iPhone Stuck In Headphone Mode: How To Fix
When you play audio and there is no sound coming from your iPhone but there is an onscreen message displaying your headphone volume despite the fact that no headphones are connected, your smartphone believes you are still connected to the headphones.
This is not an uncommon issue, and in most cases, it is simple to resolve.
1. Plug and unplug headphones
The first thing you should try if your iPhone thinks headphones are plugged in is to plug in, then unplug a pair of headphones. It’s possible that your iPhone’s headphone jack didn’t detect the headphones when you last unplugged your headphones and still believes they are plugged in.
If this trick solves the problem, and if this situation does not occur on a regular basis, consider it a strange one-time occurrence and nothing to be concerned about.
2. Check audio output settings
You can control where audio is played in recent iOS versions: headphones, the iPhone’s speakers, HomePod, other external speakers, and so on. Your headphone mode issue could be related to your audio output settings.
To check these settings:
- Open Control Center. On most iPhones, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. On the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR, swipe down from the top right corner.
- On iOS 10, swipe right to left to reveal the music controls. On iOS 11 and up, tap the music controls in the top right corner.
- On iOS 10, tap the audio controls at the bottom of the panel. On iOS 11 and up, tap the AirPlay icon, represented as three rings with a triangle in it.
- In the menu that appears, if iPhone is an option, tap it to send the audio to your phone’s built-in speakers.
3. Enable and disable Airplane Mode
Your iPhone might still think it is connected to an external audio source, such as Bluetooth headphones. Putting the phone in and out of Airplane Mode will quickly fix the issue.
When the phone is in Airplane Mode, all networking is momentarily turned off, including Wi-Fi networks and, most importantly, Bluetooth devices. If Bluetooth is the problem, breaking the connection should fix it.
Here’s what to do:
- Open Control Center in the way that works for your iPhone model.
- Tap the Airplane Mode icon, represented as an airplane.
- Wait a few seconds, then tap the Airplane Mode icon again to turn Airplane Mode off.
4. Restart the iPhone
The iPhone can be restarted to solve a variety of issues. A simple, momentary technical issue that can be resolved with a restart may be the cause of being stuck in headphone mode. Depending on the model you have, different steps are required to restart your iPhone.
5. Clean the headphone jack
When something is found in the headphone jack, the iPhone assumes headphones are plugged in. There’s a chance that something else in the jack could generate an erroneous signal.
If debris like lint or gunt has accumulated in the headphone jack and is tricking the iPhone into believing something else is there:
- It’s usually simple to check what’s in the headphone jack on different models. You might need to shine a flashlight or penlight into the jack on very old models to get a good look.
- You really shouldn’t be able to see anything other than the metal components of the phone when you look into the jack. Lint and other objects that seem strange or out of place may indicate the presence of something unintentional.
- Compressed air is the best and safest method for clearing out lint or other debris from the headphone jack. Most office supply and computer stores sell it in cans. To clear out any debris, blow a few bursts of air into the headphone jack using the provided straw. Try using a cotton swab or the ink tube from a ballpoint pen if you don’t have compressed air or can’t find any.
Take note that it may be tempting to use an unfolded paper clip because it is the right size and has some strength to attempt to clean lint out of the headphone jack, but this should only be done as a last resort. Using a paper clip is probably not going to cause any damage to your iPhone, but scrubbing a metal object around inside your phone could. Use caution if you decide to take this route.
6. Check for water damage
If cleaning the headphone jack didn’t solve the issue, you might have a hardware issue. It’s possible that moisture from the inside of the phone caused damage.
In that case, the water-damage indicator for the iPhone can be found on many models near the headphone jack. It is visible in the SIM Card slot on more recent models. Apple Support has all the information you require for specific instructions on where the water damage indicator appears on every iPhone model.
If the orange water damage indicator dot appears, a repair is required to unlock your iPhone from headphone mode. You can also attempt to prevent water damage to the phone.
7. Get tech support from Apple.
If your iPhone still thinks headphones are plugged in, you should contact Apple’s support team. They will be able to assist you in determining the source of the problem and resolving it through software or by sending your phone in for repair. You can either contact Apple online or schedule an in-person Genius Bar appointment at your nearest Apple Store.