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Keyword: ‘Headphone cord wrap’

Life-Changing iPod/iPhone Tip

November 7th, 2008

In his Tangled Up In White post, John Gruber of Daring Fireball writes about the “green” revisions to the most recent batch of Apple headphones that serendipitously make them slightly more tangle free. I had to purchase a new set of headphones in September when my original iPhone headphones went from functional to complete disintegration in a period of about 72 hours. When those things fail, they fail. I probably should have done my research and bought some uber-headphones for a couple hundred bucks, but instead I dropped into the AT&T store a block from the office and got a pair of the new Apple headphones (the ones that shipped with the iPhone 3G). I can attest to Gruber’s estimation that they are more “rubbery” than “plasticky,” but that’s not really the point of this post.
The point of this post is whether your headphones are rubbery or plasticky should be irrelevant to the effectiveness of keeping them untangled, because you should be following the One True Way Of Headphone Wrapping. Wrapi-do in Japanese, I believe. Also affectionately known as The Devil Horn Method. All snark aside (momentarily at least), this little hack really has kept my buds tangle-free for years now.
Here’s how it works: Pretend you’re at a Def Leppard concert and make the devil horns with your left hand. (Don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean — middle and ring fingers bent and held down by the thumb, index and pinky extended.) Tuck the buds underneath the middle and ring fingers to secure them and use your devil horns as posts around which to loop the cord. (Some people advocate a figure-eight wrap, but I find a simple loop works fine.) Leave a couple inches of cord at the end. Slide the loop off the devil horns, and wrap the remaining cord around the middle of the loops, creating a little bundle. Thread the plug end through the loop opposite the buds and give it a gentle pull to tighten the bundle. This little package now fits neatly in your pocket, is almost entirely tangle proof, and unravels with ease.
There’s no video of true wrapi-do, but here are two that come close. This dude has the right idea, but he has clearly never attended a Def Leppard concert:

On the other hand (haha, get it?), this fellow has nearly perfected the devil horn methodology, although the flailing thumb concern me a bit.
The figure-eight wrap is acceptable, if a bit ostentatious, but he goes off track with that whack tuck move at the end, instead of threading the plug through the loop appropriately. That’s just wrong. You’ll never get to nationals with form like that, bub.
UPDATE: Daring Fireball linked here and also to a perfect example of wrapi-do. This is dead on: