iPhone EarPhones Playing One Side Only

How To Fix iPhone EarPhones Playing One Side Only

The iPhone has really good speakers, but sometimes you want to listen to your video or music alone and not broadcast it to everyone around you. In such cases, the iPhone earphones are a great accessory to have. They allow you to listen to your audio privately, but sometimes, these earphones can fail as well.

One of the most common issues seen with iPhone earphones is that one of the sides stops working. For some people, the left earbud is not working, and for some, the right. However, this does not always mean that your earphones are broken and need to be replaced. There are a few solutions you can try out to make your earphones start working again. These are easy fixes that you can try out yourself without needing to take them to any store.

Read ahead to find some easy fixes that you can try to fix your iPhone earbuds. These fixed work for all iPhone earbuds, even iPhone 11 earbuds.

Ruling out Issues

The first step in fixing your iPhone earbuds is to ensure that the problem is with the earphones and not with something else that may be causing an issue or interference. Therefore, the first step is to rule out all other issues that may cause your earphones to not work. 

Here are some common issues that occur.

Device issue

Usually, we connect earphones to devices such as iPads, computers, phones, or any device having a 3.5mm port. Check and see whether the device you are using your headphones with is working properly. If you own earphones that have a lightning port, try using the earphones with another Apple device. If it works, then the issue is with the earphones. However, if the earphones still do not work, then you may have an issue with the earphones. 

An alternative could be to use a lightning port to a 3.5mm dongle if your lighting port earphones are not working. You can try out the earphones with the dongle on any device having a 3.5mm port, such as a computer. 

You can also try bending the earphone cables on both ends. Sometimes the earphone jacks are such that they need to be wiggled around so that they fit perfectly into the jack. If your earphone needs to be bent a lot to get the sound working on both earphones, then there is an issue with the phone’s hardware. 

Damaged or disconnected wire

Damaged or disconnected wire

Another common issue that occurs with headphones is that their wires become damaged and disconnected. Damaged wires are usually the most common problem faced by headphone users. Because of this damage, the signals cannot reach properly throughout the earphones, and you often hear sound in one ear and not the other. 

You can test out whether or not your headphones are damaged by plugging them into the device and bending them until you hear a sound in one of the earphones. If you hear sound from both earphones when you bend them at a certain angle, then the issue is with the wires of your headphones. They may be disconnected or damaged. You can replace your apple earphones with new ones or attempt to fix them yourself.  


When earphones stop playing on one side, our instinct is to get rid of them and get a new one. However, sometimes the headphones can be easily fixed, so they play music on both sides. Thus, before you throw out what may be a perfectly good set of earphones, try out these solutions. They might just fix your headphones and get them to work perfectly once again. 

Plug contactors

Within the hardware of the iPhone earphones, there is a little switch located in the 3.5mm headphone port. This switch disconnects the built-in speakers when the headphones are inserted into it. When this switch malfunctions and does not work properly, you may experience issues with your headphones, and they may not work as well as they should.

In this case, the best thing to do is clean out your headphone port by blowing into it. By blowing, you dislodge the particles that are stuck in the port. Thus, your headphones will be able to connect properly, and you will be able to hear again. 

Alternatively, you can also try and insert the plug and take it out a few dozen times. This method can also help clean out the port and any dust particle or grime that may be causing an issue.

After you have cleaned the port, try inserting the earphones again and see if they work.

Software problem

One of the reasons iPhone headphones stop working on one side is because of software issues. To help solve that issue, follow the steps below so that you can fix them and get your apple earphones working once again.

  • Unlock your device and navigate to Settings. This app is usually available on the home page of your phone or tablet.
  • Then, navigate to General.
  • Choose Accessibility
  • From here, scroll down until you reach Phone Noise Cancellation.
  • Under this section, you will find a slider. Slide it to adjust the balance between the left and right channels. It so happens that sometimes that this setting is changed to only give sound output on one side. If you change the slider and bring it to the center, then there will be sound in both earphones.

Once you have adjusted the slider, insert the earphones again and try to play something. The sound should be equal on both sides. 

If the sound is not equal on both sides, it means that there is an issue with the headphones and not the audio settings of your device. 

Restart your device

Restart your device

Another way of restoring sound in both your apple earbuds is by ensuring that the device is functioning properly. Sometimes, the device has an issue with the software and may not be functioning as it should. As a result, your earphones may be affected. To fix this possible issue, you can force restart your device. 

To restart your device, press and hold onto the power and volume buttons. This will open up the slider. Slide it to force your device to shut down. Then restart your device. When your device has restarted, insert your earphones again and see if the earphones are working. 

