Discussing the sustainability of removing the 3.5mm jack

Hi @lutzundliebe and welcome to the forum, although it seems it may be not be visiting anytime soon.

You do know that you don’t have to buy a bluetooth head set, you can use an adapter to the USB port and the USB port is a single user replaceable part for those worried about extra stress on it from using it.


I just looked in the student shop in my university. The wired earbuds that they sell are USB C, I would be out of luck if I needed otherwise. :stuck_out_tongue:

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My experience is just the opposite: no one in may family and in my workplace I saw using wireless headphones. On the street I do see several people using wireless earphones, especially iphone users.
However, even were the batteries replaceable or rechargeable, the additional electronics and circuitry AND the need of more batteries would, alone, produce more waste, both at the production line and at the dump yard.
Plus, adapters and dongles are prone at getting lost, dropped, damaged, forgotten, stolen… all of which causes people to buy several of them for the same set of smartphone.


Smartphone producers are pushing users toward wireless-everything, so users are left without a choice. It’s that easy.

This still entails more circuitry, more batteries, more materials and energy and waste to do the same thing.


All so very true.

I used to have a normal phone with copper cables.

Now I have optic fibre to a workshop in a field and a new FP3+ so I can use WiFi calling and support fairtrade.

As for sustainability, I collect rain water, burn wood for heat, use solar for my electrics, cultivate food etc etc.

Something has to give. Each of us can make a choice as to what to use.

Replacing batteries still produces more waste and uses more resources that needing no batteries and no additional circuitry (sound encoding/decoding, receiver/transmitter units, antennas, batteries and battery control electronics).


Where did you get these numbers?
My personal experience is that wired headphones are much more widespread than wireless ones, while in the case of earphones wireless is more widespread.

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Yes, they use it also to talk to people.
And, guess what? Many people use head/earphones when they phone too!

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Yes Alessandro I quoted you the first time as I agree with you :slight_smile:

I’m not debating that but rather the idea of ‘sustainability’ in removing the jack, they are not the same.

Removing the jack is sustainable, the alternative clearly is not, but that isn’t a reason not to embark upon the change.

Except for the change of reducing consumption anything that has to be sustained, be it jack or bluetooth, needs resources which are finite. No consumption in the material world can be sustained without something having to be destroyed.

So we destroy the trees to make steel to dig coal to make more steel to dig uranium to make more electricity to make easier communications ~ jack ~ bluetooth ~ chips embedded in the brain.

Here we go. Would you rather your brain was connected by bluetooth or by a wire that you may trip over.

We as humans are not sustaining anything but our consumption and woe betide anything that gets in the way.

We are the present
We are the future
You are the past
Pay your dues and get outta the way
'Cause we’re not the way you used to be . . .
Mau Mau ~ Jefferson Starship ~ Blows Against The Empire : 1970

With that mindset you should just use a dumbphone though, as they will have the longest battery life.

Hi nado_x I hope you are joking, telling some one what they ‘should’ do :slight_smile:

Still how about a field phone which has a built in dynamo or a dynamo on bike and as long as you are peddling you can call.

You can also use the bike to charge a large capacitor or battery to store power to make outgoing calls.

Sounds like a plan.

The problems with the FP3 and FP4, if I am correct, is that they won’t run independently from batteries. Now that’s what I call unsustainable. Not rofling :sob:

Well off topic here ~ this is about a 3.5 jack not batteries. Apologies to the pure at heart. :lying_face:

This model has a ** jack for the hand set **, you can use a head set or the more light weight and '‘attractive’ earbuds (no longer sold by Fairphone) . The jack is a 6.1mm but you can buy a 6.1mm to 3.5 adapter.

Highly popular and sold out. I’m sure by now we are all accustomed to the global shortages so give the suppliers a break, if you will.

I just don’t understand this obsession with the microjack being removed… It is not a priority imo, since there is a way to use the 3.5 mm jack if one wishes to. Of all the things one can be upset about in this world… I just find it a bit mind-boggling that one would rant/complain about it when you can simply buy another product of your own choosing. If they however were to remove a feature from a phone one has already purchased, that I could understand people complaining about.

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It was just wild guessing to make a point.

As you point out it’s not an issue for you, but although their is a way to use the jack it is not optimal and you’ve not, in that post. acknowledged the core of the matter as to the ‘sustainability’ of the action taken by Fairphone…

So whereas I agree with you totally I would also argue that from some perspectives it is not a ‘sustainable’ approach.

I bought the Fairphone wired earbuds at half the price of the bluetooth, no batteries etc.

