Getting annoyed with your iPhone stuck on headphones mode despite disconnecting your AirPods or headphones?
When your iPhone is in headphone mode, it won’t output sound using the primary speakers. Instead, it will try to send signals to an external device like earphones, headsets, and Bluetooth speakers.
If your iPhone is stuck in headphones mode, it means that it is detecting the presence of headphones or any external audio device, even if it’s not connected.
This is very frustrating since it can prevent you from doing day-to-day tasks. You can’t watch videos and shows, make or answer calls, or even hear prompts for app notifications, messages, and emails.
What Causes Your iPhone to Get Stuck in Headphones Mode?
Most of the time, your iPhone can get stuck in headphones mode if there’s a problem with the audio jack or Type-C port. It’s also possible that your device’s software is malfunctioning or has a bug or glitch related to external audio devices.
This problem can usually be resolved by cleaning the port on your device, restarting your iPhone, or updating the software.
Device compatibility, hardware failure, and unstable Bluetooth connection could cause this issue on your iPhone.
How to Fix iPhone Stuck in Headphones Mode
1. Remove Phone Cases/Accessories.
Before anything else, we recommend removing your iPhone’s protective case and other accessories installed. Once you’ve removed your external accessories, try plugging and unplugging your headphones and see if it fixes the issue.
As reported by many iPhone users, this solution fixed the issue of their iPhone being stuck in headphones mode.
Based on what we’ve found out, some iPhone cases block the pathway of the audio jack or Type-C port, causing the device to get stuck in headphones mode.
2. Restart Your iPhone.
Restarting your iPhone is one of the most effective ways to solve common issues. This should allow your device to reload its system and eliminate temporary bugs and glitches that occur during runtime.
For iPhone X, 11, 12, or later:
- Hold down the Volume Down button and Side button until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ prompt appears.
- Now, drag the slider to the right and wait for 30 seconds.
- Press the Side button afterward to turn on your device.
For iPhone 6, 7, 8, or SE:
- Locate the Power button on your device.
- Now, hold the button until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ prompt shows up.
- Drag the slider to the right and wait for 30 seconds before turning on your device.
Try playing some audio to check if your iPhone is still stuck in headphones mode.
3. Plugin and Plugout Your Headphones.
Yes, we understand that you’ve already performed this step multiple times. However, just to be sure, please follow the exact steps we’ve provided below on how you should do it.
- First, try plugging in and out your headphones a few more times. While plugging in your headphones, make sure that you can hear audio from them. If not, try another pair of headphones.
- Once you are sure that there’s audio playing on your headphones, stop the audio on the app you’re using. Then, close all applications that could be using audio on your iPhone.
- Now, ensure that your iPhone is unlocked and firmly plug out your headphones.
Give it another restart and see if your device is still stuck in headphones mode.
4. Try Different Headphones.
Headphones have different configurations. Even if it’s the same model or brand, no device is the exact copy of another. Due to this, we suggest using a different headphone on your iPhone if it’s still stuck on headphones mode.
Regardless of the brand of headphones you were using before your iPhone got stuck, it is possible that the one you’ve used is not compatible.
Now, we don’t want you to go out of your way to buy expensive headphones that are made specifically for iPhones. What we suggest is that you grab another pair of headphones from your relatives or friends and try using them on your device.
You can perform the steps mentioned in Solution 3 and see if it will work this time.
5. Check The Ring/Silent Switch.
iPhones have a dedicated ringer switch that allows users to mute or unmute their devices instantly. Some users forgot that they’ve turned on the ringer switch, causing their iPhone not to produce any sound.
To ensure that your device is not in silent mode, the ringer switch should not show an orange color.
6. Check Sound Settings.
Now, your iPhone can also be muted from the settings. The ringer switch can be bypassed from the settings, allowing you to mute or unmute your device without touching the Ring/Silent switch.
Follow the steps below to ensure your iPhone isn’t muted:
- First, open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- After that, go to Sound & Haptics.
- Lastly, make sure that Ringtone and Alert Volume is turned up.
Once done, try using your iPhone and see if you can hear sound coming out of the speakers.
7. Disable Do Not Disturb.
Another reason why you can’t hear anything on your iPhone is if ‘Do Not Disturb’ is enabled. This is a feature that allows you to silence calls, alerts, and notifications when your device is locked.
It’s possible that your iPhone is not stuck in headphones mode and the reason you can’t hear calls and alerts is the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature.
Here’s how you can disable the feature:
- On your iPhone, access the home screen and tap on Settings.
- Now, go to the Focus tab.
- Finally, tap on Do Not Disturb and ensure that the feature is turned off.
Restart your phone afterward and see if you can now hear notification sounds for calls, messages, and other alerts.
8. Toggle Airplane Mode.
Airplane mode is a feature that allows users to disable all wireless connections on their iPhones. If you were using wireless headphones before the issue occurred, you could try toggling Airplane mode on and off.
