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How to Fix iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode

Updated on

Writer, Apple

Over the last decade, Farhad has gained hands-on experience with smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, etc. If he's not writing, you can bet he's trying to keep up with the latest technology. He oversees coverage of iPhone, iOS, and Apple Watch for Gotechtor.

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It is the case with iPhones that you can exit the headphone mode by simply unplugging your wired headphone or disconnecting the wireless ones. Sometimes, however, you are left with your iPhone stuck in headphone mode.

When that happens, your phone keeps thinking that an audio device is connected. As a result, you won’t hear any audio out of your iPhone’s loudspeakers.

We understand how frustrating this problem could get when you urgently need to hear something through your phone’s speakers. So this article will step you through possible fixes for when your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode.

Why Does the iPhone Get Stuck in Headphone Mode?

Before we get into the fixes, let’s figure out why your iPhone might be stuck in headphone mode. Anything from a defective headphone or a software bug could be a potential cause of this problem. Some of which might include:

  • Using low-quality or faulty headphones
  • A software glitch
  • Accumulation of dust or moisture in the headphone jack hole
  • Disconnecting the headphones while the phone was overloaded

Keep in mind that the cause of your iPhone getting stuck in headphone mode might be completely random. Follow the steps below to troubleshoot your phone’s problem.

1. Plug and Unplug the Headphones

Before you go for any other solution, simply try to plug a pair of headphones in. Afterward, unplug the headphones and check if the problem has been resolved.

Sometimes, your iPhone’s headphone jack fails to recognize the headphones being unplugged and remains in the headphone mode.

2. Restart Your iPhone

It is always a good idea to restart your phone in case of sudden problems. Software glitches or technical malfunctioning of your phone can occasionally be solved using a just quick restart, so give it a try!

For step-by-step instructions, please check out our guide on how to restart iPhone (all models included).

3. Check Audio Output Settings Configurations

The recent versions of iOS enable you to decide the output device through which the audio will be played. To access audio output settings:

  1. Open Control Center.
  2. Following that, tap on the AirPlay icon to see a menu pop up.
  3. Make sure to choose iPhone so that your audio will be sent directly to your phone’s speakers.

4. Turn Airplane Mode on and Off

It might be that your phone still thinks it is connected to some external audio source like wireless headphones. We suggest that you enable and disable the Airplane mode, which might solve your problem. To do so:

1. Open Control Center.

2. Tap on the Airplane Mode icon.

Enable Airplane Mode
Tap on Airplane Mode. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. After a few seconds, tap on the same icon again to turn Airplane Mode off and check your speakers.

5. Connect to a Different Audio Source

You can try connecting your iPhone to another audio source like a Bluetooth speaker. To do that:

1. First, head over to Settings.

iPhone Settings App
Go to Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. Tap on Bluetooth.

Bluetooth in Settings app
Tap on Bluetooth. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Next, turn Bluetooth on and click on the preferred device.

Disabling bluetooth
Turn on Bluetooth. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. The pairing should begin if your Bluetooth speakers are on.

Afterward, disconnect the external audio device and check if your iPhone’s loudspeakers function appropriately.

6. Reset Network Settings

Next, you’re going to reset the network settings on your iPhone. By doing this you’ll erase the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular, or VPN settings on your iPhone.

To reset your iOS Network Settings, follow these steps:

1. On your iPhone, go to Settings

2. Tap on General to access the reset option

General option on iPhone settings
Select General from Settings. Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

3. Scroll down and tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone

Transfer or reset iPhone settings
Tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone. Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

4. Tap Reset for more options.

reset option on iPhone settings
Tap Reset. Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

5. A pop-up menu will show up on the screen with various reset options. Tap on Reset Network Settings.

Reset iPhone network settings
Tap Reset Network Settings. Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

After you confirm your selection, this will delete all network settings, returning them to factory defaults.

7. Clean Headphone Jack

After addressing possible software problems, let’s take a look at actual physical reasons for your iPhone getting stuck in headphone mode.

First, it is worth mentioning that the build-up of dust or other material in your headphone jack could send a false signal to the phone.

That could lead the software to think that an audio device is connected to the headphone jack. Try casting some light into the headphone jack to see if you can spot any debris that could be the cause of your problem.

If you see just an unmoving metal at the end of the hole, you can rest assured that your headphone jack is clear, and you should look for the source of your problem elsewhere.

Assuming you see some debris or dust accumulation, use a brush with long bristles to clean the headphone jack.

You can also use compressed air; however, make sure that you don’t overdo it or hold the straw too close to the end of the headphone jack. After that restart your iPhone and check to see if the stuck in Headphone Mode is fixed.

8. Your iPhone Might Have Water Damage

Another hardware problem that might have led to your iPhone getting stuck in headphone mode is water damage. Some iPhones have liquid contact indicators which will turn red upon exposure to water.

If water or moisture has found its way into your phone (particularly through the headphone jack), you should have your phone checked by an Apple technician in a trusted Apple repair center.

9. Set Up Genius Bar Appointment for iPhone Repair

If none of the solutions above managed to solve your problem, you should take make a Genius Bar reservation for tech support.

Depending on their diagnosis of your iPhone’s problem, they might apply software or hardware fixes.


Your iPhone’s speakers might have randomly stopped working, leaving you confused about the cause.

We’ve tried to list possible methods to fix this problem. In doing so, we addressed the possible software or hardware problems that might have caused your iPhone to get stuck in headphone mode.

If you know any tips that have worked for you, please feel free to share them with us in the comment section below.

Writer, Apple

Over the last decade, Farhad has gained hands-on experience with smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, etc. If he's not writing, you can bet he's trying to keep up with the latest technology. He oversees coverage of iPhone, iOS, and Apple Watch for Gotechtor.

Farhad Pashaei

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