How to Fix iPhone Stuck in Headphones Mode, Speaker Not Working-AppleToolBox
Did you recently update your iPhone’s or another iDevice’s to the iOS latest version? And now, ever since that update, you can’t get ANY sound out of your iPhone’s speakers. Your iDevice seems to be stuck in some sort of “headphones mode” and only plays sound out of a pair of plugged-in headphones!
Sometimes your iPhone gets stuck in headphones mode and prevents you from hearing any sound. Your iPad, iPod, or iPhone mistakenly acts as if headphones or earbuds are plugged in, and now your iPhone’s stuck.
Too Much Text? Check Out Our Video On Headphone Mode
How do I get my iPhone out of headphone mode? Start Simple!
- First, let’s start really simple and try this one out: just go to Settings, Sounds & Haptics, then to Ringtone. Try different ringtones and see if your speakers and sound works again.
- Clean your headphone or lightning port, making sure it’s clean and free of lint and other debris
- Try connecting and then immediately disconnect a Bluetooth speaker or other BT device
- Turn on Airplane Mode
- Fire up a music app
- Make an audio recording using apps like Voice Memos
- If you connect to a Bluetooth Speaker, charge it up and see if that unsticks headphones mode
- Also, make sure your battery has a charge of at least 30%. If less than that, charge it and see if the power level was the problem.
- Finally, close all your open applications by double-tapping Home or swiping up the Home Gesture Bar and then swiping up to close each and every app. Then restart your iPhone by pressing and holding the power button.
iPhone Speaker Not Working?
If you do not see the on-screen notice for headphones, but your iPhone or iDevice’s speaker isn’t producing any sound, check the following things first!
- Check that you set your Mute switch to the off position
- If your device has a Ring/Silent switch, move the switch so that orange isn’t showing
- Open Settings > Do Not Disturb and check that Do Not Disturb is off
- Turn volume all the way up via side volume button or Settings > Sounds > Ringer and Alerts Slider
- Drag the Ringer And Alerts slider up or down a few times and see if this makes any difference
- Try adjusting the volume with the slider in Control Center
- Check that Settings > Sounds > Change with Buttons is toggled on
- Make sure AirPlay is not sending your audio to another source
- Go to Settings > Bluetooth and turn off Bluetooth
No Headphones Jack But Still Stuck in Headphones Mode?
Check out our article on how to Clean your lightning port and cable.
Yes, your lightning headphones also get stuck into Headphones Mode! And a lot of other issues happen to our lightning ports–well, they are used for pretty much everything these days!
Unplug your Headphones
If you see the icon below when you adjust the volume buttons, there may be debris in the headset port.
To remove, unplug then re-plug headphones several times (at least 7-8 times).
Then perform a hard restart of your iPhone (pressing and holding both home and power or if no mechanical home button, volume down and power until the Apple logo appears on-screen.)
Some users have reported that they fixed this problem successfully by using a hair dryer or sucking (hard) on the headphone port.
You may also want to use a toothpick or a Q-Tip and clean the port to remove any remaining dirt/particles.
For the Q-Tip make sure you pull off most of the cotton so that it will fit the port snugly. But make sure you don’t push it into the point where the Q-Tip gets stuck!
With the Q-Tip inside the jack, rotate it a few times to release anything that’s lodged inside.
If you try a hairdryer, make sure you blast the phone jack with the hair dryer on cold setting if available or the lowest temperature setting on your hairdryer.
Always make sure you turn your phone off before taking any of the steps listed above.
Try A Bluetooth Speaker
Try connecting your iDevice to a Bluetooth speaker or Bluetooth headphones, then disconnected it. See if that works in getting your headphones mode unstuck!
Check Some Settings
Tucked away in Accessibility is a setting called “Call Audio Routing.” This setting determines where you hear audio coming from during phone calls and FaceTime audio calls. Sound familiar?
So let’s check these settings. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and scroll down to the section titled “Interaction.”
Continue to scroll until you find Call Audio Routing. It should list “Automatic.” If it doesn’t, tap it and select Automatic from the list.
If it does already say “Automatic,” try setting it to Speaker.
