Headphone Jack Not Working: Here’s What to Do

silver iPhone 6 with EarPods on brown wooden table

Headphone jack not working?

Today’s smartphone designers ensure that every phone comes with plenty of tools to keep you entertained. There’s storage space for your music files, downloads, and games. can even use apps to play radio stations or connect to the internet and stream music.

All you need is a set of headphones to plug into a host of online experiences.

So, what if your headphone jack isn’t working?

Not all of us have the cash to splash on a set of wireless earbuds.

Unfortunately, problems with the headphone jack on smartphones are pretty common.

Anything, from fluff in the port to issues with internal connections, can seriously throw off your groove. It’s no wonder Apple decided to ditch the headphone jack entirely.

The good news?

There are a few ways to troubleshoot a broken headphone jack and fix the problem.

Today we’ll discuss what you can do before you trade your device in for a newer model.

Why Are My Headphones Not Working when I Plug Them In?

Fixing your headphone jack starts with getting to the root cause of the problem.

Remember, your headphone port on your phone might be durable, but it’s also exposed to a lot of issues. This little hole on your phone is a magnet for dust, moisture, and other problems. Plus, constantly plugging in and unplugging your headphones leads to a greater risk of damage.

Whether your headphones aren’t working at all or you’re just not getting the right quality of sound anymore, there are a few things you can do to overcome your issues.

Step 1: Check Your Headphone Performance

It’s easy to assume that your headphone jack is the issue if you haven’t explored any other options.

Your headphone jack may be fine – but your headphones are struggling with some internal issues. It’s pretty easy to check if your headphones are the problem.

  • Plug your headphones into another device: It doesn’t have to be a smartphone, anything with an appropriate headphone port will do.
  • Check that your device recognizes your headphones: If you use a PC, you can click on the audio icon to ensure that you’re connected.
  • Check your headphones at various volumes: Play music from different sources, at different volumes.

If everything works exactly as it should when you’re using another device, you’ve found the source of your problem. Your phone. You could also try plugging a different pair of headphones into your smartphone before you move forward. There’s a chance that your original pair just isn’t compatible with your phone for some reason.

If your headphones don’t work anywhere else, it’s the accessory that’s the issue – not the headphone jack. Unfortunately, the only fix here is to replace your headphones, unless you have a warranty or guarantee to get them repaired.

Step 2: Look for Network Issues

If it seems like your smartphone is the problem here, look at your network settings. If your smartphone pairs with another set of wireless headphones, or the wireless speaker in your car, then your headphone jack may be temporarily disabled.

Usually, when you plug a set of headphones into your smartphone, your device will recognize them automatically. The act of plugging headphones in overrides the Bluetooth settings. However, there’s always a chance that something has gone wrong here.

If you do have another connection, the fix is easy.

  • Open the Settings menu on your Android device
  • Depending on your device, you should see the Bluetooth tab under Connections
  • Either turn off Bluetooth for now, or Unpair any other Bluetooth devices connected to your phone.

Once you’re not pairing to any other devices, try connecting the headphone jack again. Play some audio to see whether the issue is still there.

Step 3: Clean Your Headphone Jack

Cleaning your headphone jack on any device can be a tricky process. You want to make sure that you’re not damaging the internals with any scraping or water.

However, a lot of dust, lint, and other substances generally ends up in your jacks and ports over time. The dirt can block the connection between your headphones and the jack.

Our technicians almost always have to clean out lint in the headphone jack for every device we receive, so this is incredibly common.

If possible, look inside the jack with a light to see if there’s any dirt. You can consider blowing into the jack to remove any small pieces of dust and lint. An alternative option is to use a can of compressed air, as this offers a more advanced clean. However, be careful to use the air correctly.

  • Tilt your android device sideways: This makes the cleaning process a bit easier.
  • Place the straw of the can close to the port: You don’t need to try and push the straw into the headphone jack.
  • Blow out any dust or lint: You can repeat this process a few times if you still see dirt.

