How to Fix iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode

If this is the first time your iPhone is stuck in the headphone mode, you might be asking yourself, “Why is my iPhone stuck in headphone mode” even after removing the headphones from the iPhone.

Scenarios like this happen once in a while, and when they do, your iPhone seems to keep the speaker mute while the headphone icon still shows on your iPhone, indicating that your headphone is still plugged in whereas, the headphone has been unplugged from the device.

At first, you might try to insert your headphone back and remove it again with the hope that the head jack icon will disappear but that is not guaranteed. 

Well, if you’ve tried other troubleshooting strategies and for you to come here means you’ve not been able to fix this issue.

Surprisingly, it could be a hardware issue, but to delve deeper into that and avoid coming across this situation again, here are the common reasons why your iPhone is stuck in head-on mode.

Why is my iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode?

I have mentioned some reasons why your iPhone is in headphone mode, but I will also be listing some common culprits to keep you informed on what you need to avoid doing when using your iPhone with your device.

Here are the common reasons why your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode…

  • Accumulation of moisture or dust in the headphone jack.
  • A glitch resulting from an application or operating system update
  • Removal of headphones or earbuds when the device is occupied
  • Use of malfunctioning or low-grade headphones (potentially damaging the earphone port).

How to Fix an iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode

Some of the steps I will be listing here are steps you might be aware of. You might have tried some of them before coming to this site, and you might have done some of them incorrectly.

Either way, if you’ve not been able to resolve the iPhone stuck in the headphone mode and this is not caused by water damage, the following troubleshooting tips should help you to fix it.

Plug and Unplug the Headphones

One of the assumptions here is that your iPhone didn’t recognize it the last time you unplugged it, so it kept the audio mute and the headphone icons present while the headphones had been unplugged.

When you face an issue like this, try plugging in your headphones and unplugging them should be the first troubleshooting tip to consider.

If doing this fixes this issue and this is the first time you are coming across it, then it is not something you should be overly worried about.

If the alternative is that it has been happening consistently for a while or hasn’t worked, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.

Check the Audio Output Settings.

If you’ve used an older iPhone model, you will notice that you have to set where the audio will play; it doesn’t just figure out that it has to play the audio on the headphone when you plug it in.

Nowadays, that is not the case with new iPhones, but in some scenarios, you might have to adjust the level of the audio output if the headphone mode has a problem.

Here is how you should adjust the audio output.

For an iPhone X, 11, 12, 13, 14, or later:

  • Swipe down from the top-right of the screen to locate the AirPlay icon, a small picture of three circles over a triangle.
  • Click on the AirPlay icon, and a menu will appear displaying audio output options.
  • If the audio output is currently selected it will have a white checkmark next to it.
  • To change the audio output, click on the desired audio output device.
  • If changed successfully, the white checkmark will appear next to the chosen audio output device’s name.

For the iPhone SE (2nd generation) or earlier, here’s how to go about it:

  • Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen.
  • Tap the AirPlay icon (three circles over a triangle at the top-right corner).
  • Select the audio output device from the pop-up menu.
  • Verify the change by looking for the white checkmark beside the selected audio output device’s name.

Enable and Disable Airplane Mode

You might feel a bit uneasy with this fix as you are not facing a network problem; however, here is the thing: Turning on Airplane mode blocks off all networks that are pre-connected, e.g., maybe you’ve connected your iPhone to a Bluetooth device but it is not leaving Bluetooth mode.

Turning on AirPlane mode and turning it off again will reset all connected networks, such as Bluetooth or WiFi.

If you don’t know how to do that, here is how:

  1. Open Control Center in the way that works for your iPhone model.
  2. Tap the Airplane Mode icon, represented as an aeroplane.
  3. Wait a few seconds, then tap the Airplane Mode icon again to turn Airplane Mode off.

Restart the iPhone.

Restarting your iPhone might be one of the few things you might not consider, but restarting your device does work as it clears any minor glitches or bugs that might be causing your device to malfunction.

That being said, here is how you can restart your iPhone.

For iPhone SE (2nd Generation) 6 or later,

  • Press and hold the volume and side buttons until the power-off slider appears.
  • Slide the slider to the Turn Off option.
  • To turn the device back on, press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.

For the iPhone SE (1st Generation), 5, or earlier

  • Press and hold the button on the top-right side of the phone.
  • A Power Off slider will appear; slide the slider towards the Turn Off option.
  • To turn the phone back on, press and hold the side button again until the Apple logo appears.

Clean the Headphones Jack

Another little-known issue you might not take cognizance of is the headphone jack. If your iPhone is detecting something such as a link or gunk in the headphone jack, of which you are not aware it might start to malfunction

Well, to fix this, you should clean the headphones, but how? Using a paper clip is not recommended, so the best option is to use compressed air.

You can blow air from your mouth into the hole to clean the spot; it is much safer that way.

Take your Device to An Apple shop

If all the steps highlighted above do not fix the issue you are facing, then you need to take your device for hardware repairs. If you still have your warranty on, you can save yourself some dollars by taking it to the nearest Apple Store.

How to Turn off Headphone Mode on Android (without headphones in)

The steps highlighted above will fix your iPhone even if the headphones are out and your iPhone still indicates that it is still in headphone mode.

You need to change it such that you want to turn off headset mode while the phone is plugged in, if that is the case, follow the steps above to change the audio settings.

However, to turn off headphone mode on Android (without headphones in) you should consider the following.

  1. Remove your headphones from the phone again.
  2. Clean the headphones jack.
  3. Restart your Android phone.
  4. Do a soft reset of your phone.
  5. Use an app to override audio controls.
  6. Do a hard reset or a factory reset.

iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode Water Damage

This depends on the iPhone you are using, water damage is hard to fix on your own, and for the most part, you might have to start taking out the iPhone components to get them dry.

While this might be disappointing, you don’t need to get a new iPhone when this happens; instead, you should take it to the nearest Apple store for repairs.

Recommended: is the iPhone 9 waterproof?


To wrap things up, one thing you have to realize here is that when your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode, you need to check the iPhone jack for lints or gunk. If there are none, the headphone is most likely the cause of what you are experiencing. 

If your iPhone is stuck in the headphone mode you should consider trying another headphone to confirm whether the problem is with your headphone or not.

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