Only the best earbuds for iPhone can give you that true premium gaming and music experience. While Apple makes official AirPods which are, admittedly, a very solid choice, they’re extremely pricey. Luckily, there’s an assortment of third-party manufacturers that can give you the same experience for less money.
We’ve included earbuds for every budget, and all are compatible with the best gaming iPhones. Market leaders like the Sony WF-1000XM5 also work with the best Android phones, giving you greater flexibility. All of the best iPhone earbuds on this list offer excellent sound quality and good battery life, while premium options like the AirPods Pro earn their price with advanced noise cancellation.
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The best earbuds for iPhone 2023
- Apple AirPods Pro Gen 2 – best Apple earbuds
- Sony WF-1000XM5 – best Sony earbuds
- Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro – great for Android and iPhone
- Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 – best audio quality
- Jabra Elite 3 – best budget pick
- Razer Hammerhead Hyperspeed Pro – great for gamers
- Apple AirPods Gen 3 – best budget Apple earbuds
1. Apple Airpods Pro Gen 2
The best fit for Apple devices, at a premium Apple price.
- Fantastic active noise-canceling
- Feel great to wear
- Great battery between buds and charging case
- Disappointing microphone
- Average sound coverage for the price
If you love the Apple ecosystem and appreciate some peace and quiet, then the premium Apple Airpods Pro Gen 2 might be the perfect choice. Apple is promising ‘two times’ the noise canceling from the previous model, and combined with the comfort of these buds, you can sit in peace and listen to podcasts or music all day long.
The snazzy new H2 chip is powering all of this, including the spatial audio feature, allowing you to enjoy movies and TV shows with an approximation of surround sound that many other devices just can’t compete with. The AirPods Pro Gen 2 also boasts a great sound profile, with crisp high-frequency sounds and hefty bass, capable of loud volumes without distorting or getting uncomfortable.
Plus, the Apple Airpod Pro Gen 2 comes in a suitably premium case which features a tiny speaker so that you can set off an alarm when you’ve misplaced your pods (again). They also boast MagSafe wireless charging and a neat little hole if you want to attach the case to a lanyard. With the high-quality materials and the sleek design of the white case, these definitely earn their price point.
Finally, AirPods are compatible with the ‘Find my iPhone’ app, so you can keep a close eye on your beloved earbuds. They even vibrate when you try to track them down, meaning you can always hear them should they get lost in your couch.
2. Sony WF-1000XM5
Possibly the new market leader, and a great Apple alternative.
- Lighter and smaller than the XM4
- Comfy tips with plenty of size options
- Made from recycled materials
- Can connect to two devices
- Very expensive
- Might not fit all ears
These gorgeous earbuds are the latest refresh in a long line of Sony hits, and they easily challenge the Apple AirPods Pro. A bit more discreet, Sony makes these understated devices out of lovely materials that feel softer to the touch than the metallic stiffness of Apple. The noise cancellation works with in-built microphones to adapt to your surroundings.
They also have great touch controls and a quick pause when taking out an earbud when you quickly need to chat with a pal. The Sony WF-1000XM5 also features touch-sensitive controls, so it’s easy to tap your earbuds to control your music and take calls. This is alongside fantastic ANC, allowing you to take in that tremendous audio quality in peace.
Finally, Sony has a proprietary Sony headphone app and audio profile settings so you can customize your sound to your heart’s content. Coupled with the absolutely astonishing sound quality, these devices boast some of the best sound on the market. That explains the major price tag that comes with these earbuds.
3. Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro
A great mid-range pick if you move between Apple and Android.
- Great for Samsung users
- Simplistic, professional design
- Average 4-5 hour battery life
- Sound range is lackluster
- Not the most comfortable device
An improvement on almost any previous Samsung Galaxy earbuds, these newest additions to the team bring a lot of neat changes for Samsung users. If you own several Samsung devices like a smartwatch or TV, it’s very easy to move between devices and keep your favorite sound profiles. However, it might not be likely that you own an iPhone while only using Samsung tech otherwise.
They also look professional with their single-color design, though they do fit into ears at a slightly odd angle. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro also features one neat mechanic for anyone who uses their phone a lot, as they use accelerometers to detect where you’re pointing your head. If you spend too much time staring down, the headphones notify your device, telling you to give your poor neck a break and look up straight again. I know I could use these after spending hours on Coin Master.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro doesn’t feature the industry-leading sound of Sony or Sennheiser, but they still have a clear and concise profile with great noise separation for music. Much like other devices in this price range, they also feature fantastic noise canceling and splash resistance so these are probably better for use in day-to-day life and during gym workouts than in the studio truly inspecting your soundscapes.
4. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Industry-leading sound with a fitting price tag.
- Maybe the best sound on the market
- Improvements over the True Wireless 2
- Great adaptive ANC
- Slightly limited in features
- Chunky case
Sennheiser is a market leader in sound quality. Up until recently, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds boasted some of the best wireless audio on the market, with a few drawbacks. Well, the king has returned, and the True Wireless 3 improves on audio and ANC. It even starts at a lower price.
Unlike some gaudy earbuds, the Sennheiser’s look and feel sturdy and professional, and feel great to wear for extended periods. The True Wireless 3 earbuds have a comfortable build and these handy wing tips, that keep the buds firmly in your ear during exercise as well as keeping a lot of noise out alongside that brilliant ANC.
