It's been a few days since the iPhone 7 launch, and users have already discovered a potentially inconvenient bug that affects headphones plugged into the Lightning port. Early buyers are reporting that if the display is turned off for 5 minutes without any music playing, the Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter and Apple's Lightning EarPods — both included with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus — will automatically turn off physical headphone controls. This can also happen if audio is paused during that time. Not everyone is experiencing the problem; some only encounter it intermittently. We were unable to recreate the issue, for example.
Some people might not even notice such a thing, but if your headphones feature inline controls for voice calls and music playback, the automatic shutoff means that those will stop functioning until you unplug the adapter or EarPods and plug them back in. Apple told Business Insider that it's aware of the issue and is planning to fix it with a future software update, though the company didn't get specific about exactly when that'll happen.
The iPhone 7 Plus' Portrait mode will be added with an update sometime later this fall, so that could be when Apple bundles in a fix for this disconnection glitch. It could be an intentional function designed to prevent Lightning accessories from draining the phone's power when inactive. Either way, Apple's going to change the behavior so that you'll be able to keep using those headphone controls even if you haven't been listening to anything for awhile.