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Apple Warns of Static Shock from iPod/iPhone Earbuds in Dry Conditions

Apple EarbudsApple issued a warning to users that they could experience a, "small and quick electrical (static) shock from your earbuds while listening to iPod or iPhone." The warning applies specifically to earphone users in very dry areas, where a static charge could build up in their earbuds, and the company noted that it is not limited to Apple hardware.

"When using headphones in areas where the air is very dry," the company wrote in a Knowledge Base article, "it is easy to build up static electricity and possible for your ear to receive a small electrostatic discharge from the headphones. Receiving a static shock from a pair of earbuds does not necessarily indicate an issue with the iPod, iPhone, or earbuds."

The company noted that this is a physics issue, and not something limited to Apple-specific hardware. "It is very similar to dragging your feet across the carpet," but wind and low-humidity environments can both result in a buildup of a static charge in such devices.

"To minimize the risks of electrostatic discharge from the headphones," the company wrote, "avoid using the headphones in extremely dry environments or touch a grounded unpainted metal object before inserting the headphones."

The article noted the following conditions that can especially lead to a static charge buildup:

  • Very low humidity (dry) environments are conducive for static buildup.
  • Very windy environments are conducive for static buildup.
  • Taking your device in and out of your pocket can create a static charge.
  • Jogging or exercising with your device can cause a static charge.
  • Clothes made with synthetic fibers (like nylon) can easily become charged with static electricity.

You can find more information in the full Knowledge Base article.

4 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

Lee Dronick said:

“and the company noted that it is not limited to Apple hardware.”

Not according the tabloid websites.


geoduck said:

Tomorrow someone will file a class action lawsuit in Texas against Apple for “negligently refusing to violate the laws of physics”.


Bryan Chaffin said:

Ha! I have no doubt, Geoduck. smile


Christopher Speight said:

Honestly, I’ve never had this happen before and I constantly get shocked by static. Just because it’s not inclusive just to apple doesn’t mean they can’t remedy the problem with something reasonable. I really don’t think buying natural clothing, hand lotions and humidifiers is a realistic response.


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