iPhone Only Charges In Laptop Or Car, Not The Wall: The Fix!

Your iPhone charges when it’s plugged into the USB port on your laptop or car, but it doesn’t charge when it’s connected to the wall charger. Huh? You’ve tried different cables and different chargers, but your iPhone won’t charge if it’s plugged into an outlet. In this article, I’ll explain why your iPhone won’t charge when it’s connected to the wall outlet, try to explain why it happened, and explain the workaround to fix this mystifying problem.

If your iPhone won’t charge at all, check out my article called My iPhone Won’t Charge to find the help you’re looking for.

Understanding The Problem

I decided to write this article after two people asked me exactly the same question in the Payette Forward Community. I did some Googling and discovered that a lot of people have experienced this problem, but I haven’t seen any real answers. Here’s how the problem usually presents itself:

“My iPhone doesn’t charge when it’s connected to the wall charger. It only charges when it’s connected to a laptop or my car charger. I’ve tried swapping out cables and wall chargers, but it doesn’t make a difference.”

At first I thought it was an issue with a third-party cable or wall-charger, but that wasn’t it. Both people were using Apple-branded cables and chargers. To make things even more confusing, the same cables and chargers that didn’t work with their iPhones worked perfectly with other iPhones.

This was a tricky problem to solve. I knew there had to be a difference between charging an iPhone in the wall and charging it using a computer, but what was it? The computer, car, and the iPhone wall charger all put out 5V (volts), but later I discovered they weren’t exactly the same.

Electricity For The Electrically-Challenged

I don’t have a high-level understanding of the nature of electricity, but I once read an analogy that helped me begin to grasp the concept of voltage and amperage. Here it is:

Electricity flowing through a wire is like water flowing through a garden hose. The diameter of the hose is analogous to amperage, in that it determines the amount of water or electricity that can flow through the hose at one time. The pressure of the hose is analogous to voltage, in that it determines the pressure of the water or electricity that flows into your device.

Aren’t All 5 Volt Chargers The Same?

The key to solving this problem lies in the understanding that not all 5V chargers are the same. The difference between the chargers isn’t the voltage. It’s the amperage.

The iPhone wall charger, laptops, and iPhone car charger are all 5 volt chargers, but the differentiating factor is amperage. The iPhone wall charger delivers a 5V (volt) charge at 1 amp (1A), which is equivalent to 1000 milliamps (1000mA). Most laptops deliver a 5V charge at 500 milliamps (500mA), half the amperage of the iPhone wall adapter.

Why iPhones Charge In A Car Or Computer, But Not The Wall

Your iPhone can’t handle the amperage of your wall chargers (1 amp+), but it can handle the amperage of your car and laptop chargers (500mA). Based on some quick discussions I’ve had with experts, this may be due to a problem with the power input regulator circuit, or voltage regulator.

iPhones are designed to be compatible with chargers from 500mA to the 2.1A iPad charger. My theory is that the circuit inside of your iPhone that differentiates between amperages has been damaged, so your iPhone only accepts the lowest possible amount. This, however, is only a theory.

Can An iPad Charger Harm My iPhone?

No. iPhones are designed to handle higher amperages than the 500mA or 1A put out by the wall charger. Apple’s 12V iPad charger puts out 2.1 amps and is fully compatible with every iPhone according to Apple’s official specifications.

Since amperage determines the amount of electricity flowing through the wire, the higher the amperage, the faster your device charges. iPads will charge using an iPhone charger, but they’ll charge twice as fast if you use the higher-amperage iPad charger. However, some experts say that charging lithium-polymer batteries at higher amperages can shorten their overall lifespan.

How Do I Fix An iPhone That Won’t Charge When Plugged Into The Wall?

Unfortunately, once the power input regulator circuit is damaged on an iPhone, there’s nothing you can do at home to fix the problem. But you’re not totally out of luck.

Even though the 1A Apple wall charger won’t work, you can buy a 500ma wall charger on Amazon that puts out an amperage your iPhone can accept. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a lot better than replacing your entire iPhone.

