iPhone Won’t Charge? Here’s Why iPhone Isn’t Charging & How to Fix It

Feb 20, 2016 - 72 Comments

iPhone not charging? Here is how to fix it

Your iPhone is plugged in, but it’s not charging. Why won’t the iPhone charge? Is the iPhone broken? Is it time to freak out? Probably not, in fact there are some really common reasons an iPhone won’t charge, and most of the time it has nothing to do with the iPhone itself (unless it was damaged, but more on that in a moment).

How to Check if iPhone is Not Charging

First things first, how do you definitively know if an iPhone is charging the battery or not? When the device is plugged into a power source, look in the status bar for the battery icon. If there is a lightning bolt next to the battery icon, the iPhone is charging.

iPhone battery charging indicator

If the iPhone is plugged in and it’s not charging the battery whatsoever, and there is no lightning bolt next to the battery icon, read on for the likely reasons and how to fix it.

1: Check the iPhone Charging Port for Debris, Lint, Obstructions

One of the primary reasons an iPhone won’t charge is remarkably simple; the port on the iPhone is clogged with dust, debris, pocket lint, or some other obstruction. Something quite small can easily prevent a charging cable from fitting properly into the iPhone, so the very first thing you should do is check the charging port on the iPhone and look for any crud or build-up in there. See some lint or some other wad of gremlin or crud? Get it out of there, preferably with something like a Q-Tip, toothpick, or a dry toothbrush. If you have a can of air, blowing it in there can help too.

Check the port if iPhone is not charging

Once the charging port is cleared out, try charging it again. Seriously, junk in the port is common (that applies for Macs with MagSafe too) and it can prevent a device from syncing, charging, or getting any power at all. It probably works now, right? If not, keep reading.

1B: Wait, Check the Cables Plug End too!

Before moving beyond this one, be sure to check the plug end of the cable as well, sometimes it can accrue stuff on it that would prevent the connection from forming as well. Thanks to several commenters who pointed this out as a possible reason why a cable wouldn’t charge properly.

2: Change the Wall Outlet or USB Port Plugged Into

The next most common reason an iPhone won’t charge is because of where it’s actually plugged into. Sometimes the wall outlet itself isn’t working or the light switch is turned off, so if you’re using a wall charger then change the outlet.

iPhone wall charger

If you’re charging the iPhone from a USB cable connected to a computer, sometimes the USB port on the computer itself is the problem. Try another USB port on the computer, PC or Mac doesn’t matter, that often fixes the issue too.

Oh, and another perk to using a wall outlet is that it usually charges the iPhone faster too. Sweet.

3: Check the USB Cable for Damage

Damage to the USB charging cable will prevent an iPhone from charging. This can be somewhat obvious in some situations, and if the cable is fraying or torn, well, there’s your problem. If your cable is damaged, you need a new USB cable to charge the iPhone, it’s that simple. Fortunately, you can get cheap Amazon Lightning USB cables that are certified and they work great and are quite durable.

iPhone USB charging cable

* Another potential USB cable related issue that can make an iPhone not charge the battery are cheap knock-off cables that are low quality. You’ll usually encounter an error that the cable is not certified on the iPhone (or iPad) itself if this is what is causing the charging issue.

4: Reboot the iPhone

Rarely needed, but sometimes a simple reboot can resolve a software issue that basically refuses to acknowledge the device is charging. This is somewhat rare, but it can happen. So if you’ve tried all of the above and the iPhone battery is still not charging at all, force reboot the iPhone by holding down the Power button and Home button until you see the ο£Ώ Apple logo, it may help.

5: The iPhone Was Damaged and Won’t Charge

If the iPhone has been severely damaged, it often won’t charge. Usually a simple screen crack won’t make a difference, but if the iPhone was run over by a dozen cars or fell out of a 50 story window, it’s probably toast and won’t charge because the hardware is damaged. Another very common reason for charging and power problems is water contact, or dropping an iPhone into liquid and not drying it out properly. If the iPhone has sustained excessive water damage and was not dried out properly and sufficiently, the iPhone battery is often destroyed, and other electrical components in the iPhone can also be damaged as well, which will completely prevent the iPhone from charging. Fortunately this is usually pretty easy to determine, because if your iPhone took a deep swim and it’s now not charging the battery, that’s almost certainly the reason why. Try drying it out for 72 hours or so in silica or rice, it could revive it, otherwise you may just need a new iPhone or hardware component to fix the problem. Often if an iPhone is physically damaged, either by blunt force or by liquid, the iPhone won’t even turn on or respond to normal fixes for that like leaving it plugged in for a while let alone charge when connected to a power source. If the iPhone is broken, well, you’ll need to take it in for service, or get a new one.

a broken iPhone often will not charge due to damage

Those are the most common reasons an iPhone won’t charge when connected to a power source, so if the battery isn’t moving at all, you don’t see a charging indicator, and device isn’t working, try the above steps before going further. If you still encounter charging and power issues, it’s likely time to have an Apple Store or certified provider take a look at it.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Troubleshooting

72 Comments

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  1. Wharf Xanadu says:

    Yup Apple ports are magnets for lint. Have this happen on MagSafe and iPhone regularly. Why doesn’t iPhone use MagSafe by the way? It’s far superior to anything else. Apple ditching it with MacBook is dumb. Everything should be MagSafe. iPhone and iPad will charge great if connection is there. Magnets are way to go.

