A Shenzen-based modder has done what was thought to be impossible - restore the iPhone 7's missing headphone jack.
After four months of careful planning, US-born software engineer Scotty Allen, who previously managed to build a working 'iPhone' out of random spare parts, finally managed to reinstate a fully functional 3.5mm audio port in Apple's iOS smartphone.
The heroic feat was achieved through a number of painful engineering steps, with the first step demanding the careful deconstruction of the phone's bottom chamber. Inside said chamber lies a plastic "barometric vent", but no speaker.
After removing this and carefully pushing the battery and Taptic Engine aside by mere millimetres, Allen found that the iPhone 7 has just enough room left for the lost port. Luckily for Allen, the hardware he needed to restore the port had already been provided - by Apple.
By deconstructing the Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter Apple included with each phone as a way to assuage non-Bluetooth headphone users, Allen was left with the main parts needed to craft a DIY headphone port from the remains of the dongle. A DIY printed circuit board (PCB) was also added to make the retooled jack function properly, followed by the iPhone 7's fateful date with a drill for the all-important hole.
"I lost three full phones trying this, a good handful of screens, a stack of components," Allen told Motherboard. "I broke easily close to $1,000 worth of parts in the last week, which just about broke my will. But it got to a point where I told myself — I am going to keep doing this until I prove to myself it can't be done."
Motherboard spoke to Allen over Skype, during which time he successfully used the iPhone's headphone jack with a pair standard headphones - and he hopes others will be able to follow in his noble footsteps.
"I'm hoping other people pick this up and run with it," Allen continued. "I'm hoping you can walk around here and get an iPhone 7 or 8 with a headphone jack. We're doing a translation of the instructions into Chinese to seed this into the ecosystem here in hopes of making it more manufacturable."
You can watch the project from start to finish in the video embedded below. The big question, however, is whether this means future iPhones could bring back the jack?
"If any Apple engineers email me, I'll send them a board. I would like to see a new iPhone with a headphone jack from Apple," Allen said.