A word of warning: I haven’t personally tested the Amazon 500ma chargers with an iPhone in this scenario, simply because I don’t have one with this problem. I’m not 100% sure a 500mA wall charger will work, but I think it’s worth a try for the $5. It you try it, please let me know how it works out!

If you’re under warranty, a trip to the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store may be in order.

iPhone & Wall: Together Again

We’ve covered a lot in this article, and by now, you know that you can charge your iPhone in the wall, as long as you use a 500mA charger. If you’d like to learn more about the insides of the iPhone charger, this very in-depth article features a full tear-down of your iPhone charger. There’s a lot of technology packed into that little plug!

I’ve heard from some people who say their battery life seems to have gotten worse since they first noticed this problem. If you’re struggling with that too, my article about how to save iPhone battery life can help a lot.

I’d like to hear your experiences with charging your iPhone in the wall, especially if you’ve dealt with this problem. If you decided to pick up a 500mA charger on Amazon, please let me know if it works for you! This is a common problem, and your experience can help a lot of frustrated people.

Thanks for reading, and remember to pay it forward,
David P.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Sarah
2 months ago

This article was so helpful. I didn’t understand why I was having this problem. I’ll be sure to comment if I purchase the lower charger from Amazon.

David's new best friend
3 months ago
  • iPhone 5s
  • Battery and screen replaced within last year
  • Charges by computer, not wall/plug

Hard reset while plugged in was solution! Strange.

Thank you!

Kirsten
4 months ago

Hi
I ordered the wall charger you suggested. My phone is currently only charging with this 5v/5v power pod thing. Took it to a shop he said it might be the pmu. He said he tried changing the port and the battery.
I’ll try my travel plug.

mary kelsey
1 year ago

If you have a power adapter like the one you use in Europe that also works. Saved me from buying a new charger.

Anonymous
2 years ago

both my ipad and iphone have expereinced this problem within a day of returning from USA where they were being used and charged on a daily basis for a month. Could the different electrocity supplies have affected them?

Anonymous
2 years ago

Im going to give this a try. Just ordered the 500mA charger. My iPhone 7 Plus charged fine yesterday and in the car last night. And then when I brought it in the house it wouldnt charge and I couldnt even do a reset bc it was too dead to start back up again. This morning I tried it in the car again, after trying several cords cubes outlets and combos of all three to no avail. Read your article and discovered that when I plug into laptop it charges! Having the 500mA charger sent with one day shipping bc… Read more »

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank you so much! The 500ma charger works!

However since my iPhone 6 Plus is unable to charge from my computer, I can no longer back up my data, what should I do??

victor
9 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Amazon 500ma wall charger WORKS i tried it.

carol
5 months ago
Reply to  victor

hi would you mind providing the link of the charger you bought as quite a few on amazon wasn’t sure which one to buy. Many Thanks

Liam Shotwell
5 months ago
Reply to  carol

Here is an adapter you might find helpful.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Thanks i’ll give it a try

Anonymous
2 years ago

I have a iPhone 7, which cannot be charged on wall plug, and can only be charged on computer USB ports, both 2.0 (0.5A) and 3.0 (0.9A). On THIS iPhone 7, It appears that the charging starts with computer find the USB device connected, i.e. the two data and data- has signal. On regular wall adapter USB outlet, pin 1 is 5V, pin 4 is ground, pin 2, pin 3 are open. But on computer USB outlet, pin 2 and pin 3 have signal to transfer data. I have a special exposed 4 pin USB connector with lightening cable and… Read more »

Anonymous
3 years ago

I ran across the solution by mistake. My daughter gave me her old ipod Nano(?). She said she hadn’t used it in about 4 years. I downloaded music on it-no problem. I used it 2 times. It died on me and I realized the battery was out. I plugged it into the wall overnight and woke up to an empty battery. I didn’t remember my daughter plugging it into the wall. Clearly it worked fine when it was plugged into the computer for downloading music so well . . . I plugged it into my computer and now I have… Read more »

Anonymous
3 years ago

buying 500 ma charger did NOT WORK,

Anonymous
3 years ago

no they (5oo ma) dont wor k, this whole post is garbage

Anonymous
3 years ago

This suspiciously began just after the last os upgrade. I guess iPhone thinks I should shell our for a new one?

Anonymous
3 years ago

I hope you receive this. I took your advice as my phone would only charge in my car. I ordered the 50ma from Amazon and just received
the item. THANK YOU! It works!!

Anonymous
3 years ago

my iphone 5s will only charhe with an official; iphone cable from a specific powerbank. Not the wall, paltop, pc or any other power banks. I have tried every charger and plug but nothing works. If its out of battery i can put into the wall charger and it will charge enough to switch on, then stops charging. Any ideas?

Anonymous
3 years ago

Thank you! You solved my problem! I bought a 500ma charger on Amazon and no more issues. Amazing!

Anonymous
3 years ago

how can I tell which 500ma charger to purchase?

Anonymous
3 years ago

My iPhone 5SE just started having this problem. I found it will charge using higher output current adapters like the Samsung which is [email protected] and also off a laptop (slowly) since it is just standard USB protocol limited to 100mA I think.

Anonymous
3 years ago

I had this same problem with my iPhone 5s. A couple things that worked for me until I could get the 500mA charger. It charges if it’s off. It charges if I plug it in, turn it off and turn it back on. I haven’t turned my phone on and off this much since I had a old flip phone that updated only when turning it off and on again.

Anonymous
3 years ago

Thanks for this information – I think you answered my problem with the iphone charger plug.. I noticed sometimes the charger would get very hot as well as the phone, so I switched to different outlets in my house. This worked for a while but didn’t last. Your analysis was very helpful. I will try your suggestion about the 500 ma charger.

Anonymous
3 years ago

Tried all the fixes I could find,cord/reset etc. nothing worked. Turned out to be the plug, not the cord or phone. Google watt/amp converter. Compared apple:watt to $5 plug:amp. Result: fast wall charge…finally.

Anonymous
4 years ago

My charger will work on the wall and car but not on my laptop. Help?

Anonymous
4 years ago

My phone won’t charge in the wall outlets in my apartment (or it will but very slowly. Phone will have to be off to get any effective charge/time). I went home to my mom’s for the weekend and the same adaptor and wire worked in the outlets at her place. What does this mean with the wall outlets at my apartment?

Anonymous
4 years ago

This is exactly my issue. My iPhone 6 will only charge off my computer. I did take it in to an Apple store and my phone was checked out. The guy did a reset but there was still an issue with my battery. I was told that I needed a new battery at a cost of $120. Lucky for me, my contract was up with my carrier and I was able to get a new phone for $0. I’m just crossing my fingers that I did not make a big mistake because I went with a Samsung galaxy S7 after… Read more »

Anonymous
4 years ago

I tested 2 batteries on the weekend and both of them seemed ti be “dead.” After using one of your methods I was able to restore them both to 100% working batteries. Thanks, you just saved me about$ 180! 🙂

Anonymous
4 years ago

I have the same problem now, would the issue be resolved if i change the charging port?

Anonymous
4 years ago

I cleaned out the charger port with a toothpick, lots of lint had built up, then rebooted. It fixed the problem. May want to try this before buying new charger.

Anonymous
4 years ago

Thank you so much, we couldn’t figure out the problem with my daughters Iphone 5c. This 5v 500 ma charger fised the problem.

ShayRae
4 years ago

Ok well here’s a new one for you. I have a car charger (non OEM) and a separate wall charger (OEM). My phone charges with both chargers, but if I take my car charger cord and plug it into a computer or wall, my phone won’t charge. Why is this?

Joseph Soltero
4 years ago

A hard reset while the iPhone was connected to the wall fixed this issue for me as well. Thanks to all of you who suggested it!

George Glenn
4 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Soltero

do you have to remove the sim card?

