Tangled headphone cables are the first world problem that affects most mobile users at one time or another. At least those who use headphones or Apple’s EarPods. The cables almost look like they’re designed to run around in your pocket or gear bag. And the law of timing says they will become most complex when you need them the fastest. Of course there are always solutions available when there is a problem. We will come to some of them later in this article. But first, why do these dangling headphone cables get so tangled in the first place?
Believe it or not, there’s a science to explaining why these wires prefer to get tangled. In an article entitled “Self knotting of a shaker springDorian M. Raymer and Douglas E. Smith of the Physics Department at the University of California, San Diego, explain this phenomenon. And yes, physics plays a part in tangling your wires together.
After a series of experiments, it turned out that the length of the cables (as Apple now calls it) for your headphones or EarPods is one of the important variables. Other variables include the thickness of the chord, as well as the container you store them in. This assumes you don’t collect them in your pocket, which is a recipe for mixing them right away.
Given the scientific nature of his experiments, the article is a little too intense to top it off. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation, but the bottom line is that if you have cables between 46 centimeters and 150 centimeters (about 1 foot six inches to 5 feet long for those who aren’t metrically inclined), there’s a good chance those cables will get tangled. increase it to 50%. Apple’s EarPods are 139 cm (55 inches) long.
The “Y” configuration of the EarPods also increases the likelihood of a mess. If you store your EarPods in a case (I used to use an Altoid case), it’s enough to cross one end of one cable over the other when the box is pushed around in your gear case, and that’s where the confusion comes in.
While physics is involved, common sense also dictates that cords will become entangled whenever there is any kind of thrust, especially inside a container or not. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, there are several solutions to try and fix the entanglement problem before I tie you in the knots.
Most of these solutions involve wrapping your cables around a credit card, skin clip, or any number of things that can prevent unwanted clutter from occurring. But keep this in mind. Any sound engineer will tell you that wrapping wires around anything will eventually stretch the wires inside the insulation, causing the wires to fail in some cases. Apple’s EarPods and other relatively inexpensive headphone solutions are certainly not built to last forever. Audio, video and light engineers wrap a cable around an object without winding it and tie the coil. Most uses top/bottom method when winding a cable.
All that said, back in the day when GBM’s Craig Lloyd wrote for Lifehacker, he came up with a number of solutions to try to avoid the cable tangle you might find. in this text and the video below. Most of these solutions do not cost you anything or are very cheap.
And there are a number of options that cost a few dollars that involve wrapping your cables. around something. These things include everything from plastic pieces that look like combs. like a fish with reels this will wrap and unwind your cables. There are also organizer bags that can be purchased to store the harness. We have reviewed a few of these types of gadget accessories in the past. Of course, you can easily use any number of velcro strips or even a rubber band or ladies pony tail accessory to do the trick.
As a result, there are as many different solutions as there are ways for your EarPod or headphone cables to get tangled. It has not been a perfect solution and we do not expect it to be in the future. Add headphone cable tangles to the list of first-world problems we all share, like smudged fingerprints on screens.