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iPhone Headphones or AirPods Only Plays in One Ear? How to Fix It

It’s frustrating when your AirPods or earphones aren’t working. And it’s even more frustrating when it just plays in one ear. Several people have faced this issue in the past and it got my attention right away! So why not fix this issue of your iPhone headphones or AirPods not working in one ear? Sounds good, right? So let’s get started.

Before we fix earbuds that work on one side of iPhone, make sure you’ve checked the same piece of earbuds or headphones on another device. If it works, then there might be some issues with your iPhone. And if it still works just with one ear, you need to follow the detailed troubleshooting tips given below.

How to Fix AirPods or Headphones That Only Work on One Side of iPhone

Here are a few ways to get rid of headphones that only work on one side of your iPhone.

Tip #1. Clean Your AirPods or Headphones

How often do you clean your AirPods or headphones which you use for regular calling or for playing music? I reckon, hardly once in a month, isn’t it?! It’s obvious that you don’t have much time to look into them. In such a situation, an AirPods case is your rescue partner without any doubts. It keeps them safe in a nutshell.

If not, remove the dirt, dust etc. with a controlled compressed air so that everything gets cleaned on your AirPods or headphones. This is a generic solution that might not work for all but it has proven that it worked for at least a few who faced this issue.

Tip #2. Check the Audio Settings

Is your audio setting set to perfection? If not, you’re sure to face this issue. To make sure you’ve done the right thing, head over to Settings → Accessibility → Audio/Visual under Hearing and make sure that the Phone Noise Cancellation balance is right between L and R. Also, check that Mono Audio is turned off which is the main reason why you might face this problem.

Check the Audio Settings on iPhone

Once done, save the settings and try to play some music on the earphones or AirPods you’re using. If it’s clear and loud, it’s obvious you had messed up with the audio settings some time in the past.

Tip #3. Restart Your Device & Reconnect Your AirPods/Headphones

Restarting a device can help you fix a lot of other issues as well apart from sound playing in just one of the AirPods. Just restart the device on which you’re using your AirPods or headphones and see if it works for you.

Another thing is to disconnect your AirPods from the existing device and try to pair your AirPods again. Hopefully, this must solve the issue if there were any software issues in your AirPods or on your iDevice.

Tip #4. Reset All Settings on iPhone/iPad

Of course, you might not want to lose all your iPhone’s or iPad’s settings but if you badly want to get your AirPods or headphones working, this must be on the cards. Go to Settings → General → Reset → Reset All Settings. This should reset all the settings on your iPhone/iPad. Now connect your earphones again once you reset the device.

Tap on Reset in General in Settings App on iPhone
Reset All Settings on iPhone

Tip #5. Use Another Pair of Headphones/AirPods

This is the only possible way to know whether your AirPods or headphones are at fault. If another pair of AirPods work fine with your iPhone/iPad, then the existing ones are at fault. In such cases, you need to consult an expert at Apple Store to get the issue checked!

That’s it, folks!

Summing Up…

I hope these fixes will solve your issue of iPhone headphones not working in one ear. Let us know which method worked for you. If it still doesn’t work, do let us know the exact issue you’re facing in the comment section below. We will try our best to give you a solution for the same.

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  • Suraj

    Suraj is an operations head on the iGB team. He contributes to the social media section along with tips and tricks for iPhone, Apple Watch. Apart from blogging, he likes to work out as much as he can in his gym and love to listening to retro music.

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  1. My headphone is not working especially the left one what can I do this is the second time this has happened please tell which headphone is good.

    • Clean up the lint piled up in the headphone jack and ear wax on the headphone grills. Then, connect the cable and try rolling and squeezing it while listening. If it’s a connection issue, it should be solved. Otherwise, change your headphone adapter, or get AirPods 3rd generation, AirPods Pro 2nd generation, or other wired headphones for your iPhone.


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