If you are lucky enough to still have a headphone port on your iPhone, you may find a problem with it causing your iPhone to get stuck in headphone mode. When this happens, no sound plays from your iPhone speakers, even if you don’t have headphones plugged in anymore.
This also happens on newer iPhones after using headphones connected to the Lightning port or via Bluetooth. Whether you have an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 11, if it gets stuck in headphone mode, you can use the steps below to fix it.
Find Out If Your iPhone Is In Headphone Mode First
You might think your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode because it stopped playing sound from the speakers, but many other issues are causing this problem as well. For example, a fault in your speakers can make the sound stop working, without anything to do with your headphones.
Make sure your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode by opening Control Center. To do so, swipe down from the top right corner of your iPhone (or swipe up from the bottom if you have an iPhone with a Home button).
The volume slider in Control Center shows a headphone icon when your iPhone thinks your headphones are connected. If you’re connected to AirPods, you should see the AirPods icon instead.
However, if your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode, the tips below can help fix it.
Restart Your iPhone (Restart)
Your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode due to a hardware or software issue. If it’s a software issue, your iPhone should switch back to speaker mode after you turn it back on.
To do this, press and hold the key Side with buttons Volume (or just hold down the Side button if your iPhone has a Home button). When requested, swipe to turn off and wait 30 seconds for your iPhone to turn off completely. Then press the button Side again to start over.
After restarting, open Control Center to see if your iPhone is still stuck in headphone mode or not. If yes, then there must be a physical issue with your device. Skip the next two steps, which are software based, to find out how to fix it.
If your iPhone switches back to speaker mode, then you are dealing with a software issue. You can keep restarting your iPhone every time it freezes, or use the next two steps to get rid of this problem forever.
If your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode due to a software issue, you should make sure you are running the latest version of iOS. Apple updates iOS frequently to introduce new features and to fix software bugs.
open Settings > General > Software Update to check for new updates. If there is, download and install as soon as possible.
Delete and Reinstall iOS
Corrupt system files on your iPhone might be causing it to get stuck in headphone mode even after you update to the latest version of iOS. If you’ve ruled out a physical problem by restarting your device, you may be able to find a permanent solution by reinstalling iOS.
If you use a computer to do this, it erases and rewrites every line of code on your iPhone, eliminating any software bugs that crept into the system. When you do this, it also deletes all the data on your iPhone, so make sure to backup your iPhone first.
Follow the instructions in our guide to factory reset your iPhone. Make sure you choose to restore using a computer to completely reinstall iOS. Since this is an extreme step to take, we only recommend that you reset your iPhone if a software update doesn’t fix your problem.
Reconnect and Disconnect Your Headphones
If your iPhone is still stuck in headphone mode after restarting, there must be a physical issue with the device. Usually, it’s as simple as dirt buildup in the headphone port, tricking the sensor into thinking something is still plugged in.
Reconnect your headphones and then disconnect them again. Repeat this three or four times to loosen the dirt in the port. Then gently shake your iPhone to let loose debris fall.
If you have Bluetooth headphones, connect and disconnect your headphones by opening Settings > Bluetooth. When you remove your headphones, your iPhone will automatically switch back to using normal speakers.
Clean Headphone Port
There might be more dirt stuffed into your headphone port causing this problem. You have to be careful when cleaning it, as your iPhone can be damaged while doing this.
The best thing is to turn off your iPhone before inserting anything into headphones or a Lightning port, to avoid causing a short circuit or enter a static charge to the electronic device.
Do not insert any metal objects such as straightened paper clips into your port. Instead, use the following tools to safely remove dirt and debris:
- Compressed air
- cotton swabs
- Interdental brush
If nothing else works, you may be able to remove the obstruction from the headphone port on the iPhone 6S or earlier using the inner tube of the pen. The open ends of these tubes are often the same diameter as your headphone port, allowing you to carefully insert them and twist to loosen any debris inside.
For the Lightning port, squeeze the end of the plastic straw to make it oval, then insert it into the Lightning port to loosen any dirt stuck at the bottom.
Check Water Damage
If you can not find debris in the port but the iPhone still stuck in headphone mode, it may be an indication of water damage in your device. This can happen from something as obvious drop your iPhone in the toilet or something as delicate as the sweat dripping into your headphone cable.
Unfortunately, if your iPhone is water damaged, there’s little you can do to fix it except replace the device completely.
You can use the liquid indicator on your iPhone to get a better idea of whether it has water damage or not. Open the SIM card tray and look for the little white tab in it; it turns red, pink, or orange on contact with liquid.
On the iPhone 4S and earlier, you’ll find the liquid indicator tab inside the headphone port itself.
Do not use rice to dry your iPhone if the liquid is damaged. This risks exacerbating the problem by leaving harmful residue behind or blocking the port further. Instead, check out our guide to how to fix a water damaged phone.
Even if your iPhone needs a repair to fix a hardware issue with your headphone port, you can still use the solutions below to trick it out of headphone mode whenever it crashes.
None of these tips offer a permanent solution, but they can be the quick fix you need if you can’t afford the repairs.
Toggle Airplane Mode On and Off
Open Control Center and tap the airplane icon to turn it on and off Airplane Mode. This disconnects any Bluetooth headphones or speakers that your iPhone thinks are still connected.
Change Audio Output
When listening to music or watching video, iPhone lets you choose among a variety of audio output. Open the Control Center, then tap and hold playback controls in the upper right corner. Select icon AirPlay to reveal all your output options and select iPhone from list.
Change Your Ringer Volume
open Settings and open Sounds & Haptics. Tap option Ringtones, then tap any ringtone to have it play through your iPhone’s speakers even if it’s stuck in headphone mode. Use button Volume while a ringtone is playing to put your iPhone back into speaker mode.
Find Out How To Fix Your Headphone Port
When your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode due to a hardware issue, you should talk to Apple’s support team to see if it can be repaired under warranty. Unfortunately, Apple won’t fix your headphone port; support will replace the entire device. This makes it an expensive “repair” if you are not covered by warranty.
If that’s the case, look into finding a replacement headphone port and repairing the iPhone yourself. It’s not easy to do, but it’s probably the best option if you can’t afford a new phone.