If you are like me, you look at the iPhone earbuds and leave them in the box.  The ones I got with my previous iPods were pretty non-descript and very basic.

It wasn’t until i started reading the manual (ughh) that I realized that these earbuds are not the typical iPod headphones. They come with a special switch/microphone that lies between the earbuds and the place where the two separate wires join together. You can use this switch to do all sorts of things. And it even works when the iPhone is locked.

When you are listening to music:

  • Click once to pause, and again to play.
  • Click twice quickly to skip to the next track

If you get a call while the headset is plugged in, you can hear the ringtone through both the iPhone speaker and the headset. HERE IS THE COOLEST PART. If you are listening to music when the phone rings, The music pauses itself and then resumes when you hang up.

When the phone rings:

  • Click once to pick up the call. The microphone allows you to talk with just the headphones on.
  • You can also reject the call. Press and hold for about two seconds, then let
    go. When you let go, two low beeps confirm you declined the call. (you can also do this by pressing the on/off button at the top of the phone)

When you are already on a call:

  • Click once to end a call

When you are already on a call, and you get a second call:

  • Click once to switch to an incoming or on-hold call and put the current call on hold. Click again to switch back to the first call.
  • Press and hold for about two seconds, then let go to switch to an incoming call and hang up the first call. When you let go, two low beeps confirm you ended the first call.
  • Eddie

    wow you just figured that out???!!! hellooooo you’re only about 1 year late

  • @Eddie – no we just didn’t figure this out but we thought it would probably help the noobie understand the iPhone earbuds better.

  • Eddie

    fair enough:P

  • I actually have lots of friends who didn’t even take them out of the box, because of previous experiences with the iPod headphones. Threw them in a drawer in case they need a back pair someday and never even realized there was anything special about them. I have to admit, i had the iPhone for almost two weeks before I even looked at them.

  • Douglas

    It is not in the manual, but if you are listening to a song, and press the switch three times, it go to the beginning of the song or to the song before the one your are listening to. I figured this out accidently just a few minutes ago.

  • Hello Douglas,

    Thank you for sharing that with us. I didn’t know that pressing the switch 3 times would take you back to the beginning of the song or even the previous one.

    Nice find!


  • iPinda


    I believe it was an undocument feature of the new firmware 2.1

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  • On Firmware 2.1 Triple Click to Skip to previous track

  • monique

    I think this is a great article, i had no idea! Thanks for writing this article, I appreciate it! Anybody know how to make the iphone stop hanging up on my calls when i plug in my headphones, that’s what i was looking for when i ended up here in the first place!

  • Michael Chylinski

    I just by accident learned that in ipod mode while you are listening to something. Click once and Click and hold and you will fast forward. I was looking for other tricks and I don’t see this one listed any place.

  • astrid

    similarly (to above comment re double click and hold for fast forward) – if you triple click and hold on the last click you can fast-rewind through the song….