iPhone Headphone Mic/Button Not Working?

I started experiencing a very strange problem the other day – my iPhone’s stock headphones could no longer be used to play/pause the music or answer calls with the button on the cord, nor could anyone hear me talking when I had the headphones on.

When I first got my iPhone, I could either use the stock headphones’ mic or plug in third-party headphones and talk over the iPhone’s internal mic, but since last week or so, neither worked.

I then found these articles, which didn’t really seem to help:

At this point, I decided to take it in to the Apple store, thinking that they might not help me because of my phone’s special configuration, and of course, they told me to restore the phone to the stock firmware, back it up, and take it in for repair once that had been done.

On a whim, though, the girl who was helping me at the Apple store decided to take a look at the headphone jack itself and found it to be full of pocket lint. After digging it out with a small screwdriver, the headset (and my third-party headphones) worked fine again.

…Yep, pocket lint.

So, if you’re having the same problem (which, as I was told, is more common for guys since we tend to carry the phones in jeans pockets that pick up a lot of lint), try cleaning out the jack with a small pick or screwdriver. Canned air alone didn’t seem to do the trick, but if it works for you, awesome. =)

And, if cleaning out the headphone jack still doesn’t help, or there wasn’t any gunk in there in the first place, this post might help you out instead:

(Why I couldn’t find that site when I first looked I still don’t quite understand…)


  1. Slade says:

    Thank god that girl at apple figured that out. There was enough pocket lint in my to start a small house fire.

  2. Christian says:

    Thank you! I thought it had something to do with the jail break or anything. And then I was able to peel out quite some lint. Used a very small screedriver and held the phone upside down, so that the dirt I loosened could fall out.

    Works perfect now! Thank you for posting this tip!

  3. Actually, I was just writing up a headset earbud replacement article on my own site and I had to figure out how each of the conductors in the headset works. I’m 99% sure that the button in the headset works by shorting the mic return line to ground, changing the apparent resistance of the mic circuit. What probably happened to you is this: The headset was plugged in, and the phone detected that just fine. Therefore, the internal mic was disabled. The mic return line contact on the jack, however, was covered in lint, causing both the button and the mic to fail. That accounts for the button not working as well as the lack of sound pickup. That mostly confirms my theory about how the button works, but I suppose I’ll actually investigate myself at some point.

  4. kl says:


    that worked for me.

  5. creek says:

    same problem and total life saver (even though i thought it was the headphones and got a new pair from apple for free out of the deal! XD)

  6. Igolow92 says:


  7. tiggerblonde says:

    OH MY GOD!! I thought I was going to take the headphones back until I read what you went through and what you did to solve it! The mic is working perfectly! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

  8. mke says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you. Such an easy fix… took a piece of small copper wire, cleaned out the pocket lint, lots of it and now works great…. Amazing.


  9. Andy M. says:

    Great post, and great explanation.
    Worked like a charm, and was difficult to find a solution for this problem for some reason… this answer should be indexed n`1 in google results!
    THANKS again from Buenos Aires, Argentina!

  10. raghu c. says:

    Awesome fix- worked like a charm. Who knew that much lint could fit in such a small jack?

  11. PRITESH says:

    Thanks a lot for your great help.. You made mu day…

  12. BB says:

    Great – thank you so much!!! Saved me so much hassle – back to 100% now 🙂

  13. SK says:

    Thank you very much buddy!! Awesomeness!!

  14. Thank you so much for posting this. I was just about to take the button section apart when I decided to google if it was a common problem. I pulled out a big ball of lint from the bottom of the connector, now Im back in business! Thanks again.

  15. Brian says:

    Worked great for me! I just dug around in the headphone jack with a pin for a while until a huge chunk of lint came out.

    I noticed that there is a really easy way to tell if there is something in the jack or not: plug the headphones in, if the white part of the headphones aren’t completely flush with the phone itself (part of the headphone jack is sticking out) then there is something in the phone jack blocking the headphones from getting all the way in there.

  16. Ed says:

    Wow, thanks for the info! I was about to head to the Apple store when I came across this article.

  17. Lou says:

    I used a paperclip and twirled it around a bit and removed a lump of dark lint as large as a pea. The mic works fine. thanks a bunch.

