Apple included a spare dongle in the boxes of the iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, and 7 Plus phones, but it isn’t so generous this year when it comes to including a 3.5mm audio dongle in the box.
The 3.5mm dongle is no longer a free accessory and the new iPhones won’t ship with Apple’s own fast Lightning to 3.5mm audio jack adapter. This includes the iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, and the iPhone 8, which used to include the free dongle.
Granted, the audio jack dongle included in prior iPhones wasn’t the longest-lasting accessory and definitely didn’t include features like a DAC or audio enhancements. It was a means of being able to fall back on your wired headphones, or use the wired function of your wireless headphones (when they’re out of charge, for example).
Instead, Apple will still sell you the dongle separately for $9. Despite it being the least expensive dongle that Apple sells, it still comes at a cost now.