    • Jacko Rom says:

      My iPhone 6 was not charging, I thought it might be the cable, but after reading about cleaning the charging port on the phone i did exactly that using a tooth pick, and i was surprised how much lint there was inside the port. So………did that fixed the problem, Yes it did my phone is charging again. A very simple fix. :-)

    • mitch says:

      thankyou so much I have iPhone 6 I cleaned it out it was full of sh*t still didn’t work so I rebooted it and wow we are up and rocking thanks again :)

  2. Wharf Xanadu says:

    Ch β„… your ports and get s new lightning cable it docked the problem the most of time. Here I ma typing on iPhone and I can tell you that autocorrect is awful as ever but at least it’s charging the iPhone battery hahahaha has yes the burritos is at the best

  3. Gregory says:

    I’ve experienced this problem three times on my iPhone 6s+. Reboots fixed it every time.

  4. MAlin Ek says:

    Couldnot believe how much lint there was …
    found out the “bottom” of the port was white, not grey …
    :-)
    Malin

    • LeBron James says:

      Same dude. I’ve had trouble charging my phone for about six months now. I just cleaned it and surprisingly found at least an inch of dust in the charging port. Now it works perfectly.

  5. jmarkuna says:

    When talking about iphone problems wouldn’t it be a good idea to identify the iphone model and IOS versions ?

    • broowna says:

      It applies to every iPhone ever made, sometimes they don’t charge because of hardware and rarely because of software. Every iPhone has a port that can get clogged up with lint, and what does software have to do with it?

  6. kazuba says:

    Clean off the lightning cable itself too it can get goo and hair on it which prevents a connection as it stuffs deep into the port hole

  7. direlemming says:

    An USB condom does wonders. I’m using http://www.portablepowersupplies.co.uk/portapow-fast-charge-data-block-usb-adaptor/ and now even dinky cables work reliably.

  8. Suzanne says:

    I had a frayed charging cord when it stopped charging so I replaced the cord. Still no charging. Brought it to Apple store. They found no problem with charging but motherboard was fried. Too bad, so sad. The rumour that say that Apple supports the frayed power corees is not true. I replaced my device.

  9. Rana says:

    My phone was not charging last week, and it was panic time. Reason was using a cheap charger that damaged the charger board by I guess a extra electricity shot … And a 100 $… Was so grateful it was not all damaged

  10. Al says:

    All good advice!

  11. Victor says:

    Funny thing about my iPhone 4 is it only charges when turned off dnt know why.when it’s on it doesn’t charge at allπŸ€”

  12. Stacg says:

    My iPhone 5c won’t charge even though I cleaned it and I really need to use my phone

  13. Janet Jenkins says:

    My iPhone 5 will not charge.

  14. jeff says:

    iphone 6 won’t charge and battery dies fast after 9.3.2 update unless phone is turned off then back on. C’mon crapple!!!!! Quit the update crap unless it works and get rid of the damn pop ups telling me to update!!!!

  15. Tim says:

    Battery completely dead so can’t reboot. Cleaned out the charging port. No luck. Any other advice?

    • Paul says:

      Plug it in and leave it charging for a while if the battery is completely run out.

      Try a different outlet and different cable if it’s not working after a while.

      If the iPhone had water damage it may be toast.

  16. meng says:

    my iphone 5s only charges on wall charger. when i try to charge it using powebank/laptop, my iphone shows that it is connected but the percentage stays. how can i fix my problem?

  17. AB says:

    I cleaned out my port and it works!!! I cleaned out my port after the fact that powered of my phone. Sometimes you just need to do both no worries

  18. AB says:

    My I phone is now charging I had 20% left when I went to get my hair done, and when I got home it was 7% I found this page and now my iPhone 5s is charging. I didn’t just clean out my port and wipe my USB and switch outlets, I powered off my phone to take precocion now my phone is charging fine!!!!πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

  19. Abdul says:

    I just had charging problem This morning, after cleaning the port my iPhone 6plus is charging perfectly
    Thanks for the hint :)

  20. paige says:

    my iphone 5s won’t charge and I have tried cleaning the charging port and it didn’t work i tried rebooting it and it still won’t take charge.