  18. Z says:

    Hah. I had no idea how much lint that little headphone jack hole could collect. I had about a pea’s worth of lint in there. I cleared it out with a paper clip and now the buttons on the headset are working fine.

    The lint must collect and get packed down over time, eventually not allowing the plug to set into the jack all the way, causing it to miss the contact that sends the signal for the headset buttons. Funny stuff.

    I bet Apple will eventually sell an attractive looking lint cleaner just for this purposes for $19.95.

  19. jit says:

    thanks was just about to go to the mac store tomoro because i had broken my screen on my touch and firgured they messed something up thanks works great now

  20. Ranabir says:

    Thanks and a big hug 🙂

  21. Subysonic says:

    this just saved me too… did an upgrade and thought I borked the phone… just turn it off and dig out the lint!!!!

  22. Roger says:

    Thank you so much!
    Your hint and a toothpick saved my day 🙂
    Greetings from switzerland

  23. Andy says:

    Nice post. My mic has never worked, but I didn’t notice until I was out of warranty and I figured I had bad headphones. Then I bought new (cheap) ones and those didn’t work either. I either had two bad mics, or a bad phone. But turns out I had a forest of lint living in my phone!

  24. Constantine says:

    A M A Z I N G ! ! ! !

    I seemed to be so desperate that anything would work fine for me! I called Apple but nothing.. i tried too reset and restore and nothing again!! That really helped sooo much guys! Thanks once more!

  25. Byron says:

    Yes! Mine is working again now too, thanks!

  26. Phil says:

    Worked for me too! Great tip, thanks.

  27. Riken says:

    Worked for me as well….. was at work with no screwdriver, used a paper clip (/ U pin) to do the job.

  28. Jesper says:

    Worked beautifully and saved me the $ of buying a new phone… :-))

    1. Sean says:

      Thank you for this. I thought my headphone jack was busted and needed a new phone. One shot of compressed air and I was suprised to see how much lint popped out. I’m so happy now that I don’t have to unplug my headphones to answer my phone anymore. Thank you.

  29. Onil says:

    First i thought “a screwdriver?” lol but…THANKS MAN..!! I thought that it was from jailbreak and stuff like that! That girl from Apple is a goddess!!haha.
    thanks again, extremely helpfull.

  30. Matt says:

    thank you so much. i have been having hassles for ages now and i have just dug out so much fluff with a cocktail stick and everything is good again.

  31. Jimmy says:

    Wow, this really helped, was about to take my baby to the apple store, but you saved her :L

  32. Kate says:

    Wow, this worked great. I was all distressed about my headphone jack and then I came across this article and it worked like a charm. Thank you!

  33. Edwin Rios says:

    YOU ROCK man……

    I got that problem and It is amazing what a simple screw driver can do.
    Somebody need to tell this trick to MAC…. 🙂

    Thank you so much.

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  35. SBlack says:

    Hi Man, I have to join the choir. I have been fighting with this problem way to long. 2 minutes exercise and now it is fixed 🙂

    Thanks a ot.

  36. Robert of London says:

    One more thankful reader, who nearly had to eat the cost of returning a “defective” pair of Phonak Audeo earphones because they had a non-functioning mic and button…until I checked with an old pair and _they_ didn’t work.

    Googled, found your blog, and Bob’s your uncle. Many thanks! I’m gonna pack a small safety pin in my earphone case from now on…just remember to turn off the iPhone first!

  37. NITRO says:

    You are AWESOME…this was bugging me for a few days!! changed headphones and all. Very good fix.

  38. Jay says:

    Thank you so much for this article!

    I was already considering my 3rd pair of plugs when I read this! Thankfully I only wasted money on an extra pair, which is good to have anyway.

  39. Alastair says:

    Thanks so much for this tip – about 5 minutes of digging around with a safety pin and the headphones now work. Excellent.

    Greetings from London.

  40. Berdy says:

    It worked ! 5 minutes ago i was browsing the headphones in the Apple Store and now it worked. Thanks a lot for sharing this useful tip (sadly the Apple KBs don´t mention any of this)

  41. harry says:

    thats nice work…thanks man….now my headset mic and remote button working……um very very thankfull to u…..there was lot of lint in jack….lolz

  42. Ege says:

    Thank you.

