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Quick Fixes for iPhone/iPad Stuck in Headphone Mode

You may find your iPhone stuck in headphone mode and fail to get it back to normal with many methods. Try FonePaw iOS System Recovery to easily fix the possible iOS system error that leads to the headphone mode issue.
author Carrie Murray
date Friday, February 11, 2022

When your iPhone or iPad is stuck in headphone mode, the device makes no sound for calls, apps, music, video, or whatsoever without plugged-in earphones. And when you volume up/down the ringer, instead of "Ringer", the iPhone's volume bar shows "Headphones". It seems that the iPhone/iPad thinks your headphones are in when they are not.

Although your iPhone can still function well with the headphone mode, it brings you inconvenience. What’s worse is that you may even not know the reason. Some users reported that their iPhone speakers stopped working after a recent iOS update. And there were also users who found the headphone mode problem after they abruptly unplugged headphones from iPhone/iPad during a call or video chat.

Below we will show the common reasons that may cause the headphone mode problem, you can try to recover your iPhone/iPad from the headphone mode with the following methods.

Why Is My iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode?

The reasons why your iPhone (or iPad) gets stuck in headset mode could be:

  • A software error caused by recent iOS update, for example, iOS 15, or incorrect operation of headphones;

  • You dropped the iPhone/iPad in water and the headphone jack is water damaged;

  • The headphone jack is stuck with dust or lint that makes the device think that there is earphone plugged in.

According to these possible reasons, we list 12 feasible fixes for you. Have a try and get your iPhone back to normal status.

tips Note:
  • If you have tried most of the common methods that are not technology-related and think the problem is caused by a trickly system error, it’s suggested that you turn to Solution 11 directly.

1. Restart iPhone or iPad

Usually, restarting your device can instantly solve some subtle problems and errors. According to your phone model, you can follow the way to reboot your iPhone/iPad:

Restart iPhone X/11/12/13

Step 1. Press and hold both the volume button and the side button until you see the notice “Slide to power off”. The volume button can be either the volume up or the volume down button.

Step 2. Slide and power off your iPhone. Wait for 30 seconds and reboot your device by holding the side button at the right side until you see the Apple logo.

Step 3. After rebooting, press volume buttons to see whether the volume bar is showing "Ringer".

tips Note:
  • Restarting iPad without a Home button is the same way as the above method.

Restart iPhone 6/7/8/SE

Step 1. Press and hold the side button (or the top button for iPhone SE 1st) until you see “Slide to power off”.

Step 2. Drag the slider to power off your phone. Also, wait for 30 seconds and reboot your device by holding the side button until the Apple logo appears.

Step 3. Check if your iPhone has got out of the headphone mode.

tips Note:
  • Restarting iPad with a Home button is the same way as the above method.
  • If some problems happen when you try to restart your device, you can try to force restart (or hard reset) it.

Restart iPhone 12

2. Replug Headphone into Your iPhone

Since the problem can be caused by the reason that the iPhone/iPad has not detected that the headphone has been pulled out, you can simply plug the headphone into the device again and then remove it.

After you try, check if the iPhone makes a sound now without headphones. If not, replug the headphones for several more times (7-8 times). If the iPhone or iPad is still stuck in earphone mode, unluckily, you have to move on to the next method.

For iPhone 7 or later models without headphone jacks, similarly, you need to plug the headphone in charger back into your iPhone and then immediately unplugging it. Also, repeat it several times to see if it works.

Plug Headphone into iPhone

3. Switch off Headphone Mode with Bluetooth

When using the headphone jack doesn’t work, another way is to use Bluetooth to fix the headphone mode.

In this way, you need to prepare a Bluetooth speaker or headphone first, and then pair your iPhone/iPad to it.

After that, start to play a song on your device. When the song is playing, turn off Bluetooth on your device. Some of you may find that your iPhone/iPad speakers start to play the song when the Bluetooth is off.

