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View Full Version : Using the corded iPhone headset with VOIP on a MacBook




thesheep
Feb 19, 2008, 04:41 AM
I've become used to the great corded headset that comes with my iPhone (even though the first one lost sound in the left ear and I had to buy another). I love the tiny mic, the whole thing is so light-weight.

What I find is that I start to naturally use the same headset when I'm using my MBP - just because it's often round my neck anyway.

Wouldn't it be great if I could use the MIC from the headset with the MBP as well? Then I could use it properly for iChat/Skype calls.

I'm wondering if it should be possible for someone to manufacture an adaptor that fits the special 4-contact plug on the headset, and separates off the mic part so that it creates 2 normal mini jack plugs, that could be plugged into the MBP headphone & mic sockets. Would be great. Anyone heard of such a thing?

I had a Plantronics headset before for VOIP and the thing was so bulky and cluttered, with a long cord, that it was more trouble than it was worth. Second on my list would be a really simple, light-weight USB headset, with a fairly short cord (of course I couldn't use this with the iPhone, I'd just leave it plugged into the MBP).

I guess a Bluetooth headset might also be a good idea. But by all accounts pairing and re-pairing sets between the iPhone and MBP is not so convenient, and that's exactly what you'd need to be able to do in a hurry.

Anyone else have any thoughts/experience on this issue?



thesheep
Feb 20, 2008, 03:39 PM
Nobody? I feel alone...

leturner
Feb 25, 2008, 03:42 PM
you are definitely not alone. I've searched for the same thing with no luck.

And unfortunately a simple "Y" splitter from iPhone combo jack to separate in/out jacks won't really help. The standard mac "mic" port is line-in and needs a powered mic-in jack.

Better solution is a USB audio controler - basically an audio card on a USB stick. Several relatively inexpensive ones out there. But they all have 2 port in/outs .... and we're back to needing a "Y" splitter.

Which doesn't seem to exist. And a USB Dongle + "Y" splitter + iPhone headset cable makes for a clunky set up anyway.

So I guess what we're really looking for is:


a USB adaptor with a single "combo" port for iPhone/Other combo jack headsets. OR
a USB adapter with 2 port IN/OUT but with 'auto-sense' headphone port that can function as a combo jack. OR
a USB adapter with a companion "adapter tip" - essentially a solid state "Y" splitter (a custom 'plug' extender instead of wires - we're looking for elegance here ;)


Ideally we'd just want the 'adapter tip' to use with whatever USB dongle we want, but I doubt USB port spacing is standardized industry wide.

C'mon, any third party makers out there listening? We can't be the only ones looking for something like this!

ChrisN
Feb 25, 2008, 03:58 PM
I tried that once too when I was on skype/teamspeex with some buddies, I really wish it worked.

ChrisN

thesheep
Mar 3, 2008, 09:06 AM
C'mon, any third party makers out there listening?

Or, even better, Apple could make the phones socket on next gen Macbook/MBP work with the iPhone headset... can't be that hard.

pettijohn
Jun 11, 2008, 02:16 PM
I ordered a 4-connector 3.5mm jack and did a little of soldering to make one of these Y adapters. It works perfectly in my laptop :) Check out pictures, more details and a pinout if you want to make your own: http://travis.pettijohn.com/blog/entry/2008/6/8/736_use_an_iphone_headset_for_voip

leturner
Jun 12, 2008, 09:00 AM
pettijohn, we thank you, we salute you.

But I'm curious. As I said above, I thought the mac mic jack required powered mic line-in input. You've had no trouble with sound quality with just the simple "Y" splitter?

Or are you using this as a combo with a usb audio dongle?

pettijohn
Jun 13, 2008, 07:38 AM
But I'm curious. As I said above, I thought the mac mic jack required powered mic line-in input. You've had no trouble with sound quality with just the simple "Y" splitter?

Or are you using this as a combo with a usb audio dongle?

I'm actually using it on a Toshiba Tecra M9, so I can't answer your question. Do you have an unpowered mic anywhere that you could plug in to test with? If some other unpowered mic works, then I'm positive that the iPhone mic would work. Let us know!

thesheep
Jun 16, 2008, 04:43 AM
Ingenious, pettijohn.

Shame about the powered mic thing. Now, if you could solve that too, you could start a little business selling them on the internet!

Gerardo Costill
Jul 14, 2008, 09:16 AM
Guys, I don't believe that he USB thing is really necessary. From what I understand our desktop/laptops bring the power needed by any passive microphone into it, just as the iPhone headset expects.

I believe in what pettijohn says about his solution, it sounds logical and consistent. I'm in the process of getting the parts in order to build mine too.

Again, I believe that the USB thing is unnecessary, unless your desktop/laptop is missing the mic and headphones input ports --I recall that I once had an iBook with no microphone input jack, so in order to use mi iPhone headset (which is a Vmoda, btw), I would definitely need to get a USB sound card dongle first.