Daver
4 years ago

I have exactly this issue on my 5s – only charges from car & laptop. Resets haven’t worked. I’m fairly familiar with the internals having replaced battery and screen for other reasons some time back. My question is about a hardware fix: can I swap out the Lightning connector assy to fix this charging issue, or would it likely require a new main board?

Emily Park
4 years ago

fixed the problem by doing a hard reset while having it plugged into a wall charger

John Sakas
4 years ago

Okay, go figure. I just got home from a trip, and was planning to go to the ATT store to get a new phone. I tried the hard reset one more time (I misspoke below calling it a soft reset) and no luck. I backed up my phone while plugged into the laptop in preparation for loading up the new phone. And just now, i said what the heck I’ll plug into the wall and try the hard rest one more time as I saw Dustin’s post. I plug it into the wall, and before doing the reset it started… Read more »

Dustin Dahm
4 years ago

Fixed this issue by doing a hard reset on the phone while connected to the wall charger. Hold the home button and the sleep/wake button down simultaneously for 15 seconds.

John Sakas
4 years ago

Hi, this occurred to me this past Sunday, 7/31/2016. I tried the soft reset multiple times and did not work. I also ordered the suggested Amazon charger, and as a previous member said, that did not work either. I went to a certified Apple store and none of the wall chargers would work except a proprietary one that was equivalent to the small “block” Apple charger. What was also strange is that my phone would charge when they plugged it into a Mophie portable charger that was the 12 volt, 2.1 amp. They suggested a factory reset, so I backed… Read more »

Cheng Nie
4 years ago

Apple online chat support solved my problem (iphone 6s 64G).

1. Backup your phone in case it caused any problem in the process. I backed up to my iCloud before I continued.
2. Connect your phone with the Apple original adapter and cable to the wall.
3. Press both the power and home buttons for 10 seconds.

The phone restarted and the charging on wall worked after the restarting.

Kristian
4 years ago

Hey guys. I have read everything here and what worked for me was to get rid of alot of dust in the charger hole in the phone. There was alot do dust there that made my charger not working. Try that!

Allergic to liars!
4 years ago

Just did a restart, it did the trick.
Thanks Yatin!

yatin arora
4 years ago

Hi David,
Thanks for the hack, The same problem had been bothering me for past two days and Just rebooting my phone was able to fix it. Although for some reason it only worked for me when I plugged into my computer and not even my car charging port along with the wall charger. I still have to try it in my car after rebooting it, I will update my comment if it will work in the car as I use a third party accessory in my car.

Tom
4 years ago

As I mentioned on Facebook, I had the problem with my iPhone 6 charging when connected to my computer of USB plug in car but no commercial charger, including Apple OE worked. I bought the 500mA charger from Amazon – but no luck. Any other ideas?

pm2001_
4 years ago

i have an Iphone 5s that does the complete opposite ! charges when plugged into the wall but not when its plugged into my brand new macbook air or into the car. i tried many different wires and it makes no difference. anything that i can do to fix this issue ?

amir
4 years ago

i have a same problem but i just reset my iPhone by (holding power and home botton for 4 sec) and it did work. now i can charge it with wall charger. thank’s eden scott for sharing your experience. it work’s perfectly. there is no need for 500ma wall charger :D.

Eden Scott
4 years ago

I was experiencing the same problem 2 days ago, I just soft power reset my iphone and it normally charges on the wall. ( hold power and home botton for 4 sec) and turn the phone back on. Try it!

hillaryschuster
4 years ago

I’m going to try ordering the Amazon plug. Have you heard back from anyone if it worked? I’ll let you know.

Trinidy
5 years ago

Okay, I somewhat relate to this… Like, I have a third party charger which is the one that won’t charge then I have the apple one. The apple one work fine with the same adapter I was using. And the third party charger only works in cars/laptops in my case even my couch… I don’t understand. It’s my iPhone 5

Saeed
5 years ago

My iPhone 5s doesn’t read my SIM card