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Pro Tip: Cure iPhone Earbud Entanglement

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If you listen to music on the go, chances are you suffer from tangled and knotted wires on your buds. I’ve discovered an effortless solution for keeping my 3GS buds untangled. If you want to learn my secret, watch the video below.

A few months back, I purchased a pair of Skullcandy Full Metal Jacket earphones. Unfortunately, they’ve stopped working and, what’s worse, the folks at Skullcandy still haven’t replied to any of my emails.

Rather than dwell on the disappointment of my bad Skullcandy buds, I decided to dig out the free headphones I received from Apple (s aapl) with my iPhone 3GS.

My bright white 3GS buds work wonderfully, plus they even feature in-line volume controls and a good quality mic. However the cables, being awkwardly spindly, tend to tangle up at any opportunity.

All the usual anti-tangling techniques involve rolling your wire up tightly — less movement means less potential for tangling. A tight roll can also damage the actual wire in your headphones, though.

I’ve happened upon a three-step technique that solves my tangling issues. There’s nothing to learn, there are no special knots, and there’s absolutely no wrapping, rolling or tying of any sort. It’s the perfect technique for lazy listeners.

It’s worth noting that you could probably use this method with any headphones, but I’ve only tried it using Apple’s iPhone 3GS buds. It’s made possible because of the little clip that’s attached to one of the wires on the 3GS headphones.

Note that I’ve found that one of the buds can get a little tangled occasionally, though most of the time, this trick works almost perfectly and I rarely encounter knots or tangles.

After testing this at home, I searched high and low and haven’t managed to find anyone else sharing this tip online. Please let me know in the comments if it works for you, too.

28 Responses to “Pro Tip: Cure iPhone Earbud Entanglement”

  1. RT @5wlim: 아이폰 번들이어폰 줄안꼬이게 보관하는 법. 좀 오래된 팁이지만 아직도 모르시는 분들이 많은 것 같아 간만에 재트윗.

  2. RT @5wlim: 아이폰 번들이어폰 줄안꼬이게 보관하는 법. 좀 오래된 팁이지만 아직도 모르시는 분들이 많은 것 같아 간만에 재트윗.

  3. RT @5wlim: 아이폰 번들이어폰 줄안꼬이게 보관하는 법. 좀 오래된 팁이지만 아직도 모르시는 분들이 많은 것 같아 간만에 재트윗.

  4. RT @5wlim: 아이폰 번들이어폰 줄안꼬이게 보관하는 법. 좀 오래된 팁이지만 아직도 모르시는 분들이 많은 것 같아 간만에 재트윗.

  5. 아이폰 번들이어폰 줄안꼬이게 보관하는 법. 좀 오래된 팁이지만 아직도 모르시는 분들이 많은 것 같아 간만에 재트윗.

  6. Looks good. I normally wrap them over 3 fingers about 2/3s of the way, and then I wrap the remaining length around the cord wrapped around the fingers. After this, just tuck the end through the loop where it looks like the outer loop will slide off.

  7. John Hart

    I have never used the Scull Candy brand so I am not familiar with how durable they are or how long they last, but here’s some interesting info about the set that came with my 3G: I ran them through the washer and dryer in the pocket of some of my shorts and they still work fine. Thank you Apple for yet another example of how you surpass normal expectations for quality.

    BTW, if your earbuds get tangled, just untangle them. Problem solved.

  8. I think the figure eight method works better. Hold the ear buds against your palm with your thumb and then thread the cable around your index and pinkie in a figure eight. Once you get down to having a few inch left before the connector just wrap it around a few times and then do the same in the opposite direction with the earbuds and use that clip to secure. If you don’t have the clip then you can use the last few inches of the connector end to secure the bundle by looping it under itself. There is a video of the process out there somewhere. Technique also works with other types of headphones.

    • I’m a figure 8 guy myself – even posted the tip here on TAB a couple years back. Seems the video’s been deleted since though. It’s been flawless for me.

      But this looks interesting – if I’m caught with my 3GS buds, I’ll give it a go – thanks Olly!

  9. GREAT TIP! Now I have got 2 for you

    #1 – you can purchase skull candy ear buds MUCH cheaper at TJMAXX.

    #2. – those earbuds! are terrible for your ears. Any that go into the ear canal can cause a wax build up problem that is awful, leading to infections, water trapped in your head when you shower/swim, and temp. deafness. Happened to me in Italy wearing vmoda ear buds a lot for 2 weeks.(took me about 6 mos to recover) After all that i will never use in ear ones again, just buds like the ones that come with apple or bose noise canceling!
    just fyi. you can google that for much more info.

    thanks again for the tip!

    • Haruspex

      If what you and other idiots say about in-ear headphones causing ear problems were true, then operators who have to wear earplugs on a daily basis would be in serious trouble. Any issues you had are due to your own lack of hygiene and proper care and use of the headphones. In-ear headphones are not for everyone, and certainly not for the lazy.

      Also, ear buds and in-ear headphones (also called IEM, or In-Ear Monitors) are NOT the same thing. Ear buds do not go into your ear canal.

  10. I’m glad I’m not the only one whose SkullCandy headphones stopped working. When mine stopped, I sent an email to the company and never received a response. Ironically, now I’m on their spam list and get frequent emails telling me I should buy more of their headphones.

    I think not.

  11. Catmanrog

    Running tangle thru cat is a RIOT ! Seriously, I have a closed clip (just slides) on my old ear buds, and to prevent tangles…..just slide clip from Y down to where the buds are after use…. :-)