I hope this helps, as soon as I build my adapter by following pettitjohn's, I'll post back to confirm that it works. I'll get the pieces tomorrow (tomorrow is payday here).

Gerardo Costilla
coxport@gmail.com


I've become used to the great corded headset that comes with my iPhone (even though the first one lost sound in the left ear and I had to buy another). I love the tiny mic, the whole thing is so light-weight.

What I find is that I start to naturally use the same headset when I'm using my MBP - just because it's often round my neck anyway.

Wouldn't it be great if I could use the MIC from the headset with the MBP as well? Then I could use it properly for iChat/Skype calls.

I'm wondering if it should be possible for someone to manufacture an adaptor that fits the special 4-contact plug on the headset, and separates off the mic part so that it creates 2 normal mini jack plugs, that could be plugged into the MBP headphone & mic sockets. Would be great. Anyone heard of such a thing?

I had a Plantronics headset before for VOIP and the thing was so bulky and cluttered, with a long cord, that it was more trouble than it was worth. Second on my list would be a really simple, light-weight USB headset, with a fairly short cord (of course I couldn't use this with the iPhone, I'd just leave it plugged into the MBP).

I guess a Bluetooth headset might also be a good idea. But by all accounts pairing and re-pairing sets between the iPhone and MBP is not so convenient, and that's exactly what you'd need to be able to do in a hurry.

Anyone else have any thoughts/experience on this issue?

thesheep
Oct 15, 2008, 11:51 AM
Hey! Looks like Apple have answered our prayers here. I was really happy to read that the new Macbooks work with the iPhone headsets! Brilliant. Apparently the microphone works too, and you can pause iTunes from the headphones.

Unfortunately the new MBPs don't have an option for a matte screen, so I won't be buying one any time soon... damn. Can't live with all those reflections.

leturner
Oct 16, 2008, 07:28 AM
thats great! I was wondering if they would consider it in a new rev of their product line. seemed like a reasonable evolution.

Now i just have to .... go buy a new MacBook Pro, sigh.

pettijohn
Jan 17, 2009, 12:16 PM
To anyone looking for an adapter to use an iPhone headset on your computer for VoIP or otherwise, ShowMeCables.com has started making them commercially available. http://www.showmecables.com/viewItem.asp?idProduct=8183

dvdhsu
Jan 17, 2009, 02:03 PM
Thanks for all the info ettijohn!

Carnivor
Jan 17, 2009, 02:14 PM
how about if you could use your actual iphone as a cordless connection to the mb/mbp, via bluetooth or wifi. I cant see it being that complex to write it would just be the app store process that could get in the way

iCello
Oct 15, 2009, 10:01 AM
Can anyone confirm that the adapter on Showmecables works wth apple iPhone 3g headset and unibody Macbook, Late 08?

bryanus
Jun 28, 2010, 06:21 PM
I've been looking for this same type of adapter in the USB-4-conductor-single-jack form and can't find it. Well I found one on eBay, but I am not 100% sure it does what it claims to do.

So I bought a standard USB headset that has the dual 3.5mm cables and a USB adapter. When I tried to plug the cables directly into their respective jacks on my 17" late 2009 MBP unibody (has separate jacks for line in and out), the Mic didn't work at all.

kikedeolivos
Jun 28, 2010, 07:17 PM
I've been looking for this same type of adapter in the USB-4-conductor-single-jack form and can't find it. Well I found one on eBay, but I am not 100% sure it does what it claims to do.

So I bought a standard USB headset that has the dual 3.5mm cables and a USB adapter. When I tried to plug the cables directly into their respective jacks on my 17" late 2009 MBP unibody (has separate jacks for line in and out), the Mic didn't work at all.

Same here, Oct. '08 Macbook.

I've tried a pair of regular Sennheiser PC headset (2 miniplugs) and the mic didn't work. I ended up buying a Logitech USB headset and presto; it worked tight out of the box. (There an Audio Interface in the USB plug)

MobileMeerkat
Nov 3, 2010, 01:06 PM
Why have a separate computer headset when you always have your phone headset on you all the time? This drove me a bit mad the fact that there didnt exist a simple little adapter sold on its own to interface between the iphone headset and the computer.
In the end i bought the RadioPaq Chatter headset
http://hmv.com/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?ctx=325;16;-1;-1;234&sku=368957 purely because it came with its own little USB adapter. The headset is truely TERRIBLE!!!!!!!! with that cheap and nasty wheel volume control that eventually cleverly converts music into crackling noise, and should have been phased out 20 years ago. But the usb adapter works perfectly first time, exactly as you'd want it to. The headset spends its days residing in some landfill site somewhere where it belongs, but the tiny wee adapter goes everywhere i go.
The normal man on the street might gag at the thought of spending 30 for a headset when all you actually want is the usb adapter, but i'm a very impatient chap and.... well..... job done.

bryanus
Nov 3, 2010, 01:46 PM
I'm surprised that adapter works for you. I found a similar one on eBay a few months ago and it didn't work on my MacPro or my 17" uMBP. I got a ton of feedback and the headset wasn't usable. I ended up returning it to the seller.

