iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode? Here’s Why & The Fix

My iPhone 12 Pro seems stuck in headphone mode. I hadn’t used the headphones before this happened. I’ve tried cleaning out the jack with a match and plugging the headphones in and out several times whilst watching a video. Neither worked.

Sometimes, you may have experienced the same matter as Danny. Your iPhone gets stuck in the headphones mode with no sound for calls, apps, music, video, etc. Or your iPad acts like headphones are plugged in while they are actually not. Having iPhone or iPad stuck in headphone mode can be quite frustrating, but there are some solutions you can try.

In this article, we’ll explain why your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode and show you how to fix the problem for good. Solutions in this post apply to all iPhone models, including the latest iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 11/XS/XS Max/XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8/7/6s/6 Plus, iPad Pro, etc.

Why iPhone Is Stuck in Headphone Mode

Before we show you how to fix the iPhone/iPad stuck in headphone mode issue, let’s first learn why this occurs. It could have been one of the following reasons:

  • Sudden or abrupt disconnection of headphones or speakers.
  • Disconnection of the speakers or headphones when your iPhone is busy.
  • Use of low-quality brands or incompatible headphones.
  • Damaged or faulty 3.5mm headphone jack.

Having known the causes of the iPhone is stuck in headphone mode, read further to learn how to fix the problem.

Fix 1: Plug the Headphones In and Out

To fix the situation whereby your iPhone/iPad is stuck in headphone mode believing that the headphones are connected, carefully plugin and unplug your headphones. Even though you’ve tried this many times, it is still worth a shot. Sometimes iOS can forget that your headphones were disconnected and assume that they are still plugged in.

Fix 2: Check Audio Output Settings

If the solution provided above does not resolve the iPhone stuck in headphone mode issue, then you have to check audio output settings. Recently, Apple has enhanced the audio output settings by allowing users to choose where the audio should be played to such as headphones, external speakers, the iPhone or iPad’s speakers, and HomePod. Consequently, the problem of the iPhone is stuck in headphone mode may be solved through the audio output settings. Here’s how to check it:

  1. On your iPhone, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center.
  2. Now tap the music controls in the top right corner. Then tap the AirPlay icon which is represented as three rings with a triangle in it.
  3. In the menu that appears, if iPhone is an option, tap it to send the audio to your phone’s built-in speakers.

iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode? Here’s Why & The Fix

Fix 3: Clean the Headphone Jack

Another way to resolve iPhone stuck in headphone mode issue is by cleaning the headphone jack. Your iPhone or iPad may think you have plugged in your headphones when it detects that there is something there. Just grab a cotton bud and use it to clean your headphone jack gently. Please avoid using a paper clip to clean the lint out of the headphone jack.

Fix 4: Check for Water Damage

If cleaning the headphone jack didn’t help, you could have a different hardware problem on iPhone or iPad. Another common reason for your device getting stuck is water damage. Lots of time, iPhone stuck in headphone mode water damage is caused when sweat runs down while you were exercising. Sweat gets inside the headphone jack and causes your iPhone to get stuck in headphone mode unknowingly. To fix it, try to drain your iPhone by placing silica gel dehumidifiers on the device or keep it in a jar of uncooked rice.

Fix 5: Try Another Pair of Headphones

Also, it might be that iOS does not recognize your headphones again due to poor or low quality. Plugin another pair of headphones and unplug to check the result. If that does not resolve the iPhone/iPad stuck in headphone mode, then proceed to other solutions.

Fix 6: Restart iPhone or iPad

Even if you’ve tried another pair of headphones but you still find that your iPhone is stuck in headphones mode, then what you can do is restart your iPhone or iPad. There are quite a lot of problems you can solve by turning your iPhone off and back on again. Just restart your device to get rid of the glitch. Please note that how you restart your iPhone depends on what model you have.

iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode? Here’s Why & The Fix

Fix 7: Turn Airplane Mode On and Off

When the Airplane Mode is switched on, it disconnects all networking on your iPhone such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Your device might assume it is still connected to an external audio source like Bluetooth headphones. Just switch on and off the Airplane Mode following the steps below if you’ve never done it before:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone’s home screen to open the Control Center.
  2. Then tap the airplane icon to turn on Airplane Mode, then turn it back off to see if your headphones are working again.

iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode? Here’s Why & The Fix

Fix 8: Update to the Latest iOS Version

Another effective fix for iPhone stuck in headphone mode water damage is to keep your iOS updated to the most recent version, which will fix a lot of software-related bugs and problems. Just follow these simple steps to get your iPhone updated:

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings and click on General.
  2. Select Software Update and let your iPhone check for any new updates.
  3. If there is a new version, download and install it to fix your iPhone stuck in headphones mode.

iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode? Here’s Why & The Fix

Fix 9: Repair iPhone System

If none of the above solutions work for you, then something is wrong with your iPhone system. Then we recommend you use a third-party tool like MobePas iOS System Recovery. Not only iPhone stuck in headphone mode, it can also fix many other iOS system issues like iPhone stuck in Recovery mode, DFU mode, iPhone stuck in Boot Loop, Apple logo, iPhone is disabled, black screen, etc. without causing any data loss.

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Follow the simple steps below to fix iPhone stuck in headphone mode:

  1. Download and install MobePas iOS System Recovery on your computer, and launch the program.
  2. Connect your iPhone or iPad to the computer and choose “Standard Mode”, then click “Next”.
  3. Wait a minute till the software detect your iPhone. If not, follow the instructions to put the device into DFU or Recovery mode.
  4. After that, choose the firmware for your device and click “Download”. Then click “Start” to fix your iPhone or iPad stuck in headphone mode.

MobePas iOS System Recovery


Well, it is really frustrating when your iPhone or iPad is stuck in headphone mode. Fortunately, there are still things you can try to fix the issue. Just follow any of the solutions provided above and get your device to function normally again. If you know any other creative ways to fix an iPhone stuck in headphone mode, feel free to leave a comment below.

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iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode? Here’s Why & The Fix
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