4. Turn on/off Airplane Mode

Besides using Bluetooth, some of you can also try turning off headphone mode by using the Airplane Mode. This is also a way to disable your iPhone from headphone mode and then try to connect again. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1. Open the Control Panel by sliding on your screen from top to bottom.

Step 2. Find the airphone icon. Tap it to turn on the Airplane Mode.

Step 3. Wait for about 15 minutes and then toggle off Airplane Mode.

Step 4. Now you can check if you can hear sound from iPhone/iPad speaker.

Airplane Mode on iOS

5. Adjust Call Audio Routing

Call Audio Routing determines where audio will be heard during a phone call or FaceTime audio. Adjust this setting can help you choose speaker as the output method during a call and get your iPhone out of headphone mode. You can find this setting according to the following instruction:

Step 1. Go to Settings > Accessiblity > Touch > Call Audio Routing.

Step 2. Tap Automatic if another option is chosen; if it is already set to Automatic, switch it to Speaker. Then start a call and see if the speaker is working now.

Call Audio Routing

6. Start A New Audio Recording

In order to fix iPhone/iPad stuck at headphone mode and test whether the speaker can function well or not, recording a new audio memo is also a way.

For example, you can make an audio recording with the built-in app Voice Memo or shoot a video recording with the Camera app. In short, use whatever recording app you have got to make an audio recording. Record and then play the recorded video to check if your iPhone has come back to normal.

7. Play Music with Different Apps

This is also a simple solution that some users find the speaker starts working after that. Basically, it’s to play music with your iPhone with your headphone first and then unplug it to check.

Step 1. Plug your headphones/earbuds into the iPhone/iPad and play music with iTunes, Apple Music, etc.

Step 2. When the iPhone/iPad is locked, unlock the device and turn off the music app.

Step 3. Unplug the headphones/earbuds and launch a music app again to play songs.

8. Clean Headphone Port

If your iPhone cannot recover after you try all the attempts above, you can consider if it’s because you have not cleaned the headphone jack for some time and it’s stuck with dust or something like that. And you can use the following approaches to clean it up.

Clean Headphone Jack Stuck with Dust/Dirt

Firstly, use a flashlight to check if there is anything clogged in the headphone jack. Some dust or debris may be too small to be seen, so even if you cannot see, you can also clean it once.

There are many tools that you can use to clean headphone jack, such as Q-tip, toothbrush, toothpick, needle, pin, interdental brush. We believe that you don't want to poke around the headphone jack and damage it, so remember to gently loose the dust or dirt with the tool and shake the device to get the obstruction off. Also, don’t forget to turn off the iPhone/iPad before cleaning the headphone jack.

Some users may use air duster or vacuum cleaner to blow the obstruction away from the headphone port. If you haven’t got a proper cleaning tool, you can also try this way instead.

After the cleaning, turn on your iPhone/iPad and see if you can hear sound without headphone.

iPhone Headphone Jack

Get Water off Headphone Jack

Rather than stuck with dust or dirt, some users find that the iPhone made no sound after dropping in water and only the headphones work (How to Fix Water Damaged iPhone). In this situation, it’s high possibility that the headphone jack is water damaged.

Although you have kept your device safe from the water, moist weather or even sweat may damp the headphone jack and thus the device gets stuck in headphone mode. Therefore you need to dry out the headphone jack.

Step 1. Insert Q-tip swab into the headphone jack and gently rotate the swab to remove moisture.

Step 2. Blow the moisture out with a hairdryer on the low heat.

Step 3. Power off your device. Then Put your iPhone or iPad for at least 12 hours in a bag of rice to remove moisture.

tips Note:
  • Be careful and keep the hairdryer at a certain distance from the device when you are drying out the speaker area and headphone jack. This is to avoid overheating to damage your device.

9. Backup iPhone/iPad to iTunes Manually

If you come here after all, don’t be upset. It seems that your iPhone has been stuck in headphone mode not because of simple system errors or not cleaning for some time. This time you have to use software for help or erase data on your iPhone or iPad to fix it.