FWIW, here is the adapter: http://www.amazon.com/3-5mm-Female-Stereo-Microphone-Adapter/dp/B0032AEF42

Some reviews say it works, though. YMMV.

In the end I sold my 17" uMBP and got a 13" uMBP that supports the iPhone headset through it's headphone jack directly.


Why have a separate computer headset when you always have your phone headset on you all the time? This drove me a bit mad the fact that there didnt exist a simple little adapter sold on its own to interface between the iphone headset and the computer.
In the end i bought the RadioPaq Chatter headset
http://hmv.com/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?ctx=325;16;-1;-1;234&sku=368957 purely because it came with its own little USB adapter. The headset is truely TERRIBLE!!!!!!!! with that cheap and nasty wheel volume control that eventually cleverly converts music into crackling noise, and should have been phased out 20 years ago. But the usb adapter works perfectly first time, exactly as you'd want it to. The headset spends its days residing in some landfill site somewhere where it belongs, but the tiny wee adapter goes everywhere i go.
The normal man on the street might gag at the thought of spending 30 for a headset when all you actually want is the usb adapter, but i'm a very impatient chap and.... well..... job done.

tsmacman
Nov 3, 2010, 06:34 PM
Most of the new mb's and mbp's work with the iphone mic if you just plug it into the headphone jack, at least thats the way it works on my white unibody mb and i have used it on several mbp's and aluminum mb's

bryanus
Nov 3, 2010, 06:40 PM
The iphone headset will only work on macbooks and uMBP 13"; both of which do not have separate mic and headphone jacks like the 15" and 17" uMBP's do.


Most of the new mb's and mbp's work with the iphone mic if you just plug it into the headphone jack, at least thats the way it works on my white unibody mb and i have used it on several mbp's and aluminum mb's

leturner
Nov 4, 2010, 11:34 AM
Actually the iPhone headset will work in the "Headphones" jack of all recent Apple computers except, I think, the Mac Pro desktop. Macbooks since late 2008, Macbook Pros mid/late 2009, iMacs mid 2009, and the 2010 Mac Minis and Macbook Airs.

You can check specs on all of them here:

Apple Support Tech Specs (http://support.apple.com/specs/#support%20%20%22Stereo%20headset%22%20%22iPhone%20headset%22%20%22Earphones%22)

The computer model specs need to list support for:

Apple Stereo headset
Apple iPhone headset
Apple Earphones


The iphone headset will only work on macbooks and uMBP 13"; both of which do not have separate mic and headphone jacks like the 15" and 17" uMBP's do.

bryanus
Nov 4, 2010, 02:55 PM
Perhaps it's supported in the newer MBPs (late-2009 and newer), but my mid-2009 17" uMBP was not compatible with the iPhone headset.

Looking at the specs for the mid-2009 uMBP, the audio section does not list that iPhone headset:

http://support.apple.com/kb/SP546

Actually the iPhone headset will work in the "Headphones" jack of all recent Apple computers except, I think, the Mac Pro desktop. Macbooks since late 2008, Macbook Pros mid/late 2009, iMacs mid 2009, and the 2010 Mac Minis and Macbook Airs.

You can check specs on all of them here:

Apple Support Tech Specs (http://support.apple.com/specs/#support%20%20%22Stereo%20headset%22%20%22iPhone%20headset%22%20%22Earphones%22)

The computer model specs need to list support for:

Apple Stereo headset
Apple iPhone headset
Apple Earphones

leturner
Nov 29, 2010, 01:53 PM
That is really odd, because the specs for the uMBP early 2009 (both 15" and 17" listed) DO show support for the iPhone headset:

http://support.apple.com/kb/SP503

The mystery deepens:

Perhaps it's supported in the newer MBPs (late-2009 and newer), but my mid-2009 17" uMBP was not compatible with the iPhone headset.

Looking at the specs for the mid-2009 uMBP, the audio section does not list that iPhone headset:

http://support.apple.com/kb/SP546

bryanus
Nov 29, 2010, 02:10 PM
The difference is that you're looking at EARLY-2009 and mine was a MID-2009. It was dropped in the MID-2009 for whatever reason, then brought back I guess in later models.

That is really odd, because the specs for the uMBP early 2009 (both 15" and 17" listed) DO show support for the iPhone headset:

http://support.apple.com/kb/SP503

The mystery deepens: