I usually keep my phone's earphones in my pocket, or in my bag, and no matter how neatly I try to fold them they always get tangled when I take them out, which irritates me.

How would I prevent this from happening in the future?

  • To understand it better: do you want to put them in the pocket for storage or does this happen while listening to them and having the player-end in the pocket? Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 12:56
  • @AngeloFuchs It is happening when storing in pocket or bag while commuting. I do not find any issues while listening or when in use. Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 2:29
  • I have been using an Applecore cord organizer for this for years and am extremely happy. In fact, I got a 7-pack and use one of the small ones for my headphones, a medium one for my phone headset, and large ones for my power cord and mouse. (Can't post this as an answer, as the question is protected.) Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 18:40

8 Answers 8


This video shows a nifty little trick for this, and is probably better than explaining it in words, but I'll try anyway:

  1. Hold the cable out straight in front of you, with the ear buds by your right hand
  2. Using your left hand, twist the cable 1 turn away from you, and let it naturally coil.
  3. Secure the coil with your right hand
  4. Repeat the process, but this time twisting the cable towards you
  5. Continue alternating until you have about 10-15cm (4-6in) of cable left
  6. Tie the rest of the cable around it to stop it from unraveling
  • 1
    This is a great technique for sail sheets with the loop of extra line hanging on a belaying pin on the bulkhead.
    – Stan
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 23:59

I find it quickest while still being effective to do the following:

  1. Hold the headphones at the plug side
  2. Line two or three fingers up next to each other (it determines how small of a loop you'll create)
  3. Wrap the cord around your fingers until a couple inches are left
  4. Loop the ear buds through the middle of the loop you just created two times so and make sure it's tight

The end goal is to wrap the chord up and then make sure that wrap doesn't come undone, usually using one side of the chord to do so. Using this approach gives you fine control of how big you want to make the loop by changing the number of fingers and space between each.


Methods I use with quotes from Lifehacker.com

Wrap them around your device: Wrap the earbuds or Headphones around a the device. I wrap my earbuds around my MP3 player and that keeps them not tangled. Wrapping them around other object also helps.

Thread the through your jacket or shirt: To keep my device warm and my earbuds not tangled I thread my earbuds inside my jacket or shirt and leave my device in my pocket. This way you can hang the actual earbud out of the neck of your jacket.

Wrapping the cord with floss or other string:

If braiding is your thing, you can braid a friendship bracelet around your headphones to make them tangle-free using embroidery floss or even just some regular string. If you don't know how to braid, you can also use parachute cord (a.k.a. paracord) by just running your headphone wires through If both of those options don't sound like your cup of tea, you can buy headphones that already come braided to prevent them from getting tangled up. Even cheap headphones, like these Monoprice 8320s, already come braided for you. Braided headphones not only look great, but they prevent any tangles from occurring in the first place. However, braiding takes a lot of time, so if you want braided headphones and don't want to take the time to do it yourself, buying braided headphones is your best bet.

Binder Clips: They can be used to hold the Headphones in place or use them in other ways.

enter image description here

Just slap on the binder clip near the earpiece end and begin wrapping the cord around the two metal arms. You can use it as a cable shortener and even clip it on to your backpack for hassle-free listening. When you're done, you can take the headphone jack and feed it through the wider opening of the arms to keep it all in place. This method is very versatile, but it takes up a lot of space, so you won't be able to just slide them in and out of your pocket.

Additional Info

Huffington Post

snapguide.com: Not the best tutorial, but it helps.

Business Insider: Fascinating.

Putting them in your pocket with other stuff does not help to maximize their lifespan, it helps them get damaged and dirty. They should be wrapped properly in a separate pocket that does not get that much trauma or damage.