See the steps below to toggle Airplane mode:
- First, go to your app drawer and access Settings.
- Locate Airplane Mode from the list.
- Tap on the toggle switch to enable it, then tap it once more to disable the feature.
Try playing anything with sounds to check if the problem is solved.
9. Disable Bluetooth.
If you’re using AirPods or other wireless earbuds for your iPhone, you can try turning off your Bluetooth if your device is still stuck in headphones mode. It is possible that your iPhone is still detecting your earbuds even if you’re not wearing them.
To avoid issues, we recommend turning off your Bluetooth if you’re not using any wireless audio device. This should also help you save some battery.
Here’s how you can disable Bluetooth on your iPhone:
- On your iPhone, go to the home screen and tap on Settings.
- Now, locate the Bluetooth tab and open it.
- Finally, tap on the toggle switch to turn it off.
Once done, restart your device and see if it’s still stuck in headphones mode.
10. Force Restart Your iPhone.
You can also try force restarting your iPhone if it’s still stuck in headphones mode. This should clear temporary data from your system and ensure that there are no errors or bugs on your device.
Here’s how you can force restart your iPhone:
- First, press the Volume Up button on your iPhone once.
- Now, quickly press the Volume Down button.
- Hold down the Side button afterward and release it once the Apple logo appears.
Wait for your device to initialize and see if it’s still stuck in headphones mode.
11. Let Your iPhone Go Into Standby Mode.
Some users reported that letting your iPhone enter standby mode is an effective way of solving this problem. While there’s no direct explanation for why this solution works, it is worth the shot.
See the steps below to guide you through the process:
- First, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto Lock and change the option to 30 Seconds.
- Now, plug in or connect your headphones and play music using Spotify or similar applications.
- After that, go to your home screen and wait for your device to enter standby mode. For our case, it should take 30 seconds since that’s what we set earlier.
- Once your iPhone is in standby mode, touch it to wake it up and pause the song you’re playing. Unlock your device and stop Spotify from running in the background.
- Disconnect or unplug your headphones afterward and restart your device.
Once your device has restarted, try playing another song and see if the music is now coming out from the speakers.
12. Clean Your iPhone’s Port.
After some time, dirt and debris will start accumulating on your iPhone’s port. This can cause some contact points on your device to short, causing your iPhone to get stuck in headphones mode.
To rule this out, we suggest cleaning the 3.5mm port or Type-C port on your device. Here are some effective ways to clean your ports:
One of the safest ways to clean your headphones jack is to use a Q-tip. Simply grab one and use it to clean inside your headphone jack gently.
Since they’re soft, you don’t have to worry about them being harmful. This isn’t the case if you’re thinking of using a toothpick or a brush because the sharp edges can cause damage.
Also, when you use your q-tip, do not push it in but rather swipe the debris outwards.
You can also use interdental brushes that are commonly used to clean braces. They are pretty effective as well because of their small size, which can be inserted into the headphone jack.
Again, it’s important to not push it too in but rather swipe the debris outwards.
We recommend that if you’re able to get your hands on a compressed air can, then it can do wonders to remove any lint, debris, and gunk stuck between the headphone jack. You can obtain a can online or from most office supply/computer shops.
It’s important to take note that when using a compressed air can, you use the nozzle (the long straw-like thing). When using the compressed air can press it gently so that only a few bursts of air are blown.
You can take the flashlight and actually look into the headphone jack every time you blow air to see if it makes any difference.
13. Check For Water Damage.
If you have recently dropped your iPhone into water and it got stuck in headphones mode, it is likely that the audio port or Type-C port suffered from water damage. This is likely the case if you’re using an iPhone 6S, SE, and earlier models, which are not water-resistant.
However, dropping your device to water or any liquid doesn’t instantly mean that it’s damaged.
Fortunately, Apple placed a water damage indicator on iPhones, which helps their technicians identify a water-damaged device. You can also use this indicator to see if your device is damaged.
To check the LCI (Liquid Contact Indicator), simply remove the sim tray on your iPhone. You should see the indicator inside.
If the indicator has a red circle/line, then it means that your iPhone’s internals has been in contact with water and is likely damaged. In this case, we strongly advise that you turn off your device.
You can try drying it off with a hairdryer/blower, but we advise that you bring it immediately to the nearest Apple Store to have it checked.
14. Update Your iPhone.
It is also possible that the version of iOS you’re running has an issue related to external audio devices. If this is the case, you can try updating your device to the latest version to patch possible bugs and glitches.
Check out the steps below to update your device:
- Open the Settings app on your iOS device.
- After that, go to General > Software Update.
- Finally, go to Automatic Updates and enable all the options under it. Head back to the previous page and tap on Download and Install.
Try connecting and disconnecting your headphones to see if your iPhone would still get stuck in headphones mode.
