With all that’s good and great in the world of iPhone, there are some drawbacks, namely the lack of a headphone jack. If you’re still lamenting its omission and are in search of the best iPhone earbuds available, we have you covered.

Editor’s note: this list was updated on August 30, 2019, to include more information.

Apple’s new AirPods (2019) are the best iPhone earbuds

Inside the AirPods is Apple’s proprietary H1 chip, meaning that connection drops seldom occur. Although the sound quality isn’t top-notch—even with AAC support—wireless headphones are only as good as their connection, making these the best iPhone earbuds available. And, as if you weren’t already shoulder-deep in the Apple ecosystem, the H1 Chip allows for the AirPods to simultaneously connect to all of your Apple devices and switch between them sans hiccups. Plus, it affords a 21-percent increase in battery life compared to the old W1 chip.

New AirPods (2019)

Full Review

What’s more, these true wireless earbuds include a carrying case that doubles as a charging case, extending the already long battery life of the earbuds. You can pay extra to get the wireless charging case, too, which is compatible with Qi charging pads. Upon removal from the case, the AirPods automatically connect to your iPhone. Even if you’re not a fan of the AirPods—after all, they do look strange—you have to give Apple credit where credit is due; these are convenient.

By the bye, battery life is phenomenal. Our objective testing recorded that the AirPods provide 4.125 hours of playback time—which is above average for true wireless earbuds—and it’s the additional four charges afforded by the case that make these the best iPhone earbuds. On top of that, 15 minutes of charging equates to three hours of playback time. Neat stuff.

But what about the microphones? True wireless earbuds tend to suffer in this department; however, the Apple engineers managed to insert a voice accelerometer that works in tandem with the beamforming microphones. Essentially this works to filter out ambient noise, making your voice clearer. Not only is this good news for your weekly unproductive conference call, but it makes the whole Siri command thing that much easier.

Taking into account the ease of use, versatility, and reliable connectivity, Apple’s new AirPods are unsurprisingly the best iPhone earbuds on the market. Say what you will about the one-trillion-dollar company, it knows how to produce products that play nicely with each other. And if you already own a handful of Apple products, the AirPods are the next logical purchase for seamless integration into your daily routine.

Related: Best true wireless earbuds

What you should know about the best Apple earbuds

There are a few things to pay attention to when picking out the best iPhone earbuds. None of it is rocket science, but minimal attention to detail gets you a long way with your iOS audio headset.

AAC: The codec that matters

Although there are plenty of Bluetooth codecs supported by a variety of devices, the only one that you need to care about with regards to the best iPhone earbuds is the AAC codec. Apple doesn’t support aptX or LDAC, so AAC is your only option. And while AAC isn’t CD quality it performs best with Apple devices.

Best iPhone earbuds: a chart showing the AAC Bluetooth codec's performance on the Huawei P20 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, LG V30, and Apple iPhone 7.

AAC performs differently depending on what device is being used. It may be high-frequency sound, but these drop-outs will be audible to younger ears.

Seeing as Apple is Apple and loves proprietary hardware and software, the AAC codec is the only one that’s compatible with the company’s products. If you’re looking at headphones that support aptX, aptX HD, or LDAC, that’s all well and good but won’t be of much help in your quest to find the best iPhone earbuds.

We care about battery life, but only so much

Upon polling Android Authority readers, we found that a majority of you listen to your music between one and two hours a day. That’s significant, especially when accounting for the listed true wireless models. In order to test battery life, we use objective measures and subject the earbuds to an infinite loop of pink noise set at an output of 75dB(SPL). That way, we can consistently test each product, allowing for greater testing reliability and minimal variance.

ModelBattery life 75dB (hours)Best iPhone supported Bluetooth codecPrice
Apple Airpods3.45AAC$150
Bose Soundsport Free4.58SBC$200
Sony WF-SP700N2.58SBC$179
BeatsX5.45AAC$99
Jaybird X47.5SBC$129
V-Moda Crossfade 210.62AAC$350
Sennheiser HD1 Wireless In-Ear11.3AAC$128
RHA MA390 Wireless6.367AAC$69
Optoma NuForce Be Live56.63AAC$99

Listening should be fun

We here at SoundGuys can type until our fingers go numb about the importance of a neutral frequency response, but that isn’t what’s most pleasing to everyone. Yes, if you’re looking to hear the audio as the audio engineer intended, you should use studio headphones, because those products will have the closest thing to a Platonic, flat response. But most of us want our headphones to be fun and reproduce an “energetic” sound, not necessarily an analytical one.

When writing deciding on the best Apple earbuds, the importance of slightly emphasized low-end and treble was taken into account as the former denotes “liveliness,” while the latter facilitates a perceived increase in clarity, to get a better picture of this, read up on the equal loudness contour.

