My iPhone 3G is growing old -- yesterday I noticed that it didn't make any sounds anymore, and phone calls also muted (I heard nothing, other party didn't hear me either). It turns out that the phone erroneously thinks that a headset is plugged in. I noticed because the volume control popup shows "headset."

When I actually plug my headset in, everything works as expected. But unplugging the headset doesn't register on the phone; it stays in headset mode.

It seems that there's a small hardware switch that notices the plug, and this switch has failed.

  • Can I somehow clean the switch? Perhaps it's not broken, just dirty.
  • Can I take the phone apart myself (warranty is long gone), or should I have it repaired?
    • Looking at iFixit, it seems I would have to completely dismantle the phone to get to the jack (direct link). I'm not sure that's feasible for the layman, with any hope of it working again afterwards?

I realize that the phone's value is less than any repair would cost, so it's a matter of whether I can fix this myself, or need to spend €€€ on a replacement phone.

  • Forgive my stupid question: there is no visible lint or stuff that's stuck inside the audio port, right? Just in the off chance something is inside. Feb 15, 2013 at 9:12
  • @Globalnomad: not stupid; I neglected to mention that I checked! I used a strong light to get a good look into the jack but did not see anything that looked wrong. Feb 15, 2013 at 11:00
  • [Wild guess] try jiggling the silent vibrate switch? I'm trying to explore if the silent vibrate switch is accidentally set to on and its inner part is stuck there despite the vibrate being turned off. Feb 15, 2013 at 11:06
  • @Globalnomad: It's not the silent mode - it's the headset. Feb 15, 2013 at 12:20

1 Answer 1


In most current audio ports on Apple products, the audio jack contains a small switch which senses when a jack has been inserted. It is likely your phone's switch has some debris that has disconnected the circuit, something that I've observed on multiple occasions with multiple users devices. I myself am constantly getting pocket lint in the various ports of my phone. Someday it will probably result in the same issue you're having.

You need to somehow get the sensor working again, or work around it. Try using canned air (from your local electronics or office supply store) to blow out the port.

Since the audio jack is soldered to the phone's motherboard, if this is a deal-breaker for you, you might have to replace it.

  • I had this same issue and got some dust that was stuck in the headphone jack out with a paper clip. Apr 24, 2017 at 5:24

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