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Choosing the Right Apple Lightning to 30-pin Adapter for Your iPod or iPhone

Updated on September 30, 2013

I recently upgraded to a 5th generation Apple iPod Touch. I paid $365 to get the 64GB version. However, I had another cost that turned out to be unexpectedly high. I have a Bose SoundDock® Series II digital music system iPod dock, which has the 30-pin connecter used by older iPod models, including my iPod Touch 4th generation. So, I had to also buy a special adapter that will connect my new iPod to my Bose dock.

According to the Bose website:

The SoundDock Series II system works with many iPhone and iPod models. It requires an Apple Lightning to 30-pin adapter for use with iPod and iPhone models with an Apple Lightning connector, such as iPhone 5.

The Bose SoundDock Series III Digital Music System with Lightning Connector comes with the connecter, if you want to upgrade your iPod dock. Be sure you choose the lightning connecter version.

What shocked me was the high price for these required adapters. I had to choose between a $27 adapter or a $34 cable adapter. So, it is a significant extra cost to think about when choosing to upgrade an older iPod model.


Do not buy cheap adapters. You will find lightning to 30-pin adapters for as little as $5. There are several available on Amazon. However, they will only charge your device. If you want to play music, these cheap adapters won't work. Plus, reviewers complain about them breaking very quickly. Stick with the overly expensive Apple versions.

If you are buying an adapter on Amazon, make sure you are buying either directly from them or from a legitimate 3rd party seller like J&R. Some third party sellers are selling cheap knock-offs as the real thing, so check seller reviews before making a purchase.

Apple Lightning to 30-Pin Adapter
Apple Lightning to 30-Pin Adapter
Apple Lightning to 30-Pin Adapter (0.2M)
Apple Lightning to 30-Pin Adapter (0.2M)

Lightning Adapter Versus Cable

There are two kinds of adapters you can buy. The nice thing about the regular adapter is that it will sit directly on an iPod dock like the Bose or iHome. The downside is that it's very shaky and could potentially damage your dock's pin connecter if you aren't very careful. Another downside is that it won't properly connect with many iPod and iPhone cases.

The other option is buying the cable. Now, the cable costs about $7 more but it has a couple of advantages. You don't have to worry about damaging your dock pins and it works with cases.

I ended up choosing the cable, which means my new iPod no longer sits on my iPod dock. It's not ideal but it gets the job of playing music done. I have small children, so I feel it's safer to have the cable, since they can be a little rough disconnecting the iPod from the dock.

As you can see, there isn't really an ideal solution for using the new iPhone and iPod Touch 5th generation with older docks. You have to choose between two less than perfect and costly solutions.

These adapters can be used for charging, synching and audio output. However, they can't be used for video output.

The following demo and review videos will give you a better idea of what may work best for you.

© 2013 Learn Things Web


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      donkeyflatulence 4 years ago

      thanks. as i have 3 pods with one using lightning and two with 30pins I wondered if i shud by the dock II or the dock III. Having the II would have meant compatibility with the older ipods, but knowing I would have sacrificed something for the lightning connector ipod, i decided to go with the III dock. The lightning ipod will be the main ipod being docked also.

      cud go bluetooth too i guess, but want to keep my reproductive organs intact.