Android Enthusiasts Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for enthusiasts and power users of the Android operating system. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Regardless if I plug in a headset or headphones (without a microphone), I get a headset icon in my notification bar.

I would expect Android to use the builtin microphone in case normal headphones are connected, so I do not have to unplug my phones when someone calls.

Alternatively, is there an app or widget to manually toggle between headphone and headset mode?

I have an HTC Desire with CyanogenMod 7, so I am not sure if it is a problem with CM7 or Android in general.

share|improve this question
FWIW, headphones will display a headset icon in my status bar, too, but I think my microphone is still active. I haven't tried a call recently, but I can still use Voice Search and whatnot with headphones plugged in. – eldarerathis Apr 21 '11 at 19:57
I have CM6.2.1 installed on my Droid and I get the headset icon in the status bar when I plug my phone into my cassette adapter (cassette tape thing with a 1/8" plug coming out) in my car. There's definitely no mic on that piece of equipment. – newuser Apr 21 '11 at 20:41
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can see the details of this at the Android developer documentation, but an app can definitely tell if a wired device plugged into the audio jack has a microphone or not. I will tell you that this information is not always accurate or consistent across devices though, as I have experienced with my own app Hearing Saver. Sometimes different phones send different codes for this particular bit of information, so if you are experiencing difficulties with certain apps not recognizing your headset, I'd get into contact with the developer of that app.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the link. I have made some tests with headphones, headset and an extension cord with builtin microphone and I am now confident that the internal microphone of the handset is only deactivated when a proper headset is plugged (TRRS connector). I will accept your answer because it proves the fact that Android is indeed capable of deciding between headphones and headset. – ischeriad Apr 23 '11 at 8:53

This is a Droid running CM 6.1.2.

enter image description here

There doesn't seem to be any appreciable difference between the headset and headphones other than the wired vs. wireless indicator.

share|improve this answer
Thank you for the screenshots. I have stereo Bluetooth headphones without a microphone and I need to test how they behave. Your answer shows that the icons can not be "trusted", Android should definitely introduce a separate headphones icon. I believe an old Sony Ericsson feature phone I owned could make the distinction so I was irritated. – ischeriad Apr 23 '11 at 9:00

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.