An alternative option to using a headphone jack is to use a cotton swab. Don’t use a toothpick since they have a tendency to break off inside the jack creating a whole new problem.

Make sure you’re very gentle here. You can get some insights on how to clean the headphone jack carefully from this video. Avoid using any liquids or metal to clean your headphone jack.

Adding moisture to your phone is never a good idea, and pins or metal skewers can cause damage.

Step 4: Check Your Phone and Audio Settings

If your headphone jack is clean, and you know your headphones are fine, look at your audio settings. Just like your Bluetooth settings can mess up your experience, your audio settings may have the same impact. Go into the Settings section of your device and click on Sound or Audio.

In this part of your phone’s backend, you should be able to check things like volume level, and other issues that might mute the sound. For instance, you might have your phone on do not disturb mode, which could prevent it from playing audio.

Usually, the only setting that would prevent your audio from playing would be a mute option. If this isn’t switched on, and your audio jack isn’t working, you could try restarting your device.

Turning your phone on and off again can solve a lot of smartphone issues, and it takes extraordinarily little time to do.

Before you hit the restart button, go into your System settings on your phone to check if there are any software updates available. A firmware update might address a bug in your current device that’s preventing audio from playing properly.

Hitting the Update Now button will get you the latest version of your OS instantly.

Step 5: Try a Specialist App

Still having problems with a headphone jack not working?

You’re running out of potential fixes, but there are a few options still available.

For instance, you could consider downloading a third-party app for your smartphone.

Remember, always check the reviews of any app you’re considering using before you download it. This reduces your chances of accidentally accessing bogus ad-filled apps.

Options available include:

  • Speaker cleaner: This app specifically helps to clean moisture out of headphone jacks if you’ve dropped your phone in water or exposed it to too much moisture. If you can hear a muffled sound from your speaker, this app might help.
  • Repair system for Android: This app deals with several Android issues, including removing empty folders and files, optimizing your battery, and clearing your cache. There’s also a service for checking the performance of things like speakers and headphone jacks.
  • SoundAssistant: Created for Samsung, this app provides you with various convenient features related to audio, including testing volume performance, and troubleshooting issues with certain apps.

There’s a wide selection of apps available on the Google Play store for things like precise volume management, sound boosting, and speaker testing. You can even use apps to turn your headphone connections off from a distance if you’re using wireless tech.

Step 6: Time to Call the Experts

If none of the options we’ve discussed so far are working for you – then the problem might be bigger than it seemed. With a little luck, your device will still be under warranty. That means you can call the company that sold you your phone and ask for their advice.

Explain the problem to the company and send it in for a replacement or repair. Unfortunately, this does mean living without your phone for a little while. However, you will get your device back eventually, and you shouldn’t need to pay for a replacement.

If you don’t have warranty, you can use phone insurance if you have that.

Out of warranty and nothing above worked yet? Here are your repair options.

How Do I Fix My Headphone Jack?

All the solutions mentioned above have been tested and tried – which means that they should be suitable for fixing a range of common issues with your headphone jack. However, there’s always a chance that you might have accidentally caused some damage to the physical 3.5mm port on your smartphone. If that happens, there’s not much you can do but get a replacement.

Professional technicians should be able to tell you whether your headphone jack is the issue. If it is, then they can usually replace the jack without you having to pay for a brand-new phone.

If you’re out of warranty, we recommend going to a third-party repair shop since headphone jack replacements are usually a very simple and cheap fix. This is especially true for iPhones. and many androids.

If you have an iPad or newer Android device, then you need to tread a little carefully since the process of opening up the device is a bit more complicated. In this case, going directly to the Genius Bar or vetting the repair shop you go to by doing some online review research is a great idea. Either way, the actual part is always dirt cheap but the labour cost might go up if it’s not an iPhone.

If the worst happens, your best bet might be to sell your phone (yes, even if it’s broken). You can sell your phone to recoup some of the cash you’re missing out on. This will free up some extra finances to put towards a new device.

Chances are your next device won’t have a headphone jack!

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