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I have an unusual problem: I have a small ball of silica gel stuck on my Macbook Air headphone jack.

Any ideas how I might get it out of my headphone jack?

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How deep is it stuck? Try using vacuum pressure to pull it out? –  JakeGould Feb 16 '13 at 15:55
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Seems like a vacuum is going to be one of the only ways to get it out. Exercise due caution when using a vacuum around your MBP. Perhaps use tape to seal off a portion of the vacuum tip so you have a more concentrated area of suction. –  bassplayer7 Feb 16 '13 at 16:59
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4 Answers

Had two silica beads stuck in my iPad earphone jack at the same time. What a pain! Took a paperclip end and scraped the beads up and down, taking care not to touch the earphone contacts. The sides turned to powder within 2-3 minutes allowing for each one to fall out. Wrapped the paperclip with paper towel and wiped the inside.

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This is the number one foreign object I've seen stuck in iPod / iOS headphone jacks and just like getting coins and business cards and CD's out of a stuck optical drive slot, your best bet is to get it in the hands of a trained technician to remove.

Now, if you can't get to a technician you trust, you'll have to use some ingenuity to decide if you are able to dislodge it.

If the bead rattles around when you gently invert the device, it's very likely you could get it out by mechanical means (centripetal force as you swing your arm) or light suction or very carefully getting a lever past the sphere.

Unfortulately, most cases the bead gets firmly wedged at the bottom due to force from a headphone jack and the force needed to crush the sphere usually damages the thin metal contacts that are designed to hold the tip of your headphone jack in the port.

You may want to consider the repair options and cost of a new jack before deciding to force out a foreign body such as a silica bead.

Good luck, and hopefully this doesn't end up in a costly repair or replacement for you.

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Consider trying this:

Unscrew a two-piece ball point pen. Set aside the top of the barrel, the ink cartridge, and the spring. Place the tip of bottom section in (or around) the obstructed jack. Now.. well.. suck. I expect you won't be able to generate near enough suction to cause damage.

Just take care that the silica gel ball doesn't turn out to be smaller in diameter than the aperture of the pen tip. Silica may be inert as far as your digestive system is concerned, but your lungs aren't nearly as forgiving when it comes to aspirating a foreign body, not even one of that small a size. Come to think of it, it's probably prudent to cover the end of the barrel you'll be placing in your mouth with a tissue or thin cloth, as any prior efforts to dislodge the ball may have left it in fragments the eye cannot discern.

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Probably the most prudent course is not to follow Doc G's suggestion to use your lungs as a vacuum device. The lung that gets the silica spheroid will not be happy. Not one bit. Tissue or thin cloth may break the seal you need for adequate suction. If you really want to try it, perhaps pantyhose would be sheer enough to catch the flying ball. Good luck. You'll need it. –  IconDaemon Jul 21 '13 at 2:37
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  1. Take toothpick

  2. Put a very small amount of cyanolite glue at the flat tip (bottom) of the toothpick (diameter of the glue bubble MUST be much smaller than the ball or the socket diameter itself otherwise you'll glue your socket)

  3. very precisely direct the flat tip of the toothpick toward the ball and stay still while it sets. (pay attention not to touch sides of socket, if you do, remove the toothpick. Don't smear: you can still scrape the dry glue with some metal blade later)

  4. Pull! :)

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