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Headphone mode is a feature on the iPad designed to save battery life by disabling the internal speakers when headphones are plugged in. However, sometimes the iPad gets confused and thinks that headphones are still plugged in even when they’re not. If you’re experiencing this issue, there are a few things you can try in order to fix it.

1. Replug and Unplug Your Headphone

A possible explanation for an iPad stuck on headphone mode is that the device is simply confused about whether or not headphones are plugged in. When you plug headphones into an iPad, a small icon appears in the top-right corner of the screen to indicate that headphones are plugged in. If this icon is stuck on the screen, it’s possible that the iPad thinks headphones are still plugged in even when they’re not.

To fix that, unplug and replug your headphones several times. Make sure to do this slowly and carefully so as not to damage the headphone jack. If the problem persists, try using a different set of headphones.

2. Check if the Headphone Jack Is Dirty

Another possible explanation for an iPad stuck on headphone mode is that the headphone jack is dirty. If there’s any dirt or debris build-up in the jack, it could be causing problems with the connection. Besides, a dirty jack can also cause static or other sound quality issues.

That being said, cleaning the headphone jacks in an iPad is a simple process but one that must be done carefully to avoid damaging the sensitive components inside the device. For that, you’ll need a few supplies:

  1. Cotton swabs
  2. Isopropyl alcohol
  3. A soft cloth

Here are the steps to clean your headphone jack:

  1. Begin by using the cotton swabs to lightly dust any debris out of the headphone jack. Be sure not to use anything sharp, as this could scratch or damage the jack.
  2. Next, dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and use it to clean any dirt or grime that remains in the jack. Once again, be very careful not to apply too much pressure or force when doing this.
  3. Finally, use the soft cloth to wipe down the outside of the headphone jack and remove any residue from the alcohol. Allow the jack to dry completely before plugging anything into it.

3. Try a Different Set of Headphones

If you’ve tried the above methods and your iPad is still stuck in headphone mode, the problem might be with your headphones. If possible, try using a different set of headphones.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing headphones :

  1. Choose headphones that are compatible with your iPad.
  2. Make sure the headphones are not damaged.
  3. If you’re using Bluetooth headphones, make sure they’re properly paired with your iPad.

If the problem persists, there’s likely something wrong with your iPad, not your headphones.

4. Turn Airplane Mode On and Off

Another potential solution is to turn on airplane mode and then turn it back off again. That will disable all wireless radios on your iPad, including Bluetooth.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Settings on your iPad.
  2. Tap on Airplane Mode toggle to turn it on.
  3. Wait a few seconds, and then tap the toggle again to turn Airplane Mode off.

Once airplane mode is turned off, check to see if the problem is fixed. If not, try the next method.

5. Start an Audio Recording

Another potential solution is to start an audio recording on your iPad. That will activate the microphone, which could fix the problem. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Voice Memos app on your iPad.
  2. Tap on the red Record button to start recording.
  3. Wait a few seconds, and then tap on the Stop button.
  4. Once the recording is stopped, check to see if the problem is fixed. If not, try the next method.

6. Restart Your iPad by Holding Down the Power Button

If your iPad is still stuck in headphone mode, try restarting it. Many times, restarting an iPad will fix minor software issues. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on the top of your iPad for a few seconds until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ slider appears at the top of the screen.
  2. Once the slider appears, swipe it from left to right to turn off your iPad.
  3. Once your iPad is turned off, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again for a few seconds until you see the Apple logo appear on the screen.
  4. If your iPad is unresponsive and you can’t get the Sleep/Wake button to work, force a restart by pressing and holding both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time for 10 seconds or so until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

That’s it! Your iPad will now restart itself, and hopefully, the problem will be fixed.

7. Update Your Software Using iTunes

If your iPad is still stuck in headphone mode, it’s possible that there’s a software issue. For example, there might be a problem with the audio drivers on your iPad.

