Low-tech solution for the iPod shuffle earphone problem

The 3rd generation iPod Shuffle is a nicely crafted mp3 player that is very suitable to use during workout or while running. The design is very minimal and all playback controls is located on the cable of the right earphone.

iPod Shuffle

I was asked to try out the new iPod Shuffle and it was quite fortunate because I had a run coming up at that time. Upon reading some reviews, I came across one major design flaw that will prevent people from getting the new Shuffle.

The problem

It seems that Apple failed to test the iPod Shuffle while being used during a workout. A LOT of people are complaining about the playback controls going wonky as soon as they build up sweat.

iPod Shuffle

The culprit is the housing for the controls on the earphone which is not moisture or sweat-proof. Once sweat goes down the cable into the controls, you may experience sudden maxing out of volume or muting and it will become unresponsive afterwards.

The problem really is in the earphones that came with the Shuffle and Apple doesn’t offer any solution other than replacing your earphones.

Low-tech solution

I was able to use the iPod Shuffle without any problems during my run thanks to some suggestions I read in the forum. Cover the playback controls so that sweat will just roll off the covering down the other end.

iPod Shuffle

First I used a strip of cling wrap and wrapped it around the controls. Then I used scotch tape on both ends of the control. It doesn’t look good but it works.

Until Apple solves this problem, you might want to buy other earphones compatible with the 3rd gen iPod Shuffle or an adapter + ordinary earphone. Or just go with the 2nd Gen iPod Shuffle.

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7 Responses

  1. Rygel says:

    thanks for this tip. I didn’t know of this issue

  2. Ally says:

    Hey, thanks for the very informative tip!!! Have it worked ok so far after the cling wrap?

    • Calvin says:

      Yup, it’s still working fine after I removed the wrap. Although if you’re going to use it regularly during workouts, better invest on good earphones for this one.

  3. hehe naalala ko na eto nirecommend mo sa akin for running hehe

  4. Lauren says:

    Thanks for the tip! I use my 3rd gen shuffle everytime I exercise and I specifically bought it to use while exercising because of its small size and handy clip (which I’m guessing alot of like-minded exercisers thought also). I sweat alot and the first few times I used it the ear phone controls stopped working but they’d dry out within a few hours and start working again fine. Now they’ve stopped working all together. Grr I’m not happy with Apple, especially because I tried to get the 2nd gen before buying this one and couldn’t find it anywhere. I certainly won’t be buying another set of their headphones, especially at $40. They’re design and quality control teams really stuffed up with this one.

    Looks like the belkin adaptor is the way to go, it’s cheap and clips into the ipod so the controls aren’t near the face, which probably makes sweat less likely to get in. As a precaution I’ll be carefully wrapping it with cling wrap and tape first anyways so thanks heaps!!

  5. Stong says:

    I have the same problem now with my 3rd Gen Shuffle. Mine is barely 2-month old and the control is already giving me a headache. It started in one of my runs when the voice-over just kept on repeating the song details, maxxed out the volume on its own, and volume control was jammed. Many days have passed, the control is intermmitently operational and gives me the same trouble. Im planning to go back to the store where I bought for replacement of earphones. Apple should review this product.

  6. Nico says:

    For those who are having problem with their controller, try putting this

    http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/viledevil45/viledevil451211/viledevil45121100094/16483237-several-pony-tail-holder-of-different-colors.jpg

    on your headset remote, it will absorb the sweat. this is the only thing that solve my problem. Hope you’ll get how it works :)
    I’ll try uploading some pictures..

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