How to turn off headphone mode on an iPhone

Updated: April 13, 2023
6 min read
How to turn off headphone mode on an iPhone
by Bridget Stivenson
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

The smartphone automatically switches to headphone mode on all iPhone models. When the phone owner connects an accessory to the phone (via jack or wireless protocol), Headphone mode is automatically activated. Sound is redirected to the new channel, and the speakers are muted at the same time.

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But sometimes there is a problem: the headphones are turned off, but the mode remains active. As a result, sounds and melodies are not played through external speakers. The problem is easy to identify - at the top of the screen, the icon indicating that a headset connection is lit, and when you try to change the volume using the side buttons, the inscription "Headphones" appears.

It can also cause other problems:

  1. There is no sound.
  2. You cannot hear a caller on the speakerphone.
  3. There is no ringing or sound of messages.

Below we’ve listed the recommendation to help you fix an iPhone that does not turn off the headphone mode at home.

Causes of the problem and how to fix it

Phone freezes in headphone mode

If the iPhone works correctly, then as soon as the user disconnects the headphones, the sound starts transmitting to the speakers at the bottom of the phone cover. Problems begin when the phone hangs up in headphone mode.

But before you start fixing this problem, you must ensure that it is the mode, not the broken speakers. You can do this in the following way:

  • In the phone settings, select the Sounds item, and then select the Ringtone tab. Toggle between different ringtones, and try making the sound louder or quieter by tapping the volume knob on the side;
  • Toggle the side top trigger to Ring, then Silent, and back again. Look to see if the Headphones label remains above the bell.

If nothing has changed after completing the manipulation, it means that the phone is frozen in the wrong mode. Here is what you can do in this case.

  • Connect and disconnect the headphones. It is the easiest way and sometimes helps to clear up the "glitch". A hangup in the wrong mode could occur if the phone is disconnected due to low battery power or a call comes in while listening to music. Sometimes the glitch happens if you suddenly pull the plug from the wired headphones.
  • Reboot your smartphone. It will help if there is some technical failure or RAM is overloaded. If the iPhone doesn't freeze, reboot the phone in the standard way. If the smartphone does not respond to touch, perform a hard reset. To do this, simultaneously press the Home and Power keys. The display should go out. After that, turn on the smartphone and check if the speakers are working properly.
  • Update your software. Not only hangs in headphone mode, but many other problems can be avoided if you update iOS to the latest version on time. Each new version of the firmware fixes bugs of previous versions. It is even better to enable automatic updates.
  • Check the settings of your device. The Call Audio Routing function is responsible for the sound on your iPhone. It is activated, among other things, while making and receiving calls through applications and messengers. To check how it works, it is necessary:
  • Go to Settings and from there, go to Universal Access.
    Find the Sound Source parameter.
    Switch the mode from Auto to Speaker.

At this point, the sound the caller hears while receiving the call will be switched from the top speaker to the bottom speaker. Make a call to check that the speaker works properly. After that, switch the mode back to Automatic.

  • Turn off Bluetooth. The sound will be fed if a wireless speaker or headset is connected to your smartphone. The user may simply forget about it. Go to the iPhone settings, select Bluetooth there, and click Disable. You can also go to the My Devices tab, where you can see all the previously connected devices.
  • Connect other headphones. Sometimes the problem may be related to a particular accessory, especially if it is not the original one supplied by Apple. Try connecting other wired or wireless headphones, then disconnect them and restart the device.
  • Activate airplane mode. At this point, your smartphone deactivates communication with all external audio devices. After 15 minutes, deactivate the mode and check if the Headphone mode has been cleared.
  • Reset your smartphone's settings. When you reset your settings, all your photos, videos, music, and other information will remain intact. Resetting will only affect the settings (removing the alarms, auto-brightness, night mode, etc.).
  • Repair the software. It is a radical method, which should be resorted to only when there are obvious problems in the operation of the device and it is impossible to fix them any other way.First, back up all files, as they will be deleted. You can do this through the smartphone by activating the Backup to iCloud function and pressing the Backup button.
    Install the iTunes utility on your computer.
    Connect your smartphone to it via a USB cable.
    Put your smartphone in emergency mode by holding the Lock and Home buttons for 10 seconds. After that, continue to hold only the Home button. This way, iTunes recognizes your device faster. For iPhones 7 and above, hold down the Volume Up and Down buttons and the lock button.
    In the window on your computer, click Restore iPhone. After that, the old firmware will be removed, and the current (latest) firmware will be installed.

The firmware restore will help solve the problem with the hanging headphone mode and reset unnecessary data and remove other problems. After resetting, all settings will have to be set again, from country and language selection to personal ringer and alarm settings.

Sometimes the problem with the headphone mode on your iPhone may not be caused by the phone itself, but by external factors. For example, it can be connected with a dirty connector. It leads to the closure of its contacts - debris comes into contact with the sensor modules, which transmit information about the headset's connection to the device.

To remove debris, carefully clean the port (with a toothpick or paper clip). Be very careful not to damage the sensitive chips on the sides of the socket. Shining a flashlight into the socket beforehand is better to ensure the debris is really there. Instead of cleaning, you can use a blower, using a can of compressed air to clean computer keyboards or a hair dryer in cold air mode.

If the iPhone gets wet, for example, dropped in the snow, the contacts of the connectors can oxidize, and then you will have to carry it to the service center. Therefore, if trouble has occurred, you should immediately dry the connector with a paper towel folded up in a cone or a stream of warm air.

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However, in most cases, you can solve the problem associated with the inability to disable headphone mode on the iPhone. You should start with the simplest actions, such as rebooting the smartphone and only resort to restoring the software in extreme cases.

Howly expert is ready to help you with your iOS problem

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