The 3.5mm headphone jack is no longer a standard when you buy a new phone, and if you aren't quite ready to pick up something like the excellent Sony WH-1000XM4 Bluetooth headphones — you probably want to know how to make wired headphones wireless and Bluetooth capable. Since nearly every smartphone these days has ditched the tried and true 3.5mm port, it can be difficult letting go of your top-of-the-line wired over-ear headphones. Though some of the best wireless headphones out are pretty great, when you have something you love, it's hard to let go of it — that goes for wired headphones too.
There are several options to convert your precious wired cans into Bluetooth beauties that'll work with your new phone and any other Bluetooth-enabled device!
Note: You may not get exactly the same quality when changing from a wired sound to a Bluetooth connection. Because of how Bluetooth works, you'll likely see a significant cut in the way your headphones sound — an inevitable trade-off in the name of convenience.
What are Bluetooth Receivers, and where can you use them?
Bluetooth receivers have been around for quite a while and have lots of helpful uses outside of helping to make a wired set of headphones wireless. They come in many shapes and sizes but offer the same basic function — accept a Bluetooth signal and pass it along to a broadcast mechanism.
The most common thing is to connect your smartphone to the Bluetooth receiver and play some music. I've been using these handy devices for the better part of a decade. Before Chromecast Audio became a thing, I used one to make my garage stereo a bit more modern. Then, before I had a vehicle with a head unit with Bluetooth built-in, I plugged a receiver into the AUX port to get wireless into my car.
Hagibis Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter Receiver
Featuring a unique and stylish design with multiple compatibility options for whichever brand of headphones you prefer, this option from Hagibis is an outstanding choice for adding Bluetooth functionality to your wired headphones. However, that said, it only works with higher-end over-ear headphones with a removable AUX cable.
The design of this adapter allows it to bend just below the 3.5mm plug. This ability means that you can shape the adapter once you plug it into your headphones to better follow your ear cups' curves. Making it much less obtrusive and look better too.
For such a small package, Hagibis packs tons of functionality into it. There's Bluetooth 5.0 for excellent connection stability with your phone, support for AptX HD and AptX for low-latency connectivity, and a gold plated jack plug for superior audio fidelity. It has a battery life of up to 5 hours, and you can recharge via Micro-USB. Featuring RX Mode, connect your headphones to two sources so that you won't miss a thing.
APEKX Clip Bluetooth 4.1 Audio Adapter
The APEKX Bluetooth 4.1 adapter works with any pair of headphones or earbuds with a 3.5mm cable. Simply plug your headphones into the 3.5mm jack, pair your phone or another Bluetooth-enabled device to the APEKX, and you're good to go. The APEKX features a built-in microphone with noise-canceling capabilities, multipoint technology to allow for simultaneous connections to multiple devices, and big buttons for controlling playback, volume, and accepting calls. There's a small clip on the back for attaching to your shirt; otherwise, the APEKX will fit quite nicely in your pocket.
Yes, this option still leaves you with a length of wire to contend with, but given how it will work with any pair of headphones with a 3.5mm plug, it offers 7 hours of playback and easy-to-use controls. It's an excellent option for untethering your wired headphones from your phone at a very reasonable $14.
Mpow Steamboat Mini Bluetooth 4.0 Music Receiver
The Mpow Steamboat Mini is a fantastically versatile Bluetooth adapter for giving any wired headphones the power of Bluetooth 4.0. It comes with a double-sided 3.5mm adapter which is perfect for the AUX jack in your car stereo or headphones with a removable AUX cable — as long as you don't mind the awkward look of a box hanging off the end of one side of your headphones. It looks like your headphones have their own Bluetooth headset.
Don't like that look? Remove the adapter, and you've got a 3.5mm jack on a Bluetooth receiver that'll work with pretty much any standard pair of headphones or earbuds. You'll be able to connect your Mpow up to two devices at the same time, with a range of up to 30 feet in open spaces. The built-in battery provides up to 10 hours of play and talks time, with 120 hours of standby time. When it's time to recharge, simply plug in a Micro-USB cable, and you're fully charged in 90 minutes.
Making this accessory all the better is the price; Available for about $17, you really can't go wrong with trying out the Mpow Bluetooth Adapter.
How to modernize your headphones wired connection
Okay, so this adapter isn't exactly a wireless option, but if you're looking for the easiest and simplest way to convert your old wired headphones into a pair that can function with your new phone, picking up a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter provides the best pass-through with little to no reduction in sound quality.
While you could get a basic adapter from Amazon, USB-C can be a bit tricky. If you pick up a poorly made one, it could do more damage than good. The best adapter for you is going to be based on your phone since all the major phone manufacturers make one — some even come in the box with the phone.
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