Got my iPhone XS Max today and remembered my first experience with iPhone 6 which can be rated as BEST in my life. Switching over from Android to iPhone was a hard decision at first, which later proved to be correct. Btw I want to share one incident when I dropped my phone in stream water during woods camping accidentally and got into panic situation since my iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode for a day and I spent hell lot of time thinking since I was nowhere near any Apple store!
When it got stuck into the headphone mode I was totally frustrated being not able to call anyone and not able to hear anything without headphones! and the speaker was disabled since my iPhone was thinking that headphones were in!
Being a Research engineer I could try different things on the campsite itself which luckily worked for me that time and later when I came back home, my internet research showed me what all experiments people have done over time to resolve this typical Headphone stuck issue.
So there are chances that you may take wrong action spoiling the whole iPhone permanently in case any wrong trials done without analyzing the root cause.
To cut it short, when your iPhone gets into contact of water for many reasons, don’t get panic. Go Step by Step.
All the tips and tricks in this post are applicable to following models –
- iPhone 6S, 6s Plus, iPhone 5, 5c, iPad or iPad Pro or iPhone or iPad mini or iPad 2 or ipad air 2, it’s possible that you have water in the headphone jack
- iPhones beginning from iPhone 7, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, it’s possible that you have water in the charging port aka lightning port
First thing that you need to analyze is if its a software problem or hardware problem, this will decide the countermeasure to resolve the issue and if at all you need to take your iPhone to nearest Apple store.
iPhone Stuck In Headphone Mode a software or hardware problem?
Let’s find out if its a Software issue
- Most simple thing to do is reboot / restart your phone.
This is the oldest trick on this earth since old DOS or Windows days, if things get stuck due to software issue simply reboot your device being Android phone, Laptop or iPhone. 90% of time this trick works clearing all the memory or temporary software errors.
So go ahead and try turning your phone OFF and power it ON after one minute.
(Press and hold both home + power or volume down + power buttons simultaneously until the Apple logo appears on-screen)
If this does not resolve issue there are other things you can check and try … go to next step.
- Check Bluetooth settings
It’s quite possible that due to malfunctioning (due to water entry) your phone’s Bluetooth is ON connecting to available headphones without even knowing.
So just check in your Settings app >> Look for any connected Bluetooth devices and disconnect them to see if that fixes the stuck issue or turn off Bluetooth completely.
- Automatic Audio Routing
Go to Settings >> General >> Accessibility >> scroll down to “Interaction.”
Continue to scroll down till you get >> Call Audio Routing.
Set the Call Audio Routing to “Automatic.”
- Trying ringtones –
Go to Settings >> Sounds & Haptics >>Ringtone.
Try changing ringtones + increase and decrease the sound levels.
Check if your speakers and sound works again.
- Trick which has worked for many (as per my internet research) is to change voice over settings.
Try changing settings as follows
Settings >> accessibility >> voice over >> Turn ON
go back to home screen >> activate Siri >> tell her to turn OFF voice over
And many have claimed that they got out of headphones mode!
When I got my phone stuck first time I did not try this trick but definitely rebooted my phone, which did not work and hence I went ahead to fix it hardware way which I have detailed out in below post.
Let’s find out if its a Hardware issue
If you are done trying to reboot phone, update the iOS etc and still stuck in headphone mode, then surely its a hardware issue and following may be the probable reasons –
Foreign particles, fibers, dust are things which enters inside the Jack hole or lightening port, which later absorb moisture or holds water particles causing a short circuit, as a result your iPhone thinks that headphones are plugged in
- Fiber / lint –
fiber entry inside jack hole or lightening port are most common reasons caused due to keeping the phone inside pocket. So removal of fibers can take you out of problem.
- Dust –
any daily use of phone encourages dust particles to enter inside phone ports which creates a thin layer over time period, or sometimes using it during camping or dusty roads accelerate this process of dust gathering. Again the dust can easily catch moisture and get wet and set forever, removal of this takes slightly more efforts but make sure not to use any metal objects to remove it but soft objects like a toothpick does the job perfectly.
- Water damage –
There are multiple reasons to have water entry inside your iPhone which are enlisted below.
But most important thing to remember is to switch off the phone as soon as you suspect water entry.
Further actions to be done before you switch ON are enlisted in later section of this post.