  21. jose says:

    my phone is dead and i plug it in an it says that its charging but it wont turn on like it ussually does any one help ASAP

  22. Mad Osker says:

    Replaced battery that would drain very fast with new on from ifixit. New battery powered up phone and worked fine but would not charge. Checked all the obvious but put old battery back in and all is fine, just drains fast thus the new battery. Ifixit sent a replacement but same issue, works, wont charge. Living with old battery for now.

  23. Millibobs says:

    The reboot worked! I was getting a bit pissed off with the constant charger connection issue but the little bugger is now sat charging on my desk and the stress has lifted. Very grateful for the advice and so glad I found this site. Best wishes :)

  24. BC303 says:

    It’s not always because of dust. Software has a lot to do with it believe it or not because when you plug it in, the electrical current doesn’t go straight to the battery. It goes to a processor basically that decides whether to charge the battery or not, the same one that prevents overcharging. This can malfunction sometimes and a re-boot or two should help. Other than that, yeah lint.

  25. Debbie says:

    Restart phone it works. Thank you

  26. Dee says:

    My iphone 5s won’t charge past 4% any idea? T.Y

  27. Rich says:

    Yes!! For me it was both. First a massive piece of pocket cheese. Was so happy to see it on the end of the toothpick…. Plugged it in with a big smile and sigh of relief, and…. Nothing. Continued to read on about the reset and that was the finishing touch.
    Thanks again
    Rich

  28. Joe says:

    GREAT ! Finally, it was just A LOT of dust! Thx m8

  29. Brooke says:

    This was very helpful who ever came up with this thank you so much u just saved me

  30. Kris says:

    Massive piece of lint came out when I cleaned it and it started charging-thank you!!!

  31. Adi says:

    I can’t figure it out. I have an IP6. Saturday I updated the OS to 9.3.2. After a day, I had this “This accessory is not available blahblah” so I couldn’t charge it until it was drained and now dead. Before I took it into a hard reset (power button+home button)then I charged it with my computer there was a battery with a small red charge on it along the black screen and then it disappeared. I tried connecting it again but no success. I did all of those things mentioned. There was no lint but i brushed it with a small stick and also the usb cable. How come? Is it the OS? IC damaged?

  32. mandla says:

    I have tried everything including cleaning it but my iphone 6 S wont charge. When I take it to phone shops they charge it but dont tell me what is the problem, rather say they dont see anything.

  33. Sheridan says:

    i did the reboot and cleaned out my port and heaps of lint came out but its still not working. It says its charging but it wont increase, my phone yesterday went completely flat and i had it on charge for 12 hour and it hasn’t gone up, What could be the problem? i was told it could be a bad battery

  34. ZapD says:

    My iPhone 6+ stops charging every 3 days or so. I don’t even need a hard reboot. A soft reboot and it charges perfectly (I spent hours trying to clean the port until I figured it out). Sometimes it fixes itself with no intervention.

    This is maybe not a big deal, but annoying, especially

    1. For such an expensive piece of equipment

    2. I’ve seen references to this problem over a year old. If it’s a software problem, and an old, known but, why hasn’t Apple fixed it?

    Or am I expecting too much?

  35. PANKAJ says:

    hold home+power button simultaneously for 20 seconds

    it worked

    thank you!

  36. Alahna says:

    They forgot to mention if it isn’t an apple certified charging cable, your phone will block it.

  37. LoLo says:

    How do you clean the port? With what?

  38. maura says:

    I’m using an iPhone 6 and I’ve been charging it normally until this Sunday. I’ve tried everything mentioned in this posts, but I still can’t get it working. what should I do?!

  39. AIDN says:

    THIS WORKS!!!! I dropped my iphone off a stair stepper at the gym and naturally assumed I had damaged the hardware of the phone itself, the phone would only charge when the cord was in a certain way. i used a tiny paperclip and cleaned the port on the phone and BOOOOOOMMMMMMM SAUUUCCCEEEEE!!! SHE FRECKIN WORKS AGAIN!!!!

  40. CATFISHHANDS says:

    Hey thanks! I’m pretty tech savvy, I have two iphones, and one would charge and the other would not. So I cleaned the lint and ayahuasca crumbs out of the charging port – and NOTHING. But I did the hard reboot and all was well again. I would have figured this out on my own – but y’all expedited the process.

    THANKS

  41. Destiny says:

    My iPhone adapter is working it just won’t charge my phone the cord works just fine when I plug it into my computer, yet for some weird reason I plugged a different cord (an android one) into the adaptor and it was working so my phone is only charging with usb this is so ridiculous

  42. Wolde says:

    Just Clean the port.
    I was thinking to change my Iphone 5 having charging difficulties. I cleaned the port; it perfectly work.

  43. Dveryone says:

    Thanks so much, mine was caused by lint.
    Knowledge is power.