One way to update your software is to use iTunes. Here’s how:

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer.
  2. Open iTunes and connect your iPad to your computer using a USB cable.
  3. Click on the device icon in iTunes and then click on the Summary tab.
  4. Click on the Check for Update button and follow the prompts to install any available updates.
  5. Once the update is installed, disconnect your iPad from your computer and check to see if the problem is fixed.

8. Connect Your iPad to Bluetooth Speakers

If your iPad is still stuck in headphone mode, you might be able to fix the problem by connecting your iPad to a pair of Bluetooth speakers. That way, you can still listen to music or other audio, even though your headphones are not working.

Here’s how to connect your iPad to Bluetooth speakers:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPad.
  2. Tap on the Bluetooth toggle to turn it on.
  3. Place your Bluetooth speakers in discovery mode.
  4. Once your speakers appear in the list of devices, tap on them to connect.

9. Change the Sound Output Settings on Your iPad

Another potential solution is to change the sound output settings on your iPad. This will force your iPad to use the built-in speakers instead of the headphones.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPad.
  2. Tap on the Control Center toggle to turn it on.
  3. Tap the AirPlay icon.
  4. A menu will pop up with a list of available audio output options.
  5. Tap on the built-in speakers to select them.

10. Check Third-Party Apps That May Help

Another quick fix for an iPad that’s stuck in headphone mode is to try a third-party app that can help. There are a few different apps available on the App Store that might be able to help, such as FonePaw iOS System Recovery.

These apps can help by forcing your iPad to restart or by updating your software. However, they might not work for everyone. Besides, using third-party apps poses a risk to your device and your data, so use them with caution.

Here are a few risks to consider before using a third-party app:

  • The app might not work. Some of these apps are not well-reviewed, so there’s no guarantee that they’ll work.
  • The app might damage your iPad. Some apps can cause permanent damage to your iPad if they’re used incorrectly. For instance, an app that updates your software might delete important files from your iPad.
  • The app might delete your data. If you use an app to force a restart or update your software, you might lose some data in the process.
  • The app might not be safe. Some apps might contain malware or other malicious code that can harm your iPad . For example, an app might contain a virus that can steal your personal information.

Before using any third-party app, do some research to make sure it’s safe and reputable. Here are some tips :

  • Check the reviews. Look for reviews of the app on the App Store or other websites. If there are mostly negative reviews, that’s a red flag.
  • Check the developer. Make sure you’re downloading the app from a reputable developer. You can usually find this information on the App Store page for the app.
  • Check for malware. Use an antivirus program to scan the app for malware before you install it.
  • Use caution. Even if an app is safe and reputable, use it with caution. For example, don’t give the app permission to access your data unless you’re sure it needs that access.
  • If you decide to use a third-party app, make sure you follow the instructions carefully. If something goes wrong, you might need to restore your iPad from a backup.

11. Play Music With Another App

Another way to fix an iPad that’s stuck in headphone mode is by playing music with a different app. For example, if you’re using the Apple Music app, try playing music with the Spotify app.

Sometimes, switching to a different app can help fix the problem. And if you can play music with another app, that means the problem is most likely with the first app.

12. Ask a Friend To Call You and Hang Up

If you’re still having trouble, you can ask a friend to call you and hang up. That will force your iPad to use the built-in speakers instead of the headphones.

To do that, just have your friend call you and then hang up as soon as the call connects. Your iPad should automatically switch to the built-in speakers.

13. Factory Reset Your iPad

If you’ve tried all of the above solutions and nothing has worked, you can try doing a factory reset. That will erase everything on your iPad and restore it to factory settings, which might fix the problem. Be sure to back up your data first!

Here’s how to do a factory reset:

  1. Open Settings and tap General.
  2. Tap Reset, then tap Reset All Content and Settings.
  3. Enter your passcode, then tap Erase Everything. Keep in mind that this will delete all of your data, so make sure you have a backup before you do this.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to factory reset an iPad.

