Phone not recognizing headphones

If you have ever used a smartphone, then you must have surely faced problems with its audio jack at some point in time. This issue can creep into your phone anytime, and it is very difficult to figure out what exactly might have caused it.

Sometimes this is due to a software glitch, and sometimes it is due to a temporary or permanent hardware fault.

So here is a detailed post that explains seven solutions that you can try out yourself if your phone is not recognizing the headphones. We will take a look at the things that have worked for most people and suggest the best ones for you.

Solution 1: Plug the headphones into another device

At this point, we are unsure whether the problem is with the headphones or the smartphone. So, to get a better idea of who is causing chaos, we have to plug in the headphones to another device.

It can be another phone, tablet, laptop, or just any other device with a 3.5 mm jack. Just connect them together and see if you can hear anything from the headphones.

If you don’t hear anything, then it’s time to get your headphones repaired/replaced. But, if they work fine with the other device, proceed to the next section.

Solution 2: Ensure that the connector is put all the way in

Sometimes, even though the headphone connector appears to be completely inside the port, it may not be connected properly. 

To ensure that the connector is plugged in nicely, remove it and plug it in again. When you plug in your headphones in the audio jack, you will hear a clicking sound. Apply a decent amount of pressure until you hear it.

Solution 3: Check media volumes

Smartphones use different volumes for the ring tone, media playback, alarms, etc. When the media volume is turned down, you wouldn’t see it in the notification bar. Here’s how you can check the media volume: 

Step 1: Go to the settings. 

Step 2: Open sound/ sound and vibration settings. 

Step 3: Check if the media volume is off/very low. Turn it up a bit. 

Step 4: Connect your headphones again and play something.

Solution 4: Disconnect any connected peripherals

Another common reason why some users are not able to hear audio output from their headphones connected to the 3.5 mm jack is because they are connected to another audio device why Bluetooth. 

You will see a small Bluetooth headphone icon in the notifications right next to the battery indicator/clock.

If you are not sure if any Bluetooth devices are connected, follow these steps to disconnect them: 

Step 1: Open the Settings app. 

Step 2: Press the connected devices button.

Step 3: The list of connected devices should be empty. 

Step 4: However, if you see any connected device (like SuperbassHeadphones in the screenshot), open its settings.

Step 5: Tap on the disconnect button.

Step 6: Now, the Bluetooth headphone icon should disappear from the notifications. You can connect your wired headphones from the audio jack and enjoy your music.

Solution 5: Check the impedance ratings

According to the maximum power transfer theorem, for maximum power transfer to occur, the impedance of the source must match the impedance of the load. 

Every audio source has a fixed impedance. That is the reason why the audio sources can be used to drive headphones with a similar impedance rating. The values of impedance need not be exactly the same but should lie in a specified range. 

Headphones with high impedance values require an external audio amplifier to work. If you connect such headphones to your phone, there is no way for the phone to be able to deliver enough power to drive the headphone.

Keeping all the technicalities aside, consider 60 Ohm as the rough estimate of the headphone’s impedance that smartphones can handle. Some powerful smartphones can even work fine with headphones having an impedance of up to 80 Ohms too, but anything above that will definitely be too much for a tiny device.

You can check the specifications of your headphones to find out the value of their impedance.

Solution 6: Clean the audio jack

If you have been using your phone for a long time, say over a year or two, then there is a good chance that the headphone jack might have collected some dust. The situation worsens if you use your phone outdoors for an extended period of time. 

Dust is not the only thing that kills the headphone jack. Moisture is equally responsible for that. A small layer of metal oxide is formed inside the headphone jack, which may not be visible to the eyes but can cause some serious trouble. 

The oxide layer cuts off the contact between the audio jack and the headphones which distorts or even disconnects them completely from each other.

You can use a piece of cloth, cotton, or even an earbud to clean the headphone jack. Just dip it in lens cleaner or isopropyl alcohol cleaner and gently wipe the inner section of the headphone jack. Use a very limited amount of the cleaner to avoid getting your headphone jack permanently damaged.

Alternatively, you can also use compressed air spray for the same purpose. It is a much safer way of cleaning the jack.

Once you do that, the accumulated dust and metal oxide will be cleared, and your headphone jack should start working again.

Solution 7: Reset your device

You can also try resetting your phone back to the factory settings to see if that fixes your problem. Here is how you can do that: 

Note that doing this will erase all the data that you have stored on your smartphone. Make sure you take a backup of all the important data, passwords, contacts, messages, and other files before you proceed.

Step 1: Open the settings application. 

Step 2: Go to the system settings. 

Step 3: Tap on ‘Reset options’. 

Step 4: Press ‘Erase all data’. 

Doing this will clear all the software glitches, and your headphones should start working now. 

Final Words

That’s all you need to do to fix your headphone jack. If the problem persists, the only option left is to visit an authorized service center and get it repaired. If the phone is under warranty and no signs of physical damage are found, then your phone will be repaired free of cost. 

Otherwise, you may have to shell out a few dollars (or more depending on your smartphone brand and model) to get the issue fixed. It is certain that replacing the headphone jack will fix the problem.

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