“It’s possible to receive a small and quick electrical (static) shock from your earbuds while listening to [an] iPod or iPhone,” the page states.
“For users actively listening to Slipknot, the experience may be deemed ‘awesome,'” it probably should continue.
In all seriousness, though, the shock is a simple result of static electricity: A charge builds up and becomes concentrated in the earbuds. Then, at some point, it reaches its threshold and discharges by sending you a quick zap. It’s kind of like the slide-your-feet-and-shock-someone phenomenon, as Apple explains, only with the energy concentrated in the device instead of in your body.
Apple’s Earbud Protection Plan
So what’s a music listener to do? Fear not, earbud fans: Apple has some tips to keep your shock level low.
• Don’t use your earbuds in “dry environments.” Also don’t misinterpret this and take them into the pool.
• Avoid touching a grounded and unpainted metal object before sticking the buds in your ears. Well, damn — there go my plans for doing handstands on a construction site while enjoying the smooth sounds of Yanni’s “Optimystique.”
• Spray some anti-static spray into the air before starting up your iPod. This has the added bonus of causing everyone in the room to clear away from you.
• Try wearing different clothes. Seriously — that one is exactly what Apple suggests, word-for-word. The iPhone team recommends natural fibers instead of synthetic fibers. And here you thought you had to turn to Ralph Lauren for fashion advice.
• Keep the device in your pocket as much as possible, as rubbing it “on certain materials” too much can cause a charge to build up. Wait… what are we talking about, again?
• Finally, use an “anti-static hand lotion.” I swear to you I’m not making this stuff up. And I’m not even going to go there with this one, either. I’ll just say this: You’re welcome.