Will the Missing iPhone 7 Headphone Jack Hurt Your Business?

September 16, 2016


Back on Wednesday, September 7th, Apple announced the iPhone 7. Amid all the hoopla of new cameras and water resistance, Apple announced they were removing the 3.5mm headphone jack that has become ubiquitous on nearly every mobile device for decades. In fact, the 3.5mm jack derives its origin back in the 19th century with the old quarter-inch jack used on phone boards. In its place? The simple Thunderbolt jack.

Regardless of whether or not you find the move “courageous”, Apple is making a bold move towards wireless. If you’re using a credit card dongle, though, what does this mean for you, the small business owner? Do you have to spend more money on a replacement part? Will this hurt your business?


You’ll be fine. If you use Square’s dongle for magnetic stripe or PayPal’s PayPal Here and want to grab one of Apple’s new iPhones, do it. Not only does the iPhone 7 come with a Lightning-to-3.5mm adaptor, but most cards are replacing the magnetic stripe with a chip (which is even safer). Square already has a swipeless/touchless reader that can take payments from chip-based cards via Bluetooth and if you don’t want to grab that—or want to keep your stripe dongle—the Square and PayPal products will both work with the included adaptor.

Fortune was able to talk with a spokesperson at Square, who said, ““In addition to headphone jack adapters that will work with Square’s magnetic stripe reader, our new contactless and chip reader pairs wirelessly for a smart, safe, and fast experience—no headphone jack is necessary. Local business owners have ordered more than half a million readers, making it easy for their customers to pay with their cards or phones from Santa Fe to St. Louis.”


That said, Forbes did a bit of testing with Apple’s included Lightning-to-3.5mm adaptor and a Square 3.5mm card reader. They found it to be a bit of hassle swiping with the necessary force without the card reader being anchored to the phone, as it would be via a 3.5mm jack. So if you upgrade to a new iPhone, test. Test before you go out and have customers live-test.

The choice is yours, merchants. Stick with your current iPhone, upgrade, grab a new dongle—any of these options are totally viable. Keep in mind that magnetic stripe cards ARE being replaced by chip cards in the US, slowly though it may be. With this in mind, review your options and make the best decision for your business to get the most ship done.