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Does the Pixel 6a have a headphone jack? The answer may surprise you

One of the questions people have about the Google Pixel 6a is whether or not it has a headphone jack. Previous Pixel a-series phones — the Pixel 3a, Pixel 4a, and Pixel 5a — all shipped with 3.5mm headphone jacks. It was convenient, helpful, and a notable difference compared to the missing headphone jacks on more expensive Pixels. In fact, while promoting the original Pixel phone in 2016, Google poked fun at Apple for releasing the iPhone 7 without a headphone jack — only to pull a 180 and release the headphone jack-less Pixel 2 a year later.

If you’re contemplating getting the Pixel 6a and are reading this article, you’re probably asking yourself, “Since Google kept the headphone jack on the previous Pixel a-series phones, would it do the same for the Pixel 6a?” Unfortunately, the company is making the Pixel 6a the first in the budget line not to carry the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Google Pixel 6a. We see the back of the phone as it's laying on top a piece of wood.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Of all the new upgrades Google mentioned for the Pixel 6a at Google I/O 2022 — including the Tensor processor, longer battery life, sleeker design, and robust camera features — it left out the headphone jack. While the company didn’t give an official explanation as to why it removed the headphone jack, from an economic perspective, not including the port probably made the Pixel 6a cheaper to manufacture and helped justify the $449 price tag. From a marketing perspective, Google decided to follow the trend Apple started of releasing headphone jack-less smartphones with open arms. And it’ll happily sell you a pair of Pixel Buds Pro if you need them.

All Pixels all the time

How to listen to audio on the headphone jack-less Pixel 6a

The Pixel 6a not having the headphone jack like its predecessors isn’t the end of the world. At least not in terms of how you listen to audio from videos, music, and phone calls.

One way to listen to audio in the Pixel 6a is to get a pair of wireless headphones. Google has a line of Pixel Buds with a couple of options to choose from, depending on your budget. There are the Pixel Buds A-Series for $99, and the Pixel Buds Pro for $199. If you still want to hold on to your wired earphones for dear life, you can plug them into the Pixel 6a using a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack dongle. And if you’re at a party or the beach and want to share your music with your friends, you can also use external Bluetooth speakers or the 6a’s built-in stereo speakers.

Is the lack of a headphone jack on the Pixel 6a disappointing? Sure. But that’s just where the smartphone market is heading — and has been for some time. New phones come out, there’s no headphone jack present, and that’s how things go.

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Cristina Alexander
Cristina Alexander has been writing since 2014, from opining about pop culture on her personal blog in college to reporting…
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