  • The binder clips, for me, work the best. Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 21:26

Storing and retrieving made fast:


  1. hold the cord just above the earbuds (yes, we are working upside down) with your hand clenched to a fist
  2. wrap the cord around your hand until about 5 inches of cord (with the plug on the end) is left
  3. take the wrapped cord of your hand and wrap the 5 inches of leftover cord around the middle
  4. when you have about 2 inches of cord left, stick the plug through either loop you have created


  1. pull the plug out of the loop
  2. hold the plug in one hand, the earbuds in the other and pull them apart
  3. done

If this is not completely clear, I could upload a video showing you the simple and intuitive steps.


Wrap them in a figure-8 pattern like this: http://lifehacker.com/152499/keep-headphone-wires-from-getting-tangled

Here is a description of the process:

  1. With your right hand make devil horns (third and fourth fingers tucked, second and fifth extended)
  2. Use your thumb to hold the earbuds against your palm
  3. Wrap the cable around your 2nd and 5th fingers using a figure-8. This is really the key part, the cris-crossing prevents it from knotting
  4. When you have 6 to 8 inches of cable left, wrap the remaining cable around the center of the figure-8 a few times
  5. Tuck remaining cable to taste. Sometimes I tuck it through one of the figure-8 loops, sometimes through the center wrapping, sometimes not at all.

Tightness of the wrapping determines how well it holds together, but if you use a loose wrap, you can just pull on the earbuds and the whole thing comes undone without a single knot.

  • Hold the cord in a straight line
  • Fold it in half one or more times
  • Pretend the cord is now one short, thick cord, and tie it in an overhand knot

You don't need to tie the knot very tightly; as long as it's not too loose, I've found this to be a rather stable configuration for all sorts of cords for my electronics.

  • I have long done this, but it is not a good method if you're going to put it in your pocket--it gets shifted around so much that it comes loose. One modification to your trick for long cords it that sometimes halving yields too fat a result or it's too long unhalved--but you can do thirds by holding one end (of the folded cable), catching a loop over a hooked finger in the other hand, catching a loop again in the first hand over a hooked finger, then holding the other end. By allowing the cord to slide over your hooked fingers you can make a perfect "fold in three" to solve the problem.
    – ErikE
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 2:17

When you fold the wire in a daisy chain pattern it will be too stiff to entangle, yet easily open able. (This video shows what I mean)

This is especially useful if you want to store the earbuds for a prolonged time, but after some getting-used-to one can do this in a short moment.

In words you would do it like this:

  1. Hold the cable at all three ends at once and detect the middle.
  2. Grab the cable at the middle letting the ends go.
  3. From now on keep the two/three cables always together, don't just grab one.
  4. Make a small loop on the middle by twisting the bent cable into itself (like a snake-house).
  5. now grab through the loop and hold the cable above the loop, pulling it back through the loop, creating another loop (about three fingers wide or smaller).
  6. let go of the cable part you just pulled through and reach through the freshly created loop.
  7. repeat #5 and #6 until the whole cable is in small interwinded loops.
  8. Fold the cable and put it in your pocket.

To open just grab the cable ends and pull, it should unchain itself.

  • All three ends? I think I know what you mean, but it sounds a bit strange. :)
    – ErikE
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 2:22
  • @ErikE Well, Headphones have three ends. I'm all eyes for a better expression :) Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 9:37
  • Maybe it's wrong, but I think of headphones as having only two ends, one end splitting into two earbuds.
    – ErikE
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 18:38

Clean, tangle-free, and handy earbud storage

When storing your earbuds, put them into a plastic snap-shut pill bottle with a notch cut to allow the cord to clear the lip of the bottle without crimping it. It doesn't need to be air tight.

Wind the cord around the pill bottle.

Either tuck the plug into the last turn of the cord, or push its tip into a small hole in the bottom. A sharp point will get the hole started. Keep the hole small enough to snugly hold the plug contact sleeve.


For use, pull out the earbud connector, plug it into your device, drop the bottle to unwind it. Grab the bottle, flip open the top, and place the (clean) buds into your ears.

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