This isn’t to say, however, that headphones with flat frequency responses aren’t fun. For many, this type of audio reproduction is preferred, even outside the studio. But if you were to conduct your own man-on-the-street style questionnaire—more likely than not—you’d find that passersby prefer an exaggerated response.

The Beats Powerbeats Pro has the best battery life of any iPhone earbuds

If you like everything about the AirPods except for what makes them quintessentially AirPods, poor fit and isolation, then you should look into the Apple Beats Powerbeats Pro. These sport an earhook design and actual nozzles that insert into the ear canal, which improves sound quality and stability.

Apple Beats Powerbeats Pro

Full Review
See also:

Best wireless Beats headphones

Battery life comes in at an insane 10.867 hours before the earbuds need to be recharged, and even that’s a snappy process: five minutes of charging yields 1.5 hours of playback. Just like AirPods, combined battery life clocks in at more than 24 hours of listening.

AAC support and H1 chip integration ensure lag-free audio streaming. The updated chip also allows for hands-free access to Siri just like the new AirPods. They’re IPX4 rated and come in a handful of colors (black, ivory, navy, and moss) to match your style.

The Powerbeats Pro are loaded with sensors to streamline operation. Removing the ‘buds from your ears automatically pauses playback, and accelerometers detect when you’re speaking to guide the microphone when you’re in a loud environment. There’s a button and volume rocker on each earbud, too,

Hush your surroundings with the Sony WF-1000XM3

If the idea of true wireless sounds enticing, but the poor isolation from the AirPods is a turn-off, the Sony WF-1000XM3 may be the best iPhone earbuds for you. These high-end ‘buds bring noise canceling technology to the true wireless stage. For many, it’s a pity that they don’t offer aptX support; however, this feature is currently irrelevant to iPhone users. All that matters is AAC support, which these have.

Sony WF-1000XM3

Full Review

Sony, the company that delivered the WH-1000x M2 noise cancelling headphones, impressed us yet again with these earbuds. As depicted by the chart below, the attenuation is remarkable as most ANC headphones struggle with filtering out sub-100Hz frequencies. By successfully reducing low-end ambient noise, the WF-1000XM3’s bass reproduction seems a bit more emphasized than it really is. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as most of us prefer increased bass and treble anyway.

One of the company-touted perks of the Sony WF-SP700N is the ability to switch between three sound modes: noise canceling, ambient sound mode, and off. Safe to say, the manual switching process is frustrating at best. But as we smartphone users have come to expect, “there’s an app for that,” allowing you to alternate modes with a few taps. Generally speaking, unlike others true wireless apps, operating the Sony | Headphones Connect app provides functional and easy-to-operate features. What I used most was toggling between sound quality modes. Sony allows you to prioritize sound quality at the expense of connectivity, or connectivity at the expense of sound quality. Nifty stuff.

Sony WF-1000XM3 noise cancelling isolation chart.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 noise canceling is highly effective at attenuating low-frequency background noise.

Something to be aware of, though, is the battery life. While a shade under 5 hours will take care of you for your commute, you’ll need to recharge if you tend to listen all day long. Ultimately, each product has its positives and negatives, but if you’re looking for the best iPhone earbuds with active noise canceling, these are it.

The best iPhone earbuds for sound quality are the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Like the others listed, Sennheiser’s debut true wireless earbuds support AAC for optimal iOS media playback. If you do happen to have an Android device, too, the earbuds also support both aptX and aptX-LL. The latter of which is ideal for gaming as there’s zero perceptible lag, allowing you to react in time accordingly.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Full Review

High-quality codecs aside, Sennheiser knows how to appropriately tune audio products and the 2.5-7kHz dip in frequency response is intentional as this range creates unwanted resonances perceived by the human ear which are only amplified when a proper seal is formed. Unfortunately, isolation isn’t the best and Sennheiser doesn’t include memory foam ear tips, but if you want to improve isolation properties make sure to invest in third-party ear tips.

Battery life performance is middle of the road and allows for 3.75 hours of constant playback. While this isn’t supremely impressive the included carrying case grants 11 total hours of playback before requiring a recharge via USB-C. If you want an attractive pair of earbuds that look as good as they sound, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless is a reliable pick.

Related: Best noise cancelling earbuds

If you want something that resembles the AirPods, grab the JLab JBuds Air Executive

JLab’s Executive true wireless earbuds make luxury affordable. Its synthetic leather carrying case looks great. Plus, it has an inlaid USB charging cable attached directly to the case, meaning you can top the case and earbuds up at any time. It also quick-charges the earbuds. Pop them into the case for 15 minutes and you can enjoy music for up to an hour. Standalone battery life clocks in at 4.5 hours.

JLab JBuds Air Executive

Full Review

Unlike the AirPods, the JBuds Air Executive fit and isolate well while still supporting the AAC codec. The angled nozzles and proprietary silicone collars which wrap around the housing keep the ‘buds in place at all times. This is great for exercise and improves audio quality. That said, the nozzles have a wide diameter and pained my ear canals after an hour of wear.

