Troubleshooting Headphones – Device not showing in Playback Devices

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Headphones not showing up in Playback Devices

A survey conducted in 2017 showed that 87% of all users use headphones to listen to music, while 49% prefer watching a movie with headphones rather than on speakers. According to another survey, 43.5% US citizens listened to music using their smartphones. But what if your phone doesn’t recognize your headphones?

One relatively uncommon yet equally frustrating problem users face is that headphones do not show up in playback devices when connected to smartphones or PCs. Following is a guide to manually troubleshoot your headphones if you’re facing this issue.

Headphones do not Show up in Playback Devices

Before we get into troubleshooting via your device’s software, we recommend you check your headphones, since this is much easier and can give you definite results quickly.

Ensuring the Headphone Jack isn’t Faulty

The first step is to try using another headphone in your phone or computer. If the problem gets fixed, it means the problem is with your headphones. However, don’t lose hope yet! This could also mean that your system is holding a grudge against that specific headset.

Ensuring the Pin isn’t Faulty

You could also try using your own headphones on another device. This can help you determine whether your headphones are at fault or not.

Combined with ensuring that the jack is working fine, you will now know whether it is a software or hardware issue.


After determining that it is simply a software issue, you can begin troubleshooting.

Windows PC

To troubleshoot your headphones on a Windows PC;

  • Plug in or connect your device via Bluetooth
  • Right click on the Volume icon at the bottom right corner
  • Open Playback Devices
  • Right click on any device and check the Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices
  • If you can see your headphones now, right click on them and click on Enable

If you can’t see the device listed or if it isn’t working even now, the problem might be with your device’s driver. You can check the manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers and install them.

If they still don’t work, you might have to change your device, but this is very rare.


  • Plug in or connect your headset via Bluetooth
  • Click on the Volume icon at the top right corner
  • Open Sound Preferences
  • You can also search for Sound in the Finder and open settings
  • Head into the Output tab in the popup that opens
  • Each time you open the list, it gets refreshed.
  • Select your device by double clicking on it. You might have to put in your device’s password to make changes.


  • Go to Settings > Sound & Vibration > Advanced sound settings > Separate app sound >Audio Device
  • Swipe down once to refresh the list
  • Select your audio device and turn it On


  • Swipe up from the bottom or down from the top-right corner for an iPhone X
  • Tap and hold the audio button. This will show you a list of all the connected devices. Each time you open it, the list gets refreshed.
  • Select your headset


Setting the default playback device can help you get rid of the hassle of selecting your TV or favorite headphones out of many every time you want to listen to music. The function also serves to help activate your devices in case of a bug or glitch such as if headphones do not show up in playback devices.


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Hi, I'm Red, the Chief Editor of Red Diamond Audio.