15. Adjust Settings For Audio Routing.
iOS allows users to set where audio is heard during phone and video calls. If you can’t hear anything during a call, it’s likely that your audio routing configuration is set to Bluetooth or headphones.
To fix this, follow the steps below:
- First, open Settings on your iPhone.
- Now, go to General > Accessibility.
- Lastly, look for Call Audio Routing and choose Automatic or Speaker.
Once done, try entering a call to check if the problem is solved.
16. Reset iPhone Settings.
You can also try resetting your iPhone’s settings if it’s still stuck in headphones mode. This should roll back any changes to your iPhone’s configurations that could have caused the problem.
Follow the steps below to reset your settings:
- First, go to your home screen and launch the Settings app.
- After that, tap on General and access the Transfer or Reset iPhone tab.
- Now, choose Reset and tap on Reset All Settings.
Wait for your device to complete the process. This should take 2-3 minutes, depending on the model of your iPhone.
Once done, set up your configurations and see if your device is still stuck in headphones mode.
17. Restore Your iPhone Using iTunes.
If your device is still stuck in headphones mode, we suggest restoring your iPhone using iTunes. This should clear your entire data and revert your iPhone back to factory defaults.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Connect your iPhone to your computer while iTunes is opened.
- Now, select your device from the options.
- Hit the Restore button and follow the prompts.
Try plugging in your headphones again after resetting your iPhone to confirm if it will still get stuck in headphones mode.
18. Check Reader Suggested Solutions.
Since this post was published back in 2017, we’ve received tons of helpful suggestions from readers on some creative and effective ways to fix the ‘iPhone stuck on headphones mode’ issue. Our thanks go to all of you. 🙂
Below are a few of the many tips we’ve received, and we hope if you’re encountering such an issue right now, that it helps your situation.
- By doing a backup via iTunes on Mac or Windows PC — A few users have found that by connecting their iPhone to their PC or Mac and trying to do an iTunes backup, it managed to get the iPhone unstuck from headphones mode.
- Test using a FaceTime call — instead of trying to phone call, someone, try to test by using a FaceTime call. Allow for 10-20 seconds for the speaker to work and leave headphones mode.
- Accept a call with headphones plugged in — a few users have also found that accepting a call with the headphones plugged in and then plugging it out during the call helps to get the iPhone unstuck.
- Press the ‘Speaker’ button during a call — by selecting to use the Speaker instead of your headphones, you’re effectively forcing the iPhone to come to the senses and use the speaker to output any audio. If the ‘Speaker’ button is greyed out, you can check out our guide here on how to fix it.
- Try setting the Alarm Clock, and Ring Tone (Settings app > Sounds & Haptics > play any ringtone) to play — you can also try to set your alarm clock or ring tone to go off on your iPhone to see if it forces the iPhone to play the sound out of the speakers.
- Accessibility > VoiceOver > enable VoiceOver — by trying this, it will ask you to press your Home button. Press the Home button, and you should be brought back to speaker mode (removing you out of headphones mode)
- Use Q-tips, hairdryer and sucking in combination — most of the readers have said that using the combination of the Q-tips, hairdryer, and sucking repeatedly helped get the iPhone unstuck.
- Backup using iCloud — a few have also tried to backup using their iCloud, which also allowed the iPhone to be unstuck from headphones mode.
19. Test Using a Bluetooth Speaker.
You see, if the iPhone is stuck on headphones mode because you used your plug-in headphones or earphones, then you can easily undo it by reconnecting the iPhone to a Bluetooth speaker or a pair of Bluetooth headphones.
In fact, this is the very method that managed to fix the issue personally for me. It also has proven to have worked for a lot of our readers, so it is certainly worth trying. 🙂
When you connect your iPhone to a Bluetooth speaker or a pair of Bluetooth headphones, your iPhone will recognize the Bluetooth device and will also know when you disconnect it; since you’re not unplugging it manually, which can sometimes be confusing to your iPhone.
This is a pretty neat trick that you can do, and all you’ll need is either a Bluetooth speaker or a pair of Bluetooth headphones that you have lying around.
Once you have that, all you have to do is connect your iPhone to your Bluetooth speaker or the Bluetooth headphones, give it a good 5 minutes or so and then disconnect it back to see if it has fixed your iPhone.
20. Contact Apple Support.
If none of the solutions above worked, the last thing you can do is report the problem to Apple’s team. As mentioned earlier, the port on your device could be damaged and needs to be replaced.
Head to the nearest Apple Store in your location and ask their service technicians to check your iPhone. However, we recommend backing up your device before bringing it in to avoid losing data.
On the other hand, you can also report the issue by visiting Apple’s support page if you don’t have time to visit a physical store.
That ends our guide on how to fix your iPhone if it’s stuck in headphones mode. For your questions and other concerns, please let us know in the comment section, and we’ll do our best to respond.
If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