Many a phone has been sacrificed on the altar of iFixit so we may know what is inside them, and the latest device to be torn down is the iPhone 7 Plus. There are usually a few little tweaks inside the new iPhone to obsess over but this time we’ve got a more pressing question to answer. What took the place of the headphone jack? It turns out there’s a little chunk of plastic in there now.
Apple said at the iPhone 7 announcement that it took the headphone jack out to make room for other components. Its characterization of this decision as “courageous” has been rightly mocked. Instead of getting audio through a headphone jack, you have to use an adapter or Lightning-equipped headphones.
When iFixit opened up the new iPhone 7 Plus, it found the phone has more glue around the case than past models, which is probably related to the new water-resistant design. At the bottom of the phone where the headphone jack used to be is a larger Taptic Engine that adds vibration feedback to the home button. They even took an x-ray of the taptic engine in action, which is pretty neat.
Where the headphone jack used to be is now an external grille that looks like a speaker, but it actually houses the microphone. The inside space where you used to have a headphone jack there’s a small piece of molded plastic that fits around the mic (see top).
The most likely explanation for this component is that it channels sound to the mic and reduces wind distortion. We don’t actually know, though. It might have something to do with the Taptic Engine as well. I’m no engineer, but it sure seems like you could have made room for a headphone jack in there.
In the end, iFixit gave the iPhone 7 Plus a surprisingly good repair ability score of 7 out of 10. It gets a headphone jack-having score of 0 out of 10, though.