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February 17, 2012

Using a Square Reader with an extension cable

I’ve been using Square with my business for a few months now and recently decided to put together a point-of-sale with an iPad, only one problem, I didn’t want the Square reader sticking up off the top. I wasn’t asking for much, just the ability to extended the reader a few inches and mount it on the side, but using a regular 3.5mm extension cable wouldn’t work because of how the reader functions.

Doing what any good nerd would do, I took to Google and found nothing but many other people wondering similar things.

One such person suggested I try this item: Audio Extension Cable for iPhone and claimed that it worked perfectly with their Square Reader. Despite having only a one-star rating, I put my faith in this random internet stranger and ordered one. It arrived quickly enough, only to be promptly added to my box of random cables I will probably never use. As you might’ve guessed it didn’t work.
At this point I’m getting rather annoyed, but being the rather passive aggressive person I am, I settle for tweeting asking if anyone else had found a solution. Square replied to one of my followers, but not directly to me, with the following statement…

The reader must be plugged into the headphone jack in order to work. Let us know if you have additional questions.
-SqSupport 

Hmm… Challenge accepted! (Side note: Much like a spoiled child if someone tells me no, I want it all the more)

Undaunted by my previous brush with one-star rated items, I ordered up this little piece of crap pair of headphones: Macally TunePal Stereo Hands-Free Headset and Audio Splitter for iPhone and iPod My logic being that if it supported the audio pass-through for volume controls and a mic that it should work with Square’s card reader. And moments ago, the Macally TunePal arrived, I hurriedly unpacked it and then promptly discarded the headphones only saving the audio splitter, plugged it into my iPhone 4S and then attached the Square Reader…
Success!!

Despite being incredibly short and adding a second unneeded headphone jack, I got what I wanted. Bonus, it turned out to be just long enough to work for my point-of-sale setup.

So dear internet, if you happen to be searching fruitlessly for a method to extend your Square credit card reader, I hope you stumble upon this post before spending too much of your hard earned latte money on various cables that may or may not work. But by all means, if you find another cable that works please share it in the comments!

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