14. Take Your iPad to an Apple Authorized Service Provider

If none of the above solutions help, you might need to take it to an Apple Authorized Service Provider. They can diagnose the problem and fix it for you.

You can also make an appointment at an Apple Store. One of the Genius Bar technicians can take a look at your iPad and help you fix the problem.

Just ensure you inform them that you’ve tried all of the above solutions first. Also, be sure to back up your data before you go, just in case they need to erase your iPad.

General Tips for Improving iPad Sound Quality (5 Tips)

Now that you know how to fix an iPad that’s stuck in headphone mode, here are some general tips for improving sound quality on your iPad:

1. Use an External Speaker

If you’re looking for immediate improvement in sound quality, using an external speaker is the way to go. There are a variety of Bluetooth speakers on the market that are compatible with the iPad. While some may be on the expensive side, they will definitely provide a major upgrade in sound quality.

Just make sure to do your research and find a speaker that’s right for you. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a Bluetooth speaker:

  • Sound quality: Of course, you’ll want to find a speaker with great sound quality. But what exactly does that mean? Look for a speaker with rich bass and clear highs.
  • Battery life: You’ll want to find a speaker with a long battery life, so you don’t have to worry about it dying in the middle of a party.
  • Portability: If you plan on taking your speaker with you on trips, you’ll want to find one that’s easy to carry.
  • Waterproof: If you want to use your speaker near the pool or beach, look for a waterproof model.

2. Use an Equalizer App

If you’re an audio enthusiast, you know that not all music sounds the same. In fact, different genres can often require different EQ settings to sound their best.

Luckily, there are many apps that allow you to adjust your iPad’s EQ settings to better suit your listening preferences. If you’re not sure where to start, try downloading one of the many free EQ apps available on the App Store.

Once you’ve found an app you like, experiment with different EQ settings until you find something that sounds good to you. You may be surprised at how much of a difference a few simple tweaks can make. So don’t be afraid to experiment and find the perfect EQ setting for your favorite tunes.

3. Use Lossless Audio Files

If you’re an audiophile, you know that MP3s just don’t cut it when it comes to sound quality. That’s why lossless audio files are such a great option for those who want to get the most out of their iPad’s sound system. Lossless audio files are larger in size than MP3s, but they retain all of the data from the original recording, resulting in higher-quality sound.

There are several ways to get lossless audio files onto your iPad, including downloading them from the iTunes Store or ripping them from CDs using iTunes. No matter how you get them, lossless audio files will give you the best possible sound quality on your iPad.

4. Invest in a Portable DAC/Amp

A portable DAC (digital-to-analog converter) and amplifier can go a long way toward improving your iPad’s sound quality. These devices convert digital audio signals into analog signals and amplify them, resulting in much fuller and richer sound.

There are a number of different DAC/amp models available on the market, so be sure to do your research before making a purchase.

Here are a few tips for choosing the right DAC/amp for your needs:

  • Compatibility: First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that the DAC/amp you choose is compatible with your iPad.
  • Digital inputs: If you want to use your DAC/amp with other digital devices, make sure it has the right digital inputs.
  • Analog outputs: You’ll also want to ensure that the DAC/amp has the right analog outputs for your needs.
  • Portability: If you plan on taking your DAC/amp with you on the go, make sure it’s small and portable.

5. Use High-Quality Earbuds or Headphones

If you really want to improve your listening experience, invest in a pair of high-quality earbuds or headphones. These days, there are many great options available at a variety of price points.

When shopping for earbuds or headphones, look for a model with good sound isolation. That will help block out unwanted noise so you can focus on your music. You’ll also want to make sure that the earbuds or headphones are comfortable to wear for long periods.

And finally, don’t forget to pay attention to sound quality. After all, that’s the whole reason you’re upgrading your listening experience in the first place.


These are a few different ways to fix an iPad that’s stuck in headphone mode. If none of the methods to fix it yourself work, factory reset your iPad or take it to an authorized service provider where an expert technician will know how best to solve the problem.