Now test it out by placing a call or FaceTime audio call.
See if your speaker now works. If so, go back to this same setting and change it back to “Automatic.”
Toggling this setting mode may help get your iPhone unstuck from headphones mode.
Try AirPlane Mode
Switch to Airplane mode for a minimum of 15 minutes. Go to Settings > Airplane Mode and toggle it on. Wait for 15 minutes or more and then switch it off and see if your speakers are working again.
Record a Sound
A lot of folks find that their iPhones and iPads get unstuck from headphones mode after making an audio recording with their devices. Use an audio recording app like Voice Memos or fire up Garage Band, even shoot a video using your camera app.
Use whatever recording app you like and give it a try and see if this tip works for you!
Blow into the headphone jack
Before you use a compressed air machine or canned air to blow it into your iPhone’s headphone jack, get a flashlight and see if there is anything stuck inside.
If something is noticeable, take it out. Now, carefully and gently blow air right into the headphone’s jack. That should remove any small particles. If it doesn’t, try and blow a little harder.
Or get a spray can of industrial strength “Dust Off” or similar. These products are usually used to clean computer keyboards and other electronics.
Luckily, the small plastic straw attachment fits into the headphone jack almost perfectly. Blast some air in there for a few seconds and check and see if your audio is back into working order.
A couple of our readers even used a small vacuum cleaner to suck the headphone plug outlet. And wouldn’t you know, it worked! Just be very careful. And make sure you stick with a small vacuum–do not use any industrial or commercial types!
Use (or Make) a Tool
Some users find that an interdental brush helps to clean out any dirt and dust from the headphone jack. You find interdental brushes in almost any grocery store or drug store.
Remember to clean with a light touch, just brushing the insides of the headphone jack. When you add a bit of rubbing alcohol to the brush, you help to remove anything that’s stuck stubbornly on. Use just a little bit and make sure your phone is off before inserting any tool into the headphone jack.
Another method is to make your own and very small lint brush by using a paperclip and some transparent tape. Bend the paperclip straight and wrap the paperclip’s tip with the transparent tape, sticky side facing outwards.
Make sure you wrap the tape tightly around the paperclip. Gently insert the sticky tip into the headphone jack, lightly pressing it side to side to pick up whatever dust and dirt are there.
Remember to turn off your phone before you try this and always use the lightest of touch.
Alternatively, roll a small piece of tape inside out with the sticky part on the outside. Gently insert this rolled tape into the headphone jack port and press it side to side. Leave plenty of it hanging out of the jack, so it’s easy to remove.
Another reader realized that on the inside of the jack port there is a tiny, pinhead-sized silver pressure button.
This particular iFolk found that this pressure button often gets stuck with humidity, grime, dust, you name it! So try a little light scraping with a safety pin followed by a swab with just a bit of alcohol fixed this problem.
Try Some Music or Another App
Some readers report that playing music worked for them with iTunes, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify…you get the drift. Play music on any music related app, even YouTube!
First plug in your headphones or earbuds, open iTunes and play any song or audio program. Let your iPhone screen lock automatically. Then unlock your phone, close iTunes by double clicking home and swiping upwards.
Follow this by unplugging your headphones. Open YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, or similar and play something. Turn the volume all the way up and check if the speakers work again! If so, open other apps and verify that the apps and your ringer work too.
Did your iPhone get wet? Is your iPhone stuck in headphones mode due to water damage?
Accidentally dropping your iPhone in liquid or getting too much water or other liquid on your device can cause your iPhone to have speaker problems and get stuck in headphones mode.
First, locate your iPhone’s moisture sensor and look for a red circle or red line.
Inspect the Water Damage Indicator
You can tell if your iPhone has water or liquid damage by checking its liquid contact indicator (LCI) on the side of your iPhone. It’s usually just inside the SIM slot.
If your iPhone has been in contact with a liquid, the LCI turns red. If it’s white or silver, good news! Your phone does not have water damage!
Is there water damage to your iPhone?
If there is some water damage, the most important thing is to completely dry your iPhone as soon as possible–immediately!
