iPhone stuck in headphone mode? Here’s a fix

By , Mar 17, 2016

iPhone 6 headphone jack

Have you ever unplugged your headphones or speakers from the 3.5mm jack on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad just to find that your iPhone was stuck in headphone mode? The most common symptom is that sound won’t come from your iPhone speakers anymore, and in some cases, you may even see the Headphones HUD stuck on your Home screen. It can be frustrating, but it’s usually pretty easy to fix.

In this piece, we’ll discuss why it happens, as well as some troubleshooting steps on how to get out of a stuck case of headphone mode in iOS.

Why is my iPhone still in headphone volume mode?

If you’re stuck in headphone volume mode on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, even after having disconnected your headphones or speakers from the 3.5mm headphone jack, you’ve just experienced a rather annoying bug in iOS.

It’s not really known why this occurs, but it could be related to any of the following actions:

  • Disconnecting the headphones or speakers too quickly
  • Disconnecting the headphones or speakers while your device is busy
  • Using an incompatible or low-quality brand of headphones
  • A problem with your 3.5mm headphone jack

Nevertheless, if you’re stuck in headphone volume mode, it can be easy to fix.

Getting out of headphone volume mode

The problem can be related to software or hardware. Software problems are typically easier to identify and fix, although depending on the severity of the hardware issue, you may be able to fix it yourself too. Our very own Sebastien Page would often have this problem on his iPhone, and in his case, it was typically related to software bugs.

So without further ado, here are some steps you can take if your iPhone is stuck in headphone mode after disconnecting a pair of headphones or speakers from the 3.5mm headphone jack:

Plug them back in, take them back out: Maybe iOS hasn’t completely recognized that your headphones were disconnected. Try plugging the headphones or speakers back in out rapidly several times. This may set things right for good measure. It’s usually the best way to fix that temporary issue.

Try another pair of headphones: Not working? Plug in another set of headphones, or another speaker, and then unplug them to see if that made a difference. Some cheaper headphone plugs are made to poorer tolerances, and this can cause iOS to fail to recognize when a pair of headphones or speakers is unplugged.

Reboot your device: If you tried the above steps, but are still in headphone volume mode, try a reboot. This may force iOS to refresh its sound output settings.

Look inside the headphone jack: If neither of the above worked, it could be a hardware problem with the jack itself. With a flashlight, peer inside of the 3.5mm headphone jack and look for any traces of water or lint that could be causing an electrical malfunction. You can typically use a toothpick to clean out the 3.5mm headphone jack out; I’ve done this hundreds of times myself and it works great.

Restore or update iOS: If none of the above are related to your issue, then you may have a corruption in iOS itself. Although rare, this kind of problem may be more common for jailbreakers, as jailbreak tweaks that are installed from Cydia, good or bad, can modify system files. Try a DFU mode restore, or an update from DFU mode if necessary, and any corrupted iOS files will be replaced with new ones that should function properly.

Contact Apple Support or an Apple Authorized Service Provider: If nothing has fixed your problem, you may have a defective 3.5mm headphone jack. This can happen from over-use or from damage caused by incorrectly-sized headphone plugs that were built to poor tolerances. In this scenario, your only hope is to contact Apple for a repair or replacement, which should be free if your device is under warranty.

Wrapping up

Hopefully one of the steps prior to contacting Apple for assistance was able to help you get your iPhone out of being stuck in headphone mode, but if they didn’t, you have to do what you have to do to get a repair or replacement!

Fortunately, Apple may be interested in moving away from the analog 3.5mm jack and adopting a new digital sound out standard through the Lightning port itself. Perhaps if and when this happens, users won’t have volume mode problems anymore.

Related: What to do if your iPhone’s sound isn’t working

Did this tutorial help you get out of headphone volume mode on your iOS device? If so, let us know in the comments below!

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  • Someone threw at me water while my 6+ was in my pocket
    . My phone was stuck on headphones mode, I just turned it off for a few hours and turned it on and was fixed by it self

  • lobusko

    I had this problem after iphone got wet from the snow. I put it on radiator to dry, after 2 hours the problem was fixed

  • Jay Burgandy

    All this story for a fix Lol Simple fix… clean the headphone port with cotton bud until its dry inside and you good.. #

    • Unless a clogged port isn’t the reason you’re having issues? 🙂 Then perhaps other steps will apply.

  • Adel Mandani



    Had dust in my head phone and just plucked it right out. Fixed