Why the headphone jack is at the bottom of the iPhone 5

When Apple unveiled the new design of the iPhone 5, one of the significant changes was that the headphone jack moved to the bottom. Every iPhone prior to the 5 has had the headphone jack on the top and the analog connector on the bottom. However, this isn’t the first time Apple has had the headphone jack at the bottom. Older generations of the iPod touch and nano once sported the bottom headphone jack.

Some people don’t like the change but I personally love it. I think from a design standpoint, it makes a lot more sense. Let’s look at a few use cases of the benefit.

Use Case #1: Phone is on desk

With the headphone jack at the bottom, users can sit at their desks and listen to music and keep the phone right-side up. On the older models, your phone would be flipped upside-down. Having the phone right-side up allows a user to easily read push notifications and answer calls without having to flip the phone around or read it upside-down. The other aspect is the headphone cable will not interfere with the screen.

Use Case #2: Phone is in user’s back pocket

Most users who listen to music on their iPhones are on the go as they walk. Put your phone in your pocket naturally. What you’ll notice is you more-than-likely will put the phone with the headphones sticking out of your pocket. This is so your headphones don’t get jammed up in your pocket. Users will now grab their phone naturally without having to flip the phone in his or her hand.

Use Case #3: User is using device while listening to music and/or charging

One use case someone brought up in a negative way was the headphone jack getting in the way of holding the phone as you were charging it. As you see in the photo above, I can still squeeze a finger in there (that’s what she said) with no major issue.

Use Case #4: User is driving and has phone connected to dashboard

When the new connector docks are available for cars, users can now connect both peripherals at the bottom instead of having a headphone jack at the top and the power charger at the bottom. This allows a cleaner connection without cables getting in the way of your driving experience.


As you can see, there is a lot of thought and consideration for Apple making this move to bring the headphone jack to the bottom. I comment this move and think it is optimal for most users.

What is your opinion?

  • I’m a big fan. I’ve been putting my iPhone 4 in my pocket upside down, as it were for quite some time as I like it being the right way up when I extract it. Now that the headphone jack is at the bottom, I don’t have to consciously flip it around if I have headphones plugged in.

  • It is definitely something you have to get used to. I don’t mind the jack at the bottom now and I agree with your user cases, it’s just that now the jack hits you almost in the palm of your hand if you have the phone horizontal. Where when the jack was on the top it was near the top of your palm closer to you thumb and you could still play games without it being in the the middle of your hand (almost). I’m sure I will get used to it, just something to adjust for…

  • Guest

    Whether top or bottom is not important. What is important is that all connections be on the same end. Say you want to charge AND plug in the charger in a small car. You want to stand the phone up in, say, the cup holder. It just isn’t possible to do that with wires at both ends- one will be stressed and cause damage.

  • gottfired

    I hate it. I always use cases where the whole phone slips in. I could easily pull out the phone and look at the time AND listen to music. That’s not possible anymore. For music I have to insert the phone upside down but then I have to pull out the whole phone for the time.

  • Dang it

    It is a problem for those of us that listen to our iPhones at the gym…when it was on top we could easily have the phone on the ledge of any machine and see our notifications and whatever else on the screen. Now we must turn it on the side or worse, lay it down.