How to Fix It When an Xbox One Controller Headphone Jack Is Not Working

Try these fixes before you buy a new controller

An Xbox One controller with a headphone jack that isn't working.

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

When the Xbox One controller's headphone jack is not working, it usually manifests in one of the following ways:

  • You can't hear others, and they can't hear you.
  • You can hear, but the audio quality is very low.
  • Your headset stops working, then works fine the next day.

These symptoms can come on suddenly or gradually, and it's possible for a symptom to appear, go away, then come back due to the nature of the problem. Unplugging the headset and plugging it back in sometimes fixes the problem temporarily, only for it to come back again later.

What Causes an Xbox One Controller Headphone Jack to Stop Working?

When an Xbox One controller headphone jack stops working, it's either due to a hardware or firmware problem. The jack itself may be dirty or damaged, or the controller firmware may be in need of an update.

Additionally, these problems sometimes appear to be caused by the headphone jack when something else entirely is to blame. A dirty or damaged headphone connector or cable, a muted headset, or even incorrectly configured privacy settings can all seem to be a problem with the headset jack.

How to Fix Headphone Jack on an Xbox One Controller

If you suspect your Xbox One controller headphone jack is bad, you may be able to get it working again by using the following troubleshooting steps. Attempt each fix, in order, and check to see if your headphones are working after each step.

Before you proceed, make sure your controller is actually working, connected to your Xbox One, and you aren't muted by your privacy settings. Also, verify your Xbox One controller can actually turn on.

  1. Disconnect the headset from your controller, then reconnect it firmly. The number one cause of Xbox One headsets malfunctioning is a poor connection between the headset and controller. Unplugging the connector, then firmly plugging it back in, will often take care of your problem.

  2. Examine your Xbox One headset, cord, and connector. If you see any damage to the headset, cord, or connector, you may have a problem with your headset instead of your controller.

    If the cord is frayed, or the wires inside are broken, you'll have to repair the wires or buy a new headset. If you see any debris like dirt or food on the connector, clean it with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

  3. Examine the headset port on your controller. Using a flashlight, attempt to look inside the headset port on your controller. If you see any obstructions, attempt to remove them with a small implement like a toothpick or tweezers.

    Even if you can't see anything, there may be food or other debris stuck inside. Try blowing the port out with compressed air to see if anything comes out.

  4. Confirm your headset isn't muted. Depending on your headset, there may be a mute button on the adapter or an inline mute button. Press the mute button and attempt to raise the volume to see if that helps.

  5. Try a different controller and a different headset. If you don't have access to another controller and headset, try to borrow some. This is the best way to make sure there's a problem with your controller.

If your headset works with a different controller on the same Xbox One console, try updating your controller firmware. If it still doesn't work, there's probably something physically wrong with your controller.

How to Fix Xbox One Controller Headphone Jack Yourself

If your headphone jack still doesn't work after attempting the above fixes, and you've tried different combinations of controllers and headphones to verify there's a problem with your controller, then the jack itself is probably bad.

Xbox One controller headphone jacks aren't soldered in place, so regular use can cause their contacts to become loose. When that happens, your Xbox One may not recognize your headset, or you may experience very poor sound quality.

Since there's no soldering involved, examining or even replacing the headphone jack component in an Xbox One controller is very easy. If you have the right tools, you can take your controller apart and check to see if your headphone jack is loose.

If your jack is loose, you can attempt to reseat it, try to pry out the contacts or replace it with a new headphone jack component.

You will need T-6 and T-9 Torx drivers or bits to take your controller apart. Use a static strap if possible, and be very careful when handling the internal components.

Here's how to take your Xbox One controller apart and fix a broken headphone jack:

  1. Carefully remove the panels from the sides of your Xbox One controller.

    The side panel on an Xbox One controller.
    Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen 
  2. Remove the five hex screws holding the controller together.

    One screw is hidden behind a sticker in the battery compartment.

  3. Remove the front and back covers from the controller.

  4. Examine the headphone jack. If it's loose, it probably needs to be replaced.

    The headphone jack in an Xbox One controller.
    Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen 
  5. Remove the two screws holding the upper circuit board down.

  6. Carefully lift the upper circuit board and examine the headphone jack.

    The headphone jack in an Xbox One controller.
     Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
  7. If the metal prongs on the headphone jack component are flattened, you can try carefully prying them out with a small implement like a toothpick.

    The headphone jack component from an Xbox One controller with tweezers.
    Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

    If the prongs are broken, then you need to replace the headphone jack component.

  8. Replace the headphone jack, secure the upper circuit board, and check to see if the headphone jack is still loose.

    Make sure you properly seat the connector between the upper and lower circuit boards, and that the upper circuit board is securely fastened. Since pressure between the circuit boards holds the headphone jack in place, any additional space between the boards will prevent your headset from working.

  9. If the headphone jack still doesn't work, even with a new headphone jack component, you'll need to seek professional assistance. Additional troubleshooting and repairs are not possible without specialized tools and expertise.