iPhone: Control iPod functions through headphones

The little microphone/switch that bulges out on the right side of the headphones included with the iPhone can do some neat tricks other than answer or hang up a call. When not in a call, you can use this switch to control the iPod functions of the iPhone. It’s a testament to Apple’s designers to implement something simple like this that would be easy to overlook.

When not on a call, if you click the iPhone’s headphone switch once, music will start playing without having to access the iPod features through the screen. The iPhone doesn’t even need to be unlocked for this to work.

Tap the switch once again and the music will pause.

Double-click the switch twice quickly and you will fast forward to the next song.


About Quinn McHenry

Quinn was one of the original co-founders of Tech-Recipes. He is currently crafting iOS applications as a senior developer at Small Planet Digital in Brooklyn, New York.
View more articles by Quinn McHenry

The Conversation

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  • tim

    Click 3 times and you jump back to the previous song

  • Daniil

    If you triple-tap it (3 times fast) it rewinds

  • zach

    where do u get these headphones?

    • tom

      you get them when you buy an iphone 🙂

    • Hey

      or u can buy them for $30 on apple’s website or amazon or ebay or the apple store>

  • Click Master

    Triple click the switch, it plays the previous song.

    • Roslee7

      it doesnt work to click the switch to play previous song

      • Anonymous

        yes … it does work … 1 click, play … double click to play next song … triple click to play last song

  • Rob

    Click three times and it goes back a song! Shame no volume control though.

    • Name

      Rob, there is volume control, if you look theres a plus and minus on the control specifically for volume control

      • Nicholas

        No thats not on the model i have and it might be the same with Rob.

    • Daisy

      There is volume control on that thing…look closely and you’ll see the + or – sign. Click on it!

      If you click twice to forward song, but you told the second click longer, it will fast forward the song to the middle or whatnot.

    • Shellio66

      there is volume control if you purchased the updated iphone (4) or purchase the iphone 4 earbuds on ebay

    • Anonymous

      the switch is a volume control as well … click the top or bottom of the switch to increase or decrease the volume

  • Press and hold the switch and it activates voice control allowing you to jump to any song if your voice is clear enough

  • Click and hold the headphone button to activate voice control on the new 3gs

  • Anonymous

    If you pause then dub tap then restarts the playlist

    • Ben

      with the skip forward & skip back control, if you hold the button on the final tap it will fast forward/ rewind the current song (ie click twice quickly and hold on the 2nd click and it will audio scrub forward). Takes a bit of practice but bloody brilliant when you get it

  • Anonymous

    Click once then hold to ff, click twice then hold to rewind

  • Anonymous

    The volume controls are on the 3GS Iphone headphones =] !

  • Anonymous

    and press it threew times and it goes back a song

  • kathy

    how do i take off the headset mode off my phone ??

  • Anonymous

    the earphones and switch works with iTunes as well (plugged into your Mac)

  • Stealthartist1

    hold centre button for voice commands

  • Kaitlynbancroft

    Can u use the voice controls on the iPod touch 2 nd gen an if so how

  • Sapan

    All the functions work amazingly.. I was looking for how to change to the previous song, and found some new tricks too…
    Thanks all… Keep sharing…

  • tonyastro

    if you click 3x it will play the previous song! oh and if you click 3x it will play the previous song! and you know what if you click 3x …

  • Mister anonymous

    Here is everything in short
    1x = play music/ pauze music
    2x = next song
    3x = previous song
    2x = (second longer) fastforward
    3x = (third longer) fastbackward
    Hold = voice control

    • Neil

      This is the best tip sheet I’ve ever seen. thank you so much

  • Conor

    Is there some way u can mute where you talk into on the headphones because i think i done this as Siri can never hear me or when i try to use the headphones to make/receive calls no one can hear me talk. But when i tried other headphones they worked so its not my iphone!

    • Erik

      > Your mic is broken.

  • rick

    click twice
    Hold second click, will fast forward within chosen song

  • Emory

    If you hold the button it will go to voice control.