  44. ChrisT says:

    I was reaching desperation phase…
    Phone was dead & when I plugged in to charge, the dead batt would light up on screen- but never more than that.

    I followed the lint-removal advice, but there was hardly any dust or lint…
    since I had nothing to lose at this point, I used the ‘toothpick end’ of one of those plastic flosser things to poke/ scrape all around the 3 side edges of the interior of the charge ‘receiver’ on the phone. I noticed a little piece of something became dislodged from the top corner (there’s a teensy place there that’s not flush to the rest of the surface, perfect for junk to get trapped).
    after scraping, i gave the charge socket a good spray with my can of air- and hallelujah!!! i am thrilled.
    thanks so much for this post.

  45. Caitlyn says:

    I looked at the comments and saw some ppl talking about rebooting your iPhone and I have an iPhone 5s and I did as the comments said and rebooted it and it worked thx guys

  46. Pat says:

    I haven’t tried rebooting yet, though it seems like a likely candidate for my issue. What is bizarre in my case is that id I plug my SE into a running computer, it starts charging, but if I plug i in the wall with the original adapter and cable (not even two months old), it won’t charge.

  47. Pat says:

    Yup. Rebbot worked.

  48. Pat says:

    Of course I meant “reboot”.

  49. ken says:

    Cable was frayed so i bought a new genuine one, still had problems this morning after re booting twice.
    Got the toothpick and cleaned out a lot of lint- BINGO!

  50. Margo says:

    Well I’ve been looking around between websites and they have said pretty much the same thing. I have and IPhone 5s. It was purchased about a month ago. It currently stopped working I have tried literally everything to try to get this phone on. I cleaned out with a toothpick and tried different chargers, different outlets, etc. I also tried rebooting it. It is still not working, I have a fight to California tomorrow and am currently wishing I booked a flight a secluded island.

  51. Dave says:

    My phone seemed a little wonky about charging, and then totally stopped charging at all, I have several cables, none worked, cleaned the port and no luck. Powering off and waiting a few minutes and powering back on has fixed the problem…at least for now.

  52. Nishchal Giri says:

    My phone is dead and it wasn’t even charging since 3 days. The power button doesn’t work and the ring/silent button also. Earlier if i had to charge the phone i had to switch it off but the day before it was dead the phone automatically used to wake up and interrupt the charging. what shall i do now? and what might be the reason behind? Please Reply me soon i’m in great trouble.

    • Manish says:

      This sounds like a classic case of your iPhone not charging. Fortunately there is an entire article dedicated to this topic of why the iPhone may not be charging and how to fix it, the guide is here: http://osxdaily.com/2016/02/20/iphone-wont-charge-heres-why-fix/

      This has happened to me before, I plugged it in over night and let it charge and it worked. But, I have had it happen on another iPhone too, where the iPhone would not charge and it was because it suffered water damage. So you must consider these options.

  53. Jack says:

    Non standard cables (“this cable bla bla bla”) causes the lightning port to block everything, even charging. Reboot worked for me.

  54. Amit Basu says:

    Hi,

    While I was working on my Iphone 4S, I suddenly noticed images cracking up and after a while my iPhone went dead.

    To start with I thought my battery had died. I tried charging the phone and the indicator wouldn’t show. Obviously, without power, iPhone wouldn’t boot.

    One guy told me it’s possible that mother board is fried. But he wasn’t sure. The phone is fairly old. Do you feel Apple Store would help fix my issue.

    Thanks for your advice.

  55. Berry Queen says:

    I done all these tips included reboot. Nothing appear. Still can’t charging n on. Need change the charging port??

  56. Stephen says:

    Cleaned my port, tried every outlet in the house, blew a good $40 plus on new chargers and adapters but nothing works. The only thing that I can get to charge my phone is my ps4. All the outlets work with anything else I plug into the wall, except my phone charger. -.- thoughts?

  57. KirkWolf says:

    I was desperate on fixing my iPhone 6 plus (not charging) and thinking that I need to spend and see a technician to fix it. But when I read this tips (rebooting) and tried to fix it by myself. Wow! its Magic! its working.. amazing. Thanks for these useful tips!

  58. Jake says:

    Mine still doesn’t work after everything

  59. Talibah says:

    I cleaned my charger Port and everything. Still no charge I even rebooted it😭 Nothing I have an IPhone5 any help????

  60. Bill H. says:

    I would not recommend this but I used a safety pin to pick out such a great amount of lint is surprised me. Working fine now.

  61. Shawn says:

    Went to repair shop tried his charger and iPhone 6 plus boots up. I go and get a new Apple brand cable and dock from Walmart. Still won’t charge and I think is too dead to try to reboot. Help

  62. Bill says:

    Tried all of the above and finally tried the re-boot, success! Thanks you save me from and expensive purchase or a long journey and wait at the Genius Bar.

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