But the star of the show is the astounding audio quality, boasting an incredible frequency range that still managed to clearly separate instruments and sounds no matter the volume, This dynamic audio can also be fine-tuned within the Sennheiser earbud app for all you audio perfectionists.
The new case now features wireless charging, which, alongside the slightly smaller earbuds and case do mean the buds are more portable. However, the case is still a fair amount larger than some others on the market, though this does give you around 20-something hours of overall battery. If you also want to connect to several devices at once, the True Wireless 3 headphones allow you to quickly move between devices. The downside is you can’t use multiple at once like some other pairs on the market.
5. Jabra Elite 3
A surprisingly cheap pick that boasts a lot for the price.
- That amazing budget price
- Great design and a nice case
- Secure and comfortable fit
- Not the best audio quality or mic
- No wireless charging
Sometimes you need a cheap and cheerful pair of headphones that are reliable, comfortable, and still boast some neat features. This is where the Jabra Elite 3 slots into the market, and they absolutely achieve the goal of a fantastic overall ‘budget’ device.
The sound is fantastic for the price range, though there’s some slight hissing at low volumes and a bit of a dull distortion to the lower ends, but they are still perfectly capable of pumping out some belting tunes. These tend to dip towards being quite bass-heavy, but the handy Jabra app does allow you to adjust your preferences, just not quite to the minutiae of a Sony or Sennheiser pair of earbuds. But, the sound is dynamic, clear, loud, and feels great for the price point. You can’t get better without spending some serious money folks.
The Jabra Elite 3 also comes in a variety of nice colors, and while they do look slightly cheaper than some, they are still nice to look at. They are compact and fit nicely into the ear, and the smaller case might not have wireless charging, but they can reach up to over 20 hours of charge, around 6-7 hours in one single stint. Basically, these are likely the best earbuds under $100.
6. Razer Hammerhead Hyperspeed Pro
A premium option focused on gaming instead of music.
- Gorgeous design and great RGB lights
- 2.4hz connection perfect for gaming
- Solid battery life
- Fiddly touch controls
- Audio and ANC quality are subpar
One thing we love doing on our iPhones is gaming, and if you want to balance great gaming earbuds with some great sound quality, then the Razer Hammerhead Hyperspeed Pro earbuds are a premium choice with some fancy features. The earbuds arrive with a USB-C 2.4hz adapter allowing for superfast audio connections, perfect for gaming.
Plus, if you’re a streamer who likes a fancy touch, the Razer Hammerhead earbuds feature an RGB light on either earbuds, ready to dazzle people on the bus, or to help light up your frame while playing games on Twitch. You can set them to phase between colors, or instead react to sound for a real display. Make sure you read our Razer Hammerhead Pro Hyperspeed review for more.
7. Apple AirPods Gen 3
The cheaper Apple option.
- Spatial audio
- Apple features
- Disappointing sound
- Loose, uneasy fit
Sometimes it’s just easier to be in the Apple ecosystem, and if you can’t quite stretch to the AirPod Pros, then the regular AirPods are still a good fit that can easily slot into your life. They’re very small and portable at least, though they don’t have the comfort of their larger counterpart, and sometimes feel a little loose when they sit in the ear.
However, they are great as day-to-day earbuds, with unique features like spatial audio, which adds a bit of atmosphere to your YouTube viewing habits. The sleek AirPod case also barely makes a dent in your pockets, and the addition of MagSafe charging makes these earbuds even more convenient. However, for wired charging, they still need the Lightning cable connection.
The earbuds hold around 6-7 hours of consistent sound a charge, and at least three times that with the charger. Plus, you can easily control your music by tapping them, and even quickly access Siri to utilize the functions of your phone. While the sound quality is good, it’s not impressive, and there’s no active noise cancelation, either. But if you’re an Apple user, the Apple AirPods are still a great choice thanks to their form, function, and convenience.
How we test the best earbuds for iPhone
When it comes to the best earbuds for iPhone, our priority is how good they are from day to day, be it for gaming, music, canceling out noise, etc. Sound quality is very important, and while not everything is the best on the market, we make sure earbuds produce clear audio and have a good enough microphone for calls. We test a variety of different audio, with music, TV shows, and films, to check the frequency range and how clear audio is at both low and higher volumes.
We also look at general battery life, earbud cases, and how well they slot into your lives. It’s no use having fantastic earbuds that give up on you after an hour. Alongside this, we take into account whether they have wireless charging, whether they can last a full day of use, and how ergonomic or well-designed both the earbuds and the case are. Another key factor is Active Noise Canceling (ANC), an industry-standard feature that we hope to see in every premium product. We check outdoor scenarios to see if there is any sound leakage and how much of the audio quality is maintained. Find out more about how we test hardware.
For those on a budget, we also consider the price of a product, especially when we consider the amount of features on offer with a pair of earbuds. Newer features like Spatial Audio are great but not essential for everyday use. Same with apps and certain customization features. Not everyone needs to control every aspect of their audio quality, so does the price of the product align with the services and features offered?
Once you’ve pressed play on this article, check out the rest of our tech tips and iPhone guides here at Pocket Tactics. If you’ve got an Apple device, we can also help you find the best iPhone chargers, best iPhone power banks, best iPhone 13 cases, best iPhone 14 cases, and best iPhone cases.
That’s all we have for our best earbuds for iPhone guide for now, but check back soon for more, and as always, do submit your recommendations over at the Pocket Tactics Facebook page.