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Is your headphone jack not working? Try these fixes

You don't have to be a tech wiz to get it done.
March 14, 2023
OPPO Reno 4 Pro headphone jack
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Do you need help with your headphone jack? Connect one-on-one with an electronics expert through JustAnswer, an Android Authority partner.

Is your headphone jack not working all of a sudden? Problems with the headphone jack on smartphones aren’t as uncommon as you may think. It happens to many users and can be extremely frustrating, especially for those who regularly listen to music or find themselves in noisy environments.

This post will guide you through some fixes that will, hopefully, solve the problem you are experiencing on your beloved smartphone with a headphone jack. Without any further delay, let’s get started.

Editor’s note: Some of the instructions in this post were put together using a Pixel 4a with 5G running Android 13. Depending on which device and software you own, some steps might differ for you.

Check if your headphones are working

Cat dragging earbuds across the floor - Headphone jack not working
Lily Katz / Android Authority

It may seem obvious, but it’s entirely possible that there’s nothing wrong with the headphone jack and that the headphones are to blame. You can check this out quickly just by plugging the headphones into another device. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a smartphone. A laptop, TV, or any other device with the 3.5mm jack onboard will do. If you can’t hear any audio when using your headphones with a different device, you’ve found the source of the problem.

You can also use other headphones on your device if you have any extras. If you can use your headphone jack with other headphones, the first accessory is the problem. Although it’s rare, there’s also a chance that your original pair isn’t compatible with your smartphone, even if they work with other devices.

Some headphones come with removable cables, so try replacing those and see if the issue is the cable or ports. If that doesn’t help, replace your headphones. If they’re working fine with a different device, something else is to blame. It’s time to try out one of the other fixes listed below.

Ensure there are no other Bluetooth connections

Bluetooth devices stock photo 2 - Headphone jack not working
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’ve paired the smartphone with wireless earbuds, a speaker, or any other device via Bluetooth, the headphone jack could be disabled. Usually, when you plug in your headphones, the smartphone should recognize them, and everything should work as intended, regardless of the Bluetooth settings. However, this isn’t always the case.

All you have to do is open up the settings menu on your device, find the Bluetooth option, and check to see if it’s on. You can also dig deeper into the settings and see which Bluetooth devices the smartphone is connected to.

If the phone is connected to an audio device via Bluetooth, you can try a couple of things. You can disconnect or forget audio devices, but the easiest solution is to turn Bluetooth off and plug in your headphones. If they still don’t work, you should move on to the next solution on this list.

How to disconnect or forget a Bluetooth device:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Connected devices.
  3. Tap on the gear icon next to any connected device.
  4. Hit Disconnect or Forget.

How to turn Bluetooth off:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Connected devices.
  3. Hit Connection preferences.
  4. Tap on Bluetooth.
  5. Toggle off the Use Bluetooth option.

Clean the headphone jack

As you can imagine, a lot of dust, lint, and other debris can make its way into the headphone jack over time. This can cause connectivity issues, as dirt can block the connection between the headphones and the port.

The first thing you should do if your headphone jack is not working is to look into the jack to see just how dirty it is. A flashlight might come in handy for this. The next step is to try and clean it and hope that solves the issue. There are many ways to do this, and some work better than others.

Firstly, make sure your device is switched off before continuing. Then, gently blow into the headphone jack if the debris appears loose. This should take care of at least some of the larger clusters of dust and lint found inside. You can also use a handheld air blower, which is much more gentle than compressed air. It’s always important not to accidentally blow the dirt and dust further into the headphone jack. Holding your device at an angle so that the headphone jack tilts downwards may help with this.

A soft-bristled brush, such as a paintbrush, is a great way to gently extract debris from a headphone jack.

Another great option is to use a soft-bristled brush, such as a small paintbrush. While tilting your phone, gently clean the inside of the headphone jack, brushing slowly from the back end to the front. Make sure not to press the brush too hard into the phone, as this could cause damage to the interior of the headphone jack.