You cal also try to reset all your settings. To do so, go to Settings. Navigate to General. Then select Reset. You will see an option that asks to Reset All Settings. Choose this option. Your data will not be deleted in this process. However, by resetting, all of your previous settings will be changed back to default. Additionally, your device will also erase the WiFi passwords. 

Once you have restarted your device, try to insert your earphones and see if they work. 

Fix damaged wires

If none of the above methods work, it is for certain that the issue is with your earphones and not your device. There are many things that can go wrong. One of the most common issues is damaged wires. Over a certain period of time, the wires in the earphone may get worn out, and they may start working only in one ear. 

If you have to bend the earphones to get one of the earphones to work, this is definitely the issue. However, you can easily solve it by yourself. Here is how to fix the damaged wire. 

  • Get a knife or a cutter and slice through the protective layer of plastic that is around the earphone jack and the cord near it.
  • Next, locate the section that has the broken wires and cut them off cleanly.
  • Then, remove the plastic cord that wraps around the end of the earphone cord.
  • Light a match or a lighter and use it to burn off the insulation in the wire. 
  • Then, solder the wires to the earphone jack, keeping blue at the bottom, then gold, green, and at the top red. 
  • Lastly, cover up the newly joined section using a heat-shrink tube or electrical tape. These materials help protect the connection and prevent them from getting damaged again.

Fix the faulty wiring within the earbud

Wire damage is not something limited to the cord of the earphone. Within the earbuds, many wires overlap and interconnect to allow you to hear sounds from both earbuds. However, when these wires get damaged, they may cause one earbud to stop working.

Fortunately, you can easily fix this issue. Here is how to fix faulty wiring within your apple earphones.

  • Use a small flat-blade screwdriver and open up the earbud that has stopped working. The front case of the earphone is easy to open, and you can use anything flat and slim to pop it open.
  • Make sure that you do not open the case further than the earbuds to rip the wires further. Push the cord through the earbud’s upper housing. To do so, you will have to push it up. Doing so will expose the internal components of the earbuds.
  • Next, resolder the loose wire. Allow the wire to cool before you test the headphones.

Fix Shorted wire

Shorted wire

Shorted wires are yet another reason that can cause your headphones to stop working. You can easily fix this issue by yourself if you follow the instructions below.

  • Plug in your headphones into whichever device you are using. Next, play any audio file.
  • Next, locate where the earphone wires are shorted by bending the cord every inch or half an inch. 
  • Continue along the whole length of the cord until you start hearing sound in both the earphones.
  • Then, remove the damaged portion of the wire, so that you can replace it.
  • On the remaining sections, slice through both the tips in order to expose the wires. 
  • Next, separate the copper wires, which are the ground wire, and the insulation white wires. There are also colored wires. Make sure that all of them are well separated. 
  • Cut off the white insulation wires and twist the copper wires to keep them intact.
  • Next, use a match or a lighter to burn the enamel tip off the colored wires. Be sure to only briefly burn them.
  • Then, join the colored wires together. You can twist them together and secure them using electrical tape.
  • The ground wires can also be linked in a similar manner. Make sure that you are wrapping electrical tape around them and that the ground and colored wires do not touch each other. 
  • Wrap them all in electrical tape.


Why is one earbud not working?

There are many reasons why an earbud of an earphone can stop working. It could be an issue with the device. The settings may have shifted, and all the sound may be directed to just one ear. There can also be some issues with the connector, where dust particles may be stuck and cause a blockage.

However, it is more likely that your earphones have an issue. Some sections of the wire may be shorted or damaged. There can also be an issue with the wiring in the earbuds.

My earbuds for iPhone are only playing in the right ear?

When your apple wired headphones stop playing in one ear, the easiest thing to do is insert and remove the earphone from the jack a few dozen times. By doing so, you can dislodge any dust that might be stuck in the connector.

You can also reset your settings to make sure that there is no issue with the settings that are causing your headphones to not work in one ear.

How to fix earphones that are not working in one ear?

There are several different things that you can do to fix your earphones that do not work in one ear. You can try and straighten out the earphone cards, change your earphones, and restart the device. You can also try cleaning out the headphone jack and checking the audio settings of the device.


Broken headphones are a nuisance and especially when half is working, and the other half isn’t. However, the article above lists many ways you can fix earphones that have stopped working in one ear. With these tips, you won’t have to replace your earphones and instead can fix the ones that you already have. 

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Abdul Wahab is a Software Engineer by profession and a Tech geek by nature. Having been associated with the tech industry for the last five years, he has covered a wide range of Tech topics and produced well-researched and engaging content. You will mostly find him reviewing tech products and writing blog posts. Binge-watching tech reviews and endlessly reading tech blogs are his favorite hobbies.

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