Touch controls are easy to operate and more advanced than most: you can adjust volume, access a voice assistant, toggle Be Aware mode, and more. These are also IP55 dust- and water-resistant. They can withstand pretty much anything except for a splish, splash in the bath.

Test data

ModelBattery life 75dB (hours)Best iPhone supported Bluetooth codecPrice
Apple Airpods3.45AAC$150
Bose Soundsport Free4.58SBC$200
Sony WF-SP700N2.58SBC$179
BeatsX5.45AAC$99
Jaybird X47.5SBC$129
V-Moda Crossfade 210.62AAC$350
Sennheiser HD1 Wireless In-Ear11.3AAC$128
RHA MA390 Wireless6.367AAC$69
Optoma NuForce Be Live56.63AAC$99

Similar to algebraic proofs, we have to show our work. As it applies to earbuds and headphones alike, seal matters. A poor fit, and thus a poor seal, will noticeably degrade audio quality. One of the first things to go? Bass. Since the only awarded noise canceling best iPhone earbuds are the Sony WF-SP700N, they’re the only pick here that use small microphones to cancel out noise. The others filter out ambient noise passively, relying strictly on a proper fit.

How we tested the best iPhone earbuds

We made sure to subject each candidate and pick to our battery of objective testing which includes isolation, frequency response, and battery life. We respect that listening is a subjective experience, while also acknowledging that sound can be measured and discussed objectively at the same time.

best iPhone earbuds - Optoma NuForce Be Sport4: The earbuds in a test head's ears.

We use objective readouts to determine the best Apple earbuds’ frequency responses.

Yes, our trio of tests are fundamental, but they analyze what consumers care about the most as it applies to the best iPhone earbuds and wireless earbuds in general. Regarding battery life readouts, your mileage will likely vary as it depends how loudly you’re listening to your music. In order to combat this variance, we subject each unit to a constant 75dB(SPL) output. Additionally, in most cases, you can improve isolation by using third-party ear tips.

Notable mentions

A photo of the Mobvoi TicPods Free

The Mobvoi TicPods Free may look like Lava-colored AirPods, but they perform much better.

  • Sony WH-1000X M2: If you need some of the best active noise canceling headphones available, look no further than the WH-1000x M2. If Chris likes them, it means something.
  • V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex: Arguably some of the most durable headphones on the market, the Crossfade 2 Codex include both aptX and AAC support. Plus, you can customize nearly everything about these cans, even the screws.
  • Optoma NuForce Be Live5: If the BeatsX is appealing but you want ‘buds that are more durable (IPX5) and support both aptX and AAC Bluetooth codecs, the Be Live5 is a fashion-forward pick.
  • Sennheiser HD1 Wireless In-Ear: Sennheiser is a well-respected brand and for good reason. These earbuds impressively negotiate build and sound quality while simultaneously offering us consumers an affordable price.
  • RHA MA390 Wireless: This is one of the best values you can get. It includes aptX and AAC support, IPX4 certification, and features an iOS compatible mic and remote.
  • Pioneer Rayz: Maybe you’re not ready to forgo wired listening. If that’s the case, then these are an affordable pair of lightning cable earbuds. If you want them with noise canceling those are available for a slightly higher price.
  • Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8This pair of true wireless earbuds include AAC support and features a more traditional true wireless earbud design. Listeners can control when to hear surroundings via the transparency functionality.
  • Bose SoundSport FreeIf you’re in the market for true wireless workout earbuds, these are a great bet. They have a solid standalone battery life and fit well despite their size.
  • Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd: This is a great alternative to the BeatsX, and the earbuds support both aptX and AAC. Additionally, if you frequently take business calls, the integrated mic is excellent.
  • BeatsXIf you’re not too keen on spending hundreds of dollars on either the AirPods or Powerbeats Pro, then the BeatsX is still a great pair of earbuds for less than $100.
  • Mobvoi TicPods FreeMobvoi’s debut true wireless earbuds feature a similar stem design as the AirPods with better sound quality, good battery life, and a nice carrying case.

Why you should trust us

Best iPhone earbuds: A photo of Chris sleeping in a bed, while using the Bose sleepbuds near an air conditioner.

While we don’t usually sleep on the job, we will if a product calls for it like the Bose Sleepbuds.

Working at SoundGuys serves as each of our day jobs; yes, it is a dream. We get paid to listen and test as many products as possible while constantly researching, which means that our opinions aren’t influenced by the companies manufacturing them. If we don’t like something, we say it. Simple as that.

Additionally, each of us has several years involved in the audio community, and after having kept up with the audio industry for years, we’re able to easily tell the gimmicks from the goldmines. If you have the time or desire, feel free to read our full ethics policy here.

Next: Best cheap true wireless earbuds

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