If neither of these options works, you could try using a cotton swab. While we don’t recommend using these, they may get the job done if you’re careful. Gently push the swab into the jack and slowly twist it around to capture the dust and lint. Afterward, gently pull the swab from the headphone jack and check for debris. Be very careful when doing this, as the last thing you want to do is cause more damage to the device. It’s also best to avoid dampening the cotton swab with rubbing alcohol, as liquids inside electronic devices — especially alcohol-based liquids — can degrade your phone’s water-resistance rating.

Look into the headphone jack again to see how much dust and lint you cleaned up. Provided things look better, plug in your headphones and check if everything works as it should. If the headphone jack is clean but still isn’t working, you should proceed to the next section.

If you are not convinced that your headphone jack is fully clear of debris, our guide on how to clean Samsung Galaxy Buds may provide some additional information.

Check audio settings

android 12 beta 1 hands on volume controls - Headphone jack not working
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

There’s a chance the problem isn’t with the jack or the headphones you’re using but has to do with the device’s audio settings. If this is the case, you’ll be able to sort it out in no time. The most obvious fix is to check if you muted your phone or put the volume down. Most phones have physical buttons for this, but you can also access all the audio options within the phone’s settings.

Typically, there aren’t many settings like these on a smartphone, so you should find the problem more or less right away (if there is one, that is).

How to check your Android audio settings:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Sound & vibration.
  3. Check if the Media volume is on. Increase it if it’s turned off.

Restart the device

If everything seems to be in order, but your headphone jack is not working, there’s another simple fix you can try, which is restarting your device. This can sometimes solve many smartphone-related problems and takes less than a minute. Just press and hold the power button, select the restart option, wait for the device to turn back on again, and then check to see if the problem persists.

How to restart an Android phone:

  1. Press and hold the Power button.
  2. Hit Restart.

Perform a factory data reset

If nothing else works, there is one last thing you can do before seeking professional help. A factory data reset will completely wipe your phone, and the complete operating system will be set to its default settings. If the problem isn’t hardware, a factory data reset should fix any software bugs that might be dwelling within your phone’s code.

How to do a factory data reset:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into System.
  3. Select Reset options.
  4. Hit Erase all data (factory reset).
  5. Tap on Erase all data.
  6. Enter your PIN.
  7. Confirm again by hitting Erase all data.

Time to call the repairman

A T-Mobile employee wearing a black t-shirt with the T-Mobile logo - Headphone jack not working
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

If none of the fixes above work, the problem isn’t as minor as hoped. If your device is still under warranty, the best thing to do is contact the retailer or manufacturer. Explain the problem to the company, and send it in for repair or replacement. This can take quite some time in some cases, but at least it’s free.

If the warranty has expired, you may have phone insurance. Just make a claim with your provider.

The third solution is the worst one. You may have to pay to get the device repaired by the manufacturer or someone who knows what they are doing. You’ll have to open up your wallet and pay up, but at least you’ll be able to use the headphone jack again. Otherwise, you could opt for a pair of wireless earbuds. That isn’t truly a solution, but you will be able to use headphones.

Top headphone jack questions and answers

The first thing to figure out is what is causing the problem in the first place. It may seem obvious, but make sure your headphones are working properly by plugging them into another device. If they are, ensure the headphones aren’t connected to a different device via Bluetooth. If the headphone jack looks dirty, try to gently clean it out with a soft-bristled brush, such as a paintbrush. You can also check the audio settings on your device to make sure to volume is turned on. Failing that, we recommend performing a restart on your phone or in the worst-case scenario, a factory data reset.

Headphone jacks can become damaged over time if you use an improper implement to clean them or are too forceful. They can also corrode if they’re exposed to moisture, so we don’t recommend using rubbing alcohol when cleaning the headphone jack. This may cause internal damage and reduce the water-resistance rating of your device.

If the sound and audio drivers of your computer are outdated, you may run into trouble when trying to connect your headphones. The easiest way to fix this is to navigate to your computer developer’s website and download the most recent drivers. You may need to restart your computer afterward and then connect your headphones upon reboot.

Do you still need help with your headphone jack? Connect one-on-one with an electronics expert through JustAnswer, an Android Authority partner.