- Dropped your phone into the sink while cleaning dishes?
- Kept in wet pocket
- Happens in monsoon season, specially in coastal regions
- Phone dropped in snow?
- Dropped your phone in the swimming pool?
- I dropped my iPhone 6 in the toilet
- Kept a soda in my bag and it leaked from the bottom of the can, wetting my iPad kept in the bag
- Dropped in bath tub
- Used during rain and phone got wet
- Someone threw a water balloon to make my phone wet inside pocket!
- Spilling juice
- Weekend on sea beach and you ought to face this issue! Splashes of salty water may generate this fault.
- Winters also help accelerating this process of short circuiting the phone ports resulting into malfunction, remedy is to remove the root cause, that is removal of things like dust, fibers stuck inside the jack plug or lightening port so that they don’t hold moisture.
Don’t use these objects to fix this issue
- Never use any metal objects like a paperclip or safety pin or body pin, these may create a permanent damage to the ports.
- Never ever use mechanical pencil lead, it can break and stuck inside the jack plug which is then impossible to remove
- Shoelace, using it does not help much but may cause fiber trapping inside port
- Do not put in bright sun for long time to remove moisture
- Do not blow compressed air at high pressure inside jack, it can damage the phone
- Do not use vacuum cleaner to suck things out of jack hole
- Blowing dry air with hair dryer
Do’s to fix the iPhone Stuck In Headphone Mode issue
Do not forget to turn your phone off before doing any easy fixes & solutions given below –
- Using a Tooth pic and Q-tip
- Putting inside a zip bag filled with uncooked rice to remove moisture from phone
- Plugging and unplugging the earphone to clean up any debris inside jack port
- Put the headphone jack in and twist it around, again to remove anything that got stuck inside jack hole
Using a Tooth pic and Q-tip
First thing you can do is to get a flashlight and check the Jack port or Lightening port for any foreign debris stuck inside. When you really clean off this port you will realize how dirty these ports can be!
Step -1 (preparation)
Get a Q-Tip and pull off most of the cotton from it, and tightly wrapping the remaining fibers around the Q-Tip stick. This is to make sure the Q-Tip snug fits the jack port.
Step – 2 (POWER-OFF)
Switch OFF your iPhone.
Step -3 (cleaning)
GENTLY insert the Q-Tip inside the headphones jack and rotate it few times to absorb moisture as well as remove things like lint, dust, debris lodged inside.
During this process, you may need to remove some of the Q-Tip swab and rewrap to get the swab tip to fit perfectly.
Do not be in hurry, do it carefully, make sure that the Q-Tip does not have any sticking cotton, else it may get stuck inside the port creating further issue!
Note : Make sure you don’t push it into the point where the Q-Tip gets stuck!
Step – 4 (putting headphone jack)
Now that you have cleaned the headphones jack (or lightening port)
Take your headphones and put inside the jack, rotate them, take them out.
Push, Pull and Rotate multiple times (may be 10 times or even 20 times), keep checking if the phone returns to the speaker mode.
Step – 5 (if still problem persists move to this step)
If still the phone is stuck, it shows signs of more debris stuck inside jack or lightening port.
Its time to use your toothpick to gently dig into the headphones jack to loosen debris, and pull it out using Q-Tip.
Again remember to do this gently, taking time. Any wrong step can permanently damage the port.
Repeat above steps slowly till the time you are sure that the ports are clean , I am sure after few attempts, you will come out of headphones stuck mode.
Do this when iPhone dropped in water
- First thing to do is switch the phone OFF, this will save any damage to the phone circuits (even though the phone is IPX certified, water may enter if the phone faces water gush with pressure breaking its rubber seal parts)
- Place it in a bag of uncooked rice to absorb moisture
Just for info : Apple places a white indicator in the SIM port of its phones to detect water damage. The indicator turns red when comes in contact with water.
Bottom line – Unresolved?
I hope your query on “What do you do if your iphone is stuck on headphones mode?” got resolved using all the fixes given by me in this post.
In rare cases, exercising all the above methods may not resolve the headphone stuck issue.
It means that better to get in touch with Apple support or visit your nearest Apple Store.
Maybe the headphone jack needs a replacement, or lightening connector got permanent error (for iPhone 7 or higher).