If you’ve ever tried headphones or Apple EarPods with your Xbox One only to be rewarded with an odd buzzing, don’t worry—neither your controller or your headphones are broken. The issue here is how normal headphone jacks are built, and how Apple (and some others) build their plugs. It’s easy to fix.
The video above, from generally-awesome-guy and Polygon video guy Nick Robinson, shows you how easy it is to fix the issue, and why it happens in the first place. If you can’t watch, it’s simple—plug in your headphones to your controller (it’s important you do this first, or else the options you need to change won’t appear), then open your Xbox One’s settings panel. You should see a bunch of microphone settings that weren’t there before, but you want to turn “headset mic” off, and “mic monitoring” all the way down to zero. That should do the trick.
Ultimately the reason for this is because unlike virtually every other headphone manufacturer, Apple has switch the mic and ground rings on the headphone plug, so the sound you hear is actually your ground line coming through your mic. It’s awful, but I can tell you Apple’s not the only people to do this—if you have headphones branded “made for iPhone” or “made for iPod,” odds are their ground and mic rings have been switched as well. This is also the reason why some combo mic/headphones work with iOS devices and not Android devices, for example.
In any event, hopefully this fix will save you from spending money on specific headsets for the Xbox One, and while you won’t be able to use the built-in mic, you will be able to enjoy the audio without that annoying buzz. Give Nick’s video a like, too—it’ll help this simple, quick fix float to the top of people’s YouTube search results when they go looking for a solution to this too-common problem.