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iPhone headphone switch not working: Solved

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:58 pm
by Stephen Hart
I noticed that my iPhone headphone switch wasn't working. I googled around and found various suggestions:

I tried this without success.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technol ... ts/4258816

BTW, I highly recommend against dipping the Q-tip stick in alcohol. That could leave the Q-tip too wet. Instead, dampen it slightly with an alcohol swab, the kind used for diabetics giving themselves injections. These are also good for cleaning mouse feet. Or dampen a Kleenex (TM) and then use that to dampen the Q-tip. I think, though, that the most likely problem is not stuff stuck to the contacts, it's an actual glob of lint preventing the headphone connector from getting all the way in. And the Q-tip will just make that worse. See site below.

This is the one that worked for me. I used a tiny flat screwdriver, and gingerly scraped out a chunk of blue-jean lint that was firmly wedged in the bottom of the hole.

http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/tips-trick ... t-working/

I also saw suggestions to use interdental brushes. But those are just mini bottle brushes, with a twisted metal center that could damage something in there. What we really need is a special-made tool, all plastic, with a brush tip. Maybe it should be made of something like velcro, with teensy little hooks for bristles. Or, better yet, a tiny vacuum nozzle, sort of the opposite of canned air. (Actually, someone could manufacture an attachment for canned air that does exactly this, using Bernoulli's principle!)

By the way, I had previously noted that using the headphone jack for my car's audio system didn't feel right, kind of mushy, less clicky. That's a sign of lint. I happen to have a dissecting microscope at home, so could look into the headphone jack. It's very hard to see anything there, but when clean, the bottom of the jack has a mirror with a white disk on it, presumably the moisture sensor. If you see gray or any texture, that's lint.

The images shows the problem after removal. A forensic scientist could probably glean a lot from the sample. I did see a tiny flake of wood (yellowish), a result of me keeping my phone in my pocket while working in my shop.