Q:I have an iPhone 3G. When it was new all music played in stereo. Now it only plays out of one ear phone. I have tried my wife’s ear phones that transmit in stereo on her iPhone, and I have tried my earphones on her iPhone and they play in stereo. Am I missing a setting?
A: Unfortunately, this sounds like a hardware issue. Some cases may interfere with the fit of the headphone connector into the jack, so it would be a good idea to try your headphones in your iPhone without the case to see if that solves the problem. You should also check to ensure that the headphone jack itself is clear of any dust or dirt as this can sometimes affect the connection. Failing any of this it’s quite likely that you will need to have your iPhone serviced.
There is a slight possibility that restoring the iPhone back to factory settings may solve the problem, so that may be worth a try, particularly if you don’t have an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service center nearby. If you’re using automatic sync with iTunes this is a relatively painless process as all of your media content and other data will be stored in iTunes and can be transferred back onto your device following the restore. To initiate a restore, simply connect your iPhone to your computer, select it from the iTunes Devices listing, and click the Restore button that appears on the summary screen.
iTunes will download the latest iOS version and erase your iPhone and restore it to a clean out-of-the-box configuration. Once the restore of the OS has been completed and the iPhone restarts you will be offered an opportunity to restore your data, however it’s best for diagnostic purposes to choose to set the device up as a new iPhone just so you can be certain that the problem isn’t being caused by something in your particular settings of configuration. Once you’ve tested your iPhone in a “clean” configuration you can restore the backup manually simply by right-clicking on the iPhone in your Device list in iTunes and choosing the Restore from Backup option.