USB Audio on the new iPad Pro 10.5 & iPhone 7 – Tips

Sometimes it just works when using Apple devices. Other times Apple makes it difficult and adds a layer of cost to make it work when you want to try and do something different. 

Case in question is with USB Audio. iOS 10 broke the usual method many had been using to get USB Audio outputted from an iPad or iPhone to a third party DAC to create a better sound. 

Apple’s preferred method is clearly to use Bluetooth headphones, AirPods or one of their Beats headphones. Unfortunately, whilst the AirPods work extremely well, that’s an extra cost of £169. Also, neither Apple or Beats have an over the ear headphone currently that has the new W1 chip for faultless Bluetooth connection playback. Another option is the emergence of lightning headphones that connect via the lightning port. 

Many people are having issues with many DACS and iOS devices (iPads and iPhones). Previously, everyone would either be using an official MFI Approved DAC by Apple or the USB adapter v2. You might not realise that Apple updated the USB to lightning adapter to a USB3 to lightning adapter as shown above. It’s bigger because it allows you to plug a lightning cable into to charge the iPad or iPhone whilst using it. This means more USB peripherals will work as they can have their own power source. I’ve tested this as well. The one other advantage of the USB2 over the new USB3 adapter is better audio. 

Unfortunately, the old USB2 camera adapter isn’t working and you will need to buy the new USB3 adapter which also costs more than the older version! The setup shown in the photo is a Audioquest Dragonfly Red DAC, Audioquest Jitterbug and the Apple USB3 to lightning adapter. I have used this with my iPhone 7 Plus and iPad Pro 10.5, both of which are running iOS 10.3.2. 

With this setup and using the new USB3 Apple lightning to camera adapter,  USB Audio is once again working smoothly. 

However, anyone with approved MFI DACs could still be having issues and this should hopefully be fixed when iOS 11 arrives. 

Useful Links

Apple lighting to USB3 Camera adapter on Amazon UK

Audioquest Dragonfly Red on Amazon UK
Audioquest Jitterbug on Amazon UK


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