  43. Sheeraz says:


    I had the same problem and i managed to fix it by reading your solution…


  44. Ryan wallace says:

    Thanks alot. I was a bit annoyed when my mic n control didnt work. But this helped greatly

  45. mac says:

    thank you, very useful!
    Titleist AP2 Iron Set,

  46. Cahit says:

    I have fixed the problem in a very similar way, opened it!
    Here is the similar story with the final photo that includes the bullet removed from the audio jack after the surgery: http://cahit.hayalet.net/blog/886/surgery-broken-iphone-headphone-jack/

  47. Kimo says:

    Amazing! It actually worked. I also took a paperclip and out come a tiny spec of lint. Who knew??

  48. Silus says:

    Just saying thankyou! Had the same problem with some expensive UE headphones and was about to send them back thinking they were faulty. Turns out it was just lint. Curse you lint!

  49. sgnx says:

    nice find! managed to dig out quite some lint from my 3g:)

  50. TorontoVerve says:

    Thanks for the tip! That was precisely the problem. Pulled tons of lint out of my phone. Works like a charm now.

  51. Felix Perez says:

    Just found this post, I rarely comment. All my problems have been solved. Get a tiny flat head from CVS/Rite Aid/wherever and pull that lint out! Solves problems much faster than an overnight delivery.

  52. ramry says:

    great tip. works like charm..

  53. Vincent says:

    I’ve been calling service centers and apple shops for possible cure for the problem. Thank you for this very helpful post.

  54. Chris says:

    Freakin Sweet! I went and bought a new headset cuz I thought mine was jacked up. Then the new headset had the same problem…….. So I prayed to the Google Gods to help me and I found your article. One bent paperclip later everything works great. Thanks for Posting!

  55. ahmed samir says:

    thanks thanks thanks from all Egyptians

  56. Tirone says:

    Thanks, I am yet another person rescued because of this blog post! YAY. Used a torch to shine in to see all the lint at the bottom and a toothpick to get it all out.

    Headphone controls work again now!

  57. James says:

    Thank you so much!

  58. Maragux says:

    I dropped my phone last day and since that happened I can’t hear someone calling on my phone anymore. This is a perfect timing that you got to post this article in which I had an idea to try to visit the links that you recommended.
    Thank you for sharing your personal experienced to help others. I’ll get back to you as soon as I have a good outcome though. iphone repair orlando

  59. Mat says:

    I just pulled a surprisingly large amount of lint out of my headphone socket, and now my headset works! Thanks!

  60. runawayitsbacon says:


    i also thought it was a jailbreak problem…

    lmao thanks

  61. heyjude says:

    This helped, thanks! I just blew in my head phone jack and twited ot around a bit. It worked like a charm!

  62. rikdeweerd says:

    YOU sir are GREAT!

    Pocketlint, indeed!
    Enough to make navel lint sick with envy.
    Are didn’t do it, had to use a small screw driver.


  63. thanks! says:

    Sadly I didn’t search for an answer before ordering a new headset, the mic of which didn’t work either. But with a paperclip and some digging came a ball of lint. I am back in business and now I have two headsets….it’s a good thing.

    Thanks dude!

  64. Sunny says:

    Awesome tip.. I had the same problem n thought it was something to do with firmware. As mine is jail broken I was a bit concerned to play with firmware.. But I just cleaned the jack inside with a toothpic which resolved this issue. Thnx again fr posting such a useful n simple tip..

  65. KK says:

    Another thank you …

  66. Chris says:

    absolutely awesome ip, fixed my iPhone.

  67. Barrer says:

    Thank u very much, it really helped with my beats solo HD thank uu!!

  68. Michael says:

    I just restored the switch on my headset to functionality thanks to your lint hint. Thank you very much for taking the trouble to write it up. This was driving me crazy, and I was tired of buying new headsets. I had pretty much given up hope and figured I’d just have to do without that feature until I can get an iPhone 5.

  69. Andrew says:

    Beautiful solution! Thank you.

  70. Robert says:


  71. Abe says:

    Worked like a charm, thanks so much for sharing!


  72. mike says:

    Thanks for posting this. I can’t believe how much lent there was. One more reason to keep a paperclip handy.

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