Why won’t my phone play music through headphones?

Check Your Headphone Connection

The most common reason headphones won’t play audio from your phone is an issue with the headphone connection itself. Start by checking that the headphone jack is fully inserted into the phone’s headphone port. Sometimes the jack can become slightly dislodged, which breaks the connection needed for audio output.

As noted in an article from valadilene.org, “Ensure a secure connection from the headphone jack to the device.”[1] Gently wiggle the headphone cord at the connection point to check. If sound starts playing, the headphones were not properly seated. Push the headphone connector in firmly to maintain sound.

Inspect the headphone port on your phone as well. Debris can collect inside the recessed headphone jack and interfere with connectivity. Carefully try cleaning out the port with compressed air. Be careful not to damage the delicate pins inside the port with any cleaning tools.

Check For Damage

Damaged headphone jacks or headphone wires can prevent your phone from sending audio through headphones. Before buying new headphones or repairing your phone, inspect your existing headphones and phone port using a flashlight or magnifying glass.

Look for signs of damage including:

  • Broken or bent headphone plugs or ports
  • Exposed wiring
  • Corroded connectors
  • Debris, dust, or lint buildup in the headphone port

If the headphones or headphone port are damaged, you may need to replace the headphones or have the headphone port repaired. How to Repair a Headphone Jack provides detailed repair and replacement instructions.

Update Phone Software

Outdated software can sometimes cause issues with headphone connectivity. Check to make sure your phone is running the latest software version available. Phone manufacturers regularly release software updates that include bug fixes and improvements.

Go to your phone’s Settings app and check for any available System Updates. Tap Download and Install to update your phone’s software. This will often resolve headphone issues caused by glitches in older versions of the operating system. As per Microsoft, updating to the latest Windows version fixed headphones not working after a previous update.

Updating your phone software is an easy fix that may get your headphones connecting properly again. Keep your phone’s operating system up-to-date to prevent bugs from causing problems with headset connectivity.

Toggle Bluetooth Off

Bluetooth connectivity can sometimes interfere with wired headphones working properly. If you have Bluetooth enabled on your phone, the audio may try to route to a Bluetooth device even when wired headphones are plugged in. This can prevent your wired headphones from receiving the audio signal.

To rule out Bluetooth interference, try toggling Bluetooth off on your phone. You can do this by going to Settings > Bluetooth and flipping the switch to the “Off” position. This prevents your phone from connecting to any Bluetooth devices.

With Bluetooth disabled, audio should now flow properly through your wired headphones. If your headphones start working after turning Bluetooth off, the wireless connection was likely the culprit. Just remember to turn Bluetooth back on if you want to use any wireless headphones or speakers in the future.

As recommended by Acer in their technical guide, “Bluetooth vs. Wired Headphones: Which is Right for You?”:

“If you are trying to use wired headphones but hear audio from your phone’s speakers instead, try disabling Bluetooth on your device. This will stop the phone from automatically routing audio to Bluetooth.”

Adjust Audio Settings

One of the first things to try is changing your phone’s default audio output setting to headphones instead of the speaker. Here’s how:

  1. Open your phone’s Settings app and go to the Sound or Audio section.
  2. Look for an option like “Audio output” or “Media audio output.” On Android 11 and up devices, this may be under “Connected devices.”
  3. Change the audio output setting from “Phone speaker” to “Wired headphones” or “Bluetooth headphones” depending on what you have connected.

According to Android Central, changing the audio output is quick and easy on most Android devices. This ensures media audio gets routed to your connected headphones rather than remaining on the phone speaker.

After adjusting this setting, try playing music again to see if sound now comes through your headphones. If you still only hear it from the phone speaker, there may be another issue preventing headphone audio.

Clean Headphone Port

Sometimes the issue with headphones not working properly stems from dust, lint, and other debris getting stuck in the headphone port. Over time, this debris can build up and block the connection between your phone’s port and headphones (For difficult debris, you can dip the swab in some rubbing alcohol. Make sure the swab is lightly coated, not soaked or dripping. Squeeze out any excess liquid before inserting into the port, as mentioned in this source).

It is important to thoroughly clean out the port in this situation. You can use a toothpick or paperclip as suggested here to scrape off and collect any debris, lint, dust, or other particulates stuck in the port. Then use a cotton swab to wipe away remaining particles. Cleaning out the headphone port can often resolve the issue of headphones not working by making sure the connection is unobstructed.

Test Different Headphones

The issue could be with the specific pair of headphones you’re trying to use with your phone. Try connecting another pair of headphones or earbuds to find out if the problem might be isolated to the headphones. Use headphones in good working condition from another device or a brand new pair. Follow these steps:

  1. Connect different headphones, earbuds, or a headset into your phone’s headphone jack or Bluetooth connection.
  2. Open a music app on your phone and try playing an audio track.
  3. Set volume to maximum and press play. Listen for clear audio coming from the headphones.
  4. If audio plays properly, the issue is likely related to the original headphones. Inspect them for damage, debris or connection problems.
  5. If you still cannot play audio from the headphones port, the issue is with your phone itself, not the headphones.

Restart Your Phone

Restarting or rebooting your phone can often resolve audio issues caused by software glitches. When you power cycle your phone, it resets all hardware and software components, which may correct problems with the headphone jack or audio output not functioning properly.

According to this source, you can restart your Android phone by pressing and holding the Power button, then tapping Restart. Allow your phone to fully power down and back on. Then test your headphones again to see if sound plays properly.

Restarting essentially gives your phone’s operating system and audio components a fresh start, which can clear out any software bugs preventing headphones from working. It’s a quick fix to try before digging into more complicated solutions. If headphones still don’t work after a restart, there may be a deeper hardware or configuration issue to troubleshoot.

Reset Phone to Factory Settings

Performing a factory reset can often resolve software-related sound issues by wiping your phone back to its default state and settings. This eliminates any bugs or glitches that may have developed over time from app installations, software updates, and general use.

According to this article, “Factory Reset Your Phone – Resetting your phone restores it to its default factory settings, removing any corrupt files or outdated settings that could be causing sound issues.” A full reset clears out any problematic files or configurations and reinstalls the stock OS, providing a clean slate.

The downside is you will lose any data, accounts, apps, and customizations you’ve added. So be sure to backup anything important first. You’ll have to reconfigure your device and redownload apps afterwards. But for troubleshooting mysterious sound problems, a factory reset can eliminate software as the culprit.

If sounds still don’t work after resetting, then the issue likely stems from a hardware problem instead, and you may need to attempt repairs or replacement.

Get Phone Repaired

If you have tried all the recommended troubleshooting steps and your headphones still do not work with your phone, the issue may be a hardware problem that requires professional repair (LikeWize Repair). The headphone jack and related components inside the phone can wear out or get damaged over time, preventing the headphone connection from working properly.

Issues that may require repair include:

  • Damaged headphone jack port
  • Faulty headphone detection switch
  • Broken solder connections on the motherboard

Repair costs can vary depending on your phone model and the specific issue, but headphone jack replacements often start under $100 (SimplyFixable). This is typically much cheaper than replacing the entire phone.

Using a professional phone repair service can ensure the issue is properly diagnosed and fixed. Technicians will have the parts, tools, and expertise to conduct headphone jack repairs and get your phone working again.

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