It’s important to clean and dry that headphone jack as well as the rest of the phone. Take a Q-Tip or absorbent cloth and gently insert it into the headphone jack or lightning port to soak up any trapped water.
If you don’t want to insert anything into the jack or port, try instead using a hairdryer on the cool setting or a fan to evaporate any water.
You can’t fool Apple!
If you bring in your water damaged iPhone, and an Apple Tech see that your LCI is red, they won’t repair it or replace it under your active warranty.
Reset your iPhone and BackUp
Some users found it helpful to turn off their iOS device and then turn it back On. If those solutions don’t work out for you, this method might help. Give it a try and let us know what’s going on.
Another reader reports success just by manually backing up her iDevice via iCloud. After backing up to iCloud, she discovered that her iPhone wasn’t stuck in headphones mode anymore.
So try and test this one tip out too.
And if you backup via iTunes, it potentially works for that backup method as well.
Ease on Down the Road to Your Apple Store
If you still have this problem, it’s time to contact Apple support or visit your nearest Apple Store.
You might need your headphone jack replaced, usually part of the dock assembly (often the docks cable), Lightning connector, and headphone jack assembly, or lightning port if iPhone 7 or higher.
This repair you might be able to do on your own, DYI. It all depends on your phone model.
If you want to attempt this replacement, make sure you know your model number and then do a web search for replacing the dock assembly or Lightning connector and headphone jack assembly for that particular iPhone or another iDevice model.
How to turn off headphone mode on Android phones
This isn’t just an Apple and iPhone problem!
Many of our Android friends visit this page to help them when they find their Android phones stuck in headphones mode.
Most of the tips listed above apply to any phone, Android included.
The headphone jack might be jammed with lint, dirt or other debris, resulting in your Android phone showing the headphones as active even after unplugging them!
- Try an audio recording or music app
- Reinsert the headphones and then pull them out–repeat a few times
- Turn your phone off and back on
- Try sucking out the water or using a small vacuum to get the water out of the headphone jack or port
- Use a Q-Tip or similar and clean the jack or port
- If necessary, add a drop of rubbing alcohol to remove anything sticky or stuck to the walls
- Use a headset that also has a built-in answer button (or power button) and microphone. Plug it in and long press the answer button for 10 seconds or so. Then immediately unplug your headset without releasing that answer button.
- What I tried was a video call on my iPad using other device using messenger, and it worked!
- My problem was due to my speaker dying while it was connected to my phone via Bluetooth. My phone was then stuck on headphone mode. When I recharged the speaker and properly disconnected the phone from it, headphone mode was unstuck!
- Some readers found that doing a manual (not automatic or scheduled) backup via iTunes to their Macs or Windows PC did the trick to get their iPhones unstuck from headphones mode
- Try a remote! Reader CC found a solution by plugging in headphones with a remote. Then start up an audiobook, pause playback with the same remote, and finally unplug the headphones. Hit playback on that audiobook and for CC, no more headphone mode– it worked again!
- Put your iPhone or iPad for one night in a bag of rice to remove any excess moisture. After at least 12 hours in the rice, power up and use voice-to-text to compose a text message, and for me, that fixed it!
- Call someone with your headphones ON and hit speaker. Once you hang up, turn your iPhone on Silent then turn OFF. That’s how I got my iPhone speaker working again.
- For iPhone 7s and models without headphone jacks, try plugging in your charger back into your iPhone and then immediately unplugging it. Repeat if needed.
- Use compressed air, spraying into the headphone jack or Lightning port, AND AT THE SAME TIME, press both the volume controls in. You might need a friend to help you out on this one!
- A simple solution is to switch ON the mute button and press the volume buttons. Headphone mode often changes back to the Ringer. Remember to switch off your mute button.
- Open the Apple Voice Memos app and record a new voice memo. Solved the problem for me!
- Try a FaceTime call. Be patient as you might hear no sound for 10-30 seconds but stay on the call. For me, the speaker then kicked in, and it left headphones mode.
- The only thing that worked for me was accepting a call with the headphones actually plugged in, and then unplugging and plugging the headphones in multiple times, then hanging up.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.