  • It would be nice to use them without having another electronic gadget, The DAC chipped adapter
  • without extra use and extra strain on the USB port. That the USB port is replaceable is no comfort.

My 7 year old Samsung has a micro USB and a jack, both are still functional

This is a discussion, hence the title. The topic was not created as an obsession with jack. But someone loves the poor boy.


Yes, I certainly don’t agree with you :slight_smile:

It is true that this is just my opinion etc., however maybe it would be good to point out to users commenting on the 3.5 mm jack that it has been discussed countless times. I think they might find a few if they just enter “3.5 mm” or “3.5mm” into the search field. Both produce “50+ results” What I am trying to say is that user can just go through any of these threads and most likely find something similar to what they are about to say.

Since this is mainly a user forum and not necessarily used by employees to gauge interest, I think the standard response should be “This has been covered extensively in the forum, we would kindly ask that you use the search function for older threads related to this. Should this not suffice then please contact the Fairphone support as this is a forum for user discussion.” and then close the thread. Otherwise we’re looking at a new discussion about this every few days.

I know that this may sound harsh, but I think that these conversations only lead to “I’m so angry they removed it, its not sustainable” and “I disagree with you opinion” In my honest opinion, this isn’t very constructive for anyone on the forum and can potentially just pollute the forum with more frustration.


First of all, please stop with : “there is usb-c adapters, so blah blah”. This is not possible those are only adapters because of USB output is digital, 3.5mm headphone needs analog input. So you can’t adapt the signal, you have to convert it. Those so-called adapters are in reality digital/audio converters, with micro electronics, chips, (so cobalt, silicium, etc…). They are almost the same ecological problem than bluetooth headset with no batteries.

If I had no choice for buying this kind of things, i would prefer the bluetooth ones. This is still a very bad solution, an useless waste of money, natural ressources and energy, but at least I would have the wireless comfort and I will not break my usb port because of the perpetuals mechanicals constraints of an USB dac constantly plugged in.

Secondly, @amoun this subject is not about “pro or cons the technological progress”, but, discussing about “what kind of technological progress”. You mentioned earlier your high speed internet access. This is a pretty good exemple.

For high speed internet access you have 2 solutions : the wired one with optical fiber and on the other hand, the wireless one with 4G/5G, (or the most insane ones like Starlink, Kuiper or other monstrosities…).

With the optical fiber, you’re able to build a solid network, able to work with quite-low power consumption, transmitting every packets with no loss to the end user as far as he is from the emission point and futureproof, like was the copper line in its times, because it will cheaply accepts the internet speeds to come on the same network for at least the 50 next years.

With 4G/5G technologies, you need lots and lots of high-power consumption emission points, with poor access quality if you’re not in the good range, packets loss, (and bad data security but this is another subject). Nowadays, it cost 5 times more energy and hardware for LTE network than for the optical fiber for only 10% of internet speed the fiber can offer. Equipments are outdoor, so you have to change them very often, with so much more hardware waste, etc…

The goal is not to block the progress, but just to find the good way, in terms of resources, ecological impacts and sustainability to achieve it. This is the same for this question of how to make an hand-free voice call and how to keep the progress that was made to have in one device a phone, a computer, a camera and a good music player, because, if not, this is not even progress, this is a regression.


Yes they are part of our consumer designs. The problem is the progression of consumerism not the small detail of what is being consumed. Even the exploitation of water air and sunlight have their limits. We extract and exploit power to form and fashion.

The pollution created is just different, wood, coal, nuclear, lithium etc.

So what is the question of the topic

    1. Sustaining the use of the 3.5 jack
    1. sustaining old technology
    1. sustaining a fairtrade phone i.e. Fairphone
    1. Sustaining a habitable planet for those rich enough to buy a new phone every 6 years

I’m going for number 3

There is the original posters intent and the responses. I don’t think there’s a solution as it wasn’t presented as a problem.

All views are

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Where is the ecological difference, if these parts are build into the phone or are external?


I was about to say… if it isn’t external then the same technology needs to be built into the phone. You need a DAC if you want to use headphones with a 3.5mm jack. In the end I would say that the Fairphone is more sustainable since it doesn’t use these components by default.

Some people will not use the Fairphone with a headset at all, some will use Bluetooth, some will use a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter (DAC is of course implied). Since Bluetooth is a standard feature in all smartphones, this doesn’t add any extra waste to the phone. This is also very much in line with modular design, as you can easily add this feature in if you want it. The USB-C adapter can also be used with other devices as well, so it won’t be limited to only one device.