Why Are Headphone Jacks On The Wrong Side Of Computers?

This is a problem. It's not the biggest problem in the world, but it's just such a dumb, thoughtless, annoying design flaw that we need to address. Apple is doing headphone jacks wrong. Actually, no, most of them are doing it wrong.

Headphone cords almost uniformly insert into the left cup. Some still connect to both, but most good pairs will connect to just one. And the headphone jack on iMacs is on the right side, if you're facing the screen, as do most other all-in-ones (Lenovo, Samsung, et al — though HP and Acer do get it right). That means when you're wearing your headphones at your desk, you've got to either wear your headphones backwards or drape your cord across your workspace.

Again, this is not a Huge Deal. It is a sort of tiny deal. But it's not like they don't know that's where the jack is supposed to go either. Basically, all laptops have the headphone jack on the left side. And for machines that are built with such attention to detail, especially Apple's famously rigorous design team, this is basically inexplicable. So please, Sir Ive, could you take a moment to make this right?


Comments

    Yes! Finally someone else has noticed this too! (although its alright on my macbook)

    I use a cheap male-female 3.5mm extension cable from the back of my mac to the left side edge of my desk. Keeps the desk tidy and cords out of the way.

    My Sennheiser HD-25s, THE industry standard for DJ headphones, connect to the right cap....

      Aww man, that's so awesome. I wish I owned headphones that Sennheiser call THE industry standard for DJ headphones and had the cabling done the right way. That would be great to use with my iMac. Why does life have to keep screwing me over. :(

      There is so much wrong with what you just said I don't even know where to begin.

      Stop trying to justify the ridiculous amount of money you spent on sub-par quality headphones and go back to the Sennheiser forums so you, and all your mates can continue to pat each other on the back.

        were you abused by some audiophiles or something? why so hate?

        if you think HD25s are sub-par quality then you know nothing. keep listening to your beats bro.

        Last edited 18/01/13 12:37 am

          I would have to agree. Tried many headphones and the hd-25s are the most practical I've ever used. Lightweight, flat response and perfect for club djing. People who bag them need their ears checked :D

        Look out, we got ourselves a dickhead coming through!

      You must be awesome if you DJ on a computer.

        I saw mix master mike live and he used a computer as well as the normal gear. You clearly have NFI what you're being a tool unnecessarily for.

        I agree, unless you're being sarcastic, in which case, I disagree.

      Sennheiser HD 205 and it's on the left D=
      not that it matters because my cat ate the cord....

      My Sennheiser HD202s and HD52s were both wired to the left cup, looks like they dropped the ball here.

      well hey MY sennheiser HD-Somethings, THE industry standard for people who were given them for their birthdays 15 years ago, have a REMOVABLE CORD that connects to both caps. BOOM BOOM BOOM!

    Heh, the image shows in iMac, and in this particular case, I'd argue that all the ports are on the wrong side, which is the back of the machine, where they are hard to reach. At least a tower case you can get around to plug stuff in the back, but an iMac means you have a large rectangle in your way. Seriously, they have plenty of space on the left, right, and top sides. They should use it.

      it looks awful having stuck sticking out the side of your monitor though, I think it more for aesthetics that they put them on the back. I would argue that most people have their towers on the floor under desks etc and they are a lot harder to get to the back of. I guess it depends on your set up.

        Yeah form over function all the way, that's why i hang my pc in a frame on the wall instead of using it.

    yeah i never had this problem when i am using my ASUS laptop, nor was it a problem for me when i was using a dell and a hp. always on the left side or at the front.

    Last edited 17/01/13 10:30 pm

    what if you put the headphone cord through the hole on the stand of the iMac before plugging it into the iMac. That way, it seems like the headphones are coming out the middle. Dont really know if this would work coz I don't have an imac. The mac mini and mbp seem to have it on the correct side.

      I think that would get in the way of the keyboard.

      My audio interface sits on my left, where my headphones (AudioTechnica AD700s - left side cable) and mic plug in. The cable runs off the left side of my desk and back up under my arm into the headphones. This is the comfortable layout now and I can't imagine anything different.

    My beyerdynamic connect on the right, nice studio cans. Or if your headphones are symmetrical, just reverse the stereo direction in software.

    "Some still connect to both, but most good pairs will connect to just one." haha, next time buy wireless beats.

    Mine connect to the middle of my tower or the middle of my monitor (on the underside). I use either wireless headphones or USB headphones. "Problem" solved.

    First world problems and all that.

    Headphone jack is on the right on my laptop?

    It's funny as Apple got the headphone jack right on the iphone 5 by placing it at the bottom left of the phone instead of hanging from the top. Now if only they would communicate between departments...

      I remember reading a forum a couple of years back when HTC or someone similar had their jack ports bottom left, and people (mainly apple fans I recall) were going MENTAL about how stupid it was..

    First world problems

      Well we ARE on Gizmodo. If can't complain about first world problems here then where? Also no hurt in point out poor design, might as well fix it.

    Which IEEE or ISO standard dictates that headphone cords should always be manufactured to connect to the left cup? My Technics DJ1210s connect on the right.

      generally because when using mono it's the left channel of a stereo set up, so mono (which stereo was built over the top of) is always wired to the left, the right channel is just an extension of that

    Well, considering most of the world is RIGHT HANDED, maybe the headphone manufacturers are doing it wrong.

      This statement doesn't make much sense, I'm right handed so would much prefer to be unencumbered on my right side, given that's where my mouse is. Makes more sense to go on the left around the keyboard wouldn't you think?

        I solved the problem with wireless headphones, to be honest.

    people still use desktops? what the hell?

      In terms of cost for power, laptops don't match anywhere near desktops. I also believe they're easier to customise, though admittedly I haven't tried to build a laptop. If you really don't need excess mobility, there's no point using a laptop.

      The idea of trying to do my job on a laptop is, at best, laughable. Too slow, screen too small, graphics card too weak, etc.

      Laptops are fine for Stacy Facebook.

    I like the picture. Apple computer and a Windows Phone, looks like a HTC WinPhone8 too.

    A lot of gaming keyboards now do audio pass-through with the jacks on the left of the keyboard. I like this more because the jacks are much closer to your head than begin in the monitor or PC case.

      And the cables don't have to stretch over your keyboard, as in my case. I have to wrap the cable so it's tight from my head to my laptop so it's elevated above the keyboard lol. I just wrap it up and put the excess under the laptop.

    ... drape it around the back of your monitor? Holy shit, mind blown! Couldn't do that!

    Get a DAC and you will have sound worth listening to and you can stick the box wherever you like.

    My old Dell Studio AIO had all the ports on the left (DVD drive on the right).

    Last edited 18/01/13 12:10 pm

    My headphones plug in at the front on my laptop. Front right. Where the audio in, headphone and mic input are.

    My headphones are cordless. Problem solved.

    Another thing I hate about this is that the cord gets in the way of your mouse hand since the jack tends to be toward the front of the laptop instead of the back (my ASUS laptop has the audio jack in the most annoying place possible)

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