voice also comes through clearly on calls even in windy conditions.
While expensive at $279, these earbuds deliver a first-class listening experience you’d expect from the Bose brand. The StayHear Max tips provide a secure comfortable fit for all-day wear. Six hours of battery life plus two extra charges from the wireless charging case make these Bose earbuds ideal for iPhone audiophiles who travel frequently.
Key Features to Compare
To recap, here are some of the most important features and specifications to cross-compare as you shop wireless and wired earbuds for your iPhone:
- Frequency response range
- Speaker driver size and type
- Noise isolation/cancellation effectiveness
- Comfort and ergonomic design
- Wired vs wireless connectivity
- Battery life (for wireless)
- Audio codec support (for wireless)
- Onboard control options
- Sweat/water resistance rating
- Companion app with customization features
- Price and value proposition
Prioritizing the features that matter most for your personal listening preferences will make it easy to select the best earbuds for your needs.
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about choosing and using earbuds with an iPhone:
How do I pair wireless earbuds to my iPhone?
To pair wireless earbuds, first enable Bluetooth in your iPhone settings. Open the charging case for your earbuds, which puts them in pairing mode. Your iPhone will detect the earbuds for pairing. Select them on your phone’s Bluetooth menu and follow the on-screen prompts to complete pairing.
Which wireless codec should I use?
Apple’s proprietary AAC codec offers excellent sound quality and reliability when using wireless earbuds with an iPhone. It’s enabled by default. But you can also use SBC or aptX if your earbuds support them. Avoid lower bitrate codecs like SBC for music listening.
Do wireless earbuds work with non-Apple devices?
Many wireless earbuds from companies like Sony, Bose, and Jabra support standard Bluetooth connectivity, so they will pair just fine with Android phones, Windows laptops, etc. Certain Apple/Beats models lacking Bluetooth may have limited compatibility outside the Apple ecosystem.
How do I get a secure fit?
Look for earbuds that come with multiple eartip size options. Trying all the sizes to find the best seal is key. Earbuds like the AirPods Pro also do a fit test to confirm you have the right eartip installed. Over-ear hooks and neckband styles also promote a more stable fit.
Can I swim with earbuds?
Most earbuds are not fully waterproof – only sweat/splash resistant. Some special models like the JBL Endurance Peak II allow you to safely swim laps while wearing them. But submerging standard earbuds will likely damage them over time.
How can I extend wireless earbud battery life?
Use a low power codec like AAC instead of aptX, turn off noise cancellation when not needed, lower the volume, and return earbuds to their case periodically. Avoid excessive heat exposure and let the battery discharge fully once per month. These habits will maximize battery lifespan.
Listening to music, podcasts, and calls on your iPhone is so much better with a nice pair of earbuds. Today’s earbuds deliver incredible sound quality, noise isolation, extended battery life, and seamless connectivity – especially when optimized for iPhone.
Whether you love the convenience of true wireless earbuds or prefer the simplicity and sound purity of wired models, there are so many excellent options to choose from. Carefully weigh factors like sound quality, comfort, battery life, and features that matter most to your preferences.
If top-notch active noise cancellation is crucial, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are phenomenal. For audiophile-level wireless sound, opt for the Sony WF-1000XM5. And budget-focused iPhone users will be thrilled with the performance of Beats Flex.
No matter your priorities, one of the earbuds profiled above is sure to satisfy. So explore the possibilities and start enjoying your music, movies, games, calls and more to the fullest with your beloved iPhone. The sound you’ve been missing is just an earbud away.