A viable way is to back up iPhone/iPad to iTunes.

Step 1. Open iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC.

Step 2. Connect your iPhone/iPad stuck at headphone mode to computer.

Step 3. Choose Summary Tab > Backups > Back Up Now on iTunes. After the backup is complete, you can check if the speaker is working now.

Back up iPhone to iTunes

10. Backup to iCloud & Reset iPhone/iPad

Besides backing up to iTunes, similarly, you can manually back up iPhone/iPad to iCloud and furtherly, reset your iPhone/iPad and recover from the backup.

Step 1. Go to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > iCloud Backup.

Step 2. If it is off, turn on iCloud Backup and tap Back Up Now.

Step 3. When the backup is done, check if your iPhone/iPad speaker can play sound now.

Step 4. (Optional) If not, go to General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Erase All Content and Settings. Reset the iPhone/iPad and restore the iCloud backup that you just made, and then have a check again.

Erase All Content and Settings

11. Fix Headphone Mode with Third-Party Tool

If the above methods fail to get your iPhone or iPad out of headphone mode, the software error may be more serious on your device. Instead of trying the tricks one by one, you might need professional software to take your device off headphone mode.

FonePaw iOS System Recovery is capable of fixing various software problems including getting iPhone/iPad out of headphone mode. It is easy to use and can fix the system error without wiping data in your device. More importantly, it’s got a clear interface and is simple to use, so you don't need to worry that it is too difficult to fix the system problems on your own or lose data after the recovery. Even though you have no knowledge about fixing the software problem, you can easily get the job done.

By the way, this software provides 3 modes to fix the system problem. Among the modes, there is a Free Quick Fix mode which is useful and free of charge. If you are fretting about the headphone mode problem, it’s worth a try.

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Step 1. Download and install FonePaw iOS System Recovery on your PC or Mac. Run the program and click Start.

iOS System Recovery

Step 2. Here we suggest you try Free Quick Fix to repair firstly, which is free and will protect your data. If it cannot work, select Standard Mode and confirm.

Select Standard Mode

Step 3. Then you need to follow the on-screen instruction to put your iPhone/iPad in recovery mode. If the instruction is not clear enough for you, click Instructional Video to follow with the video guide.

Put iPhone into Recovery Mode

Step 4. After your device has entered recovery mode, the program will display the device type, model, iOS version of your iPhone or iPad. Check if the information is correct. If it is, click "Repair" to begin the repairing process.

Check Device Information

Step 5. The repairing process could last for a while and your device will reboot automatically. Wait till you see "Repair Completed". Then you can unplug the device.

Finally, your iPhone/iPad should get off headphone mode by now.

Repair Completed

tips More tips
  • 1. If you have jailbroken the device, the device will go back to unjailbroken state after the repairing;
  • 2. If you have SIM lock the device, the device will be SIM-locked again after the repairing.
  • 3. Think twice before you use the Advanced Mode to repair the headphone mode (if the first two cannot work), because it will erase all the data on your iPhone.

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12. Other Fixes to Turn off Headphone Mode on iPhone/iPad

Above are all the approaches we recommend you have a try to repair your iPhone stuck in headphone more. In case that the problem still remains unsoloved, we also collect other tricks that users share on different forums. You may find one of them helpful.

Solution 12: Call someone with your headphones on and hit speaker. Then hang up the phone, turn your iPhone on Silent then turn OFF.

Solution 13: Switch ON the mute button on the left side of your iPhone. Then press the volume buttons. Headphone mode often changes back to the Ringer.

Solution 14: Accepting a call with the headphones plugged in, and then unplugging and plugging the headphones in multiple times, then hanging up.

Here are all the methods to repair your iPhone/iPad with the headphone mode. Hope this can be of help and you can use your phone normally with the speaker.

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