My iPhone Won’t Charge! Here’s The Real Fix.

When an iPhone won’t charge, it’s a big deal. I’m a former Apple employee, and during my time in the Apple Store, fixing iPhone charging problems was a big part of my daily work. The good news is that the majority of iPhone charging problems can be fixed at home. In this article, I’ll show you how to fix an iPhone that won’t charge, step-by-step.

Know This Before You Begin

One of the most common questions Apple techs receive when an iPhone won’t charge is this: “If my iPhone won’t charge, do I need a new battery?”

In spite of what you’ll read on many websites, the answer to this question is no! There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to write this article.

As a former Apple tech with experience working with hundreds of iPhones that wouldn’t charge, I can tell you that replacing a battery is the absolute wrong thing to do.

The truth is that most of the time, it’s your iPhone’s software — not hardware — that’s preventing your iPhone from charging. If your iPhone won’t charge, 99% of the time, replacing the battery will have zero effect!

iPhone software decides when to charge your iPhone

And, if there is a hardware problem, it’s much more likely that the issue is with the charging port itself — but we’re not there yet.

If you’d rather watch than read, our YouTube video will walk you through the fixes.

iphone wont charge fix youtube thumbnail

Wireless Charging: A Temporary Fix

While you work on fixing your iPhone, you may still be able to charge it wirelessly. Every iPhone since the iPhone 8 supports wireless charging with Qi-certified chargers. Place your iPhone on the center of a Qi wireless charger and see if starts charging.

If it does — that’s great! However, we still need to address the problem preventing your iPhone from charging with a wired connection.

If your iPhone won’t charge wirelessly either, follow the step-by-step guide below, or check out our other article on how to fix wireless charging problems.

How To Fix An iPhone That Won’t Charge

1. Hard Reset Your iPhone

Sometimes the solution is as simple as hard resetting your iPhone. That’s the first thing an Apple tech would do in the Apple Store, and it’s easy to do at home. Here’s how:

How To Hard Reset Your iPhone

Phone How To Hard Reset
iPhone 6S, SE, and older models Press and hold the power button and the Home button together until the Apple logo appears on the screen, and then let go.
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Press and hold the power button and the volume down button together until the Apple logo appears on the screen, and then let go.
iPhone 8 & Newer There are three steps: 1. Quickly press and release the volume up button. 2. Quickly press and release the volume down button. 3. Press and hold the power button (called the “side button” on iPhones with Face ID) until the Apple logo appears on the display, and then let go.

Apple tech tip: The #1 mistake people make while trying to hard reset their iPhone is that they don’t hold the buttons down for long enough. On iPhone 8 or newer, however, make sure you are pressing the first two buttons very quickly and holding the power button down for a long time. Sometimes the process can take 20 seconds or more!

Hard Reset iPhone

If that doesn’t work, don’t worry! We’ll dive into the hardware fixes in the next step.

2. Check Your Lightning Cable For Damage

Take a very close look at both ends of the USB cable you use to charge your iPhone. Apple’s lightning cables are prone to fraying, especially at the end that connects to your iPhone. If you see visible signs of wear, it might be time for a new cable.Lightning cable damage

How can I tell whether my lightning cable is the reason why my iPhone won’t charge?

If there is no visible damage to the outside of the cable, try plugging your iPhone into a USB port on your computer to charge instead of using the wall adapter that came with your iPhone. If you already charge your iPhone using your computer, try using the wall adapter. If it works in one place and not the other, your cable isn’t the issue.

This might seem obvious, but sometimes the best way to determine whether you have a “bad cable” is to try charging your iPhone using a friend’s cable. If your iPhone suddenly springs back to life after you plug it in, you’ve identified the reason why your iPhone won’t charge — a faulty cable.

Don’t forget about your iPhone’s warranty!

If your iPhone is still under warranty, the USB cable (and everything else in the iPhone box) is covered! Apple will replace your lightning cable for free, as long as it’s in decent shape.

You can set up a return on Apple’s support website or call your local Apple Store to make an appointment with the Genius Bar. If you decide to go to the Apple Store, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment at the Genius Bar before you go in. That way, you won’t have to wait in line — at least not for long.

3rd-party cables can charge iPhone charging problems

One of the most common reasons why an iPhone won’t charge comes from low-quality, third-party iPhone charging cables that people buy in gas stations. Yes, Apple cables are expensive, but in my experience, those $5 knockoffs never hold up like the real thing. There are good ones out there — you just have to know which ones to choose.

If you’re looking for a high-quality replacement iPhone charging cable that’s more durable than Apple’s, check out our favorites on Amazon. These aren’t cheap gas station cables that are going to break in a week. I love the 6-foot Lightning cable because it’s long enough for me to be able to use my iPhone in bed.

The important thing to look for is a Made For iPhone (MFi) label on the box. MFi is essentially Apple’s seal of approval — it’s an accessory that meets Apple’s software and hardware requirements.

Made for iPhone MFi-certified logo

If you plug a non-MFi charging cable into your iPhone, you may see a message that says, “This accessory may not be supported.”

this accessory may not be supported by iphone

3. Try A Different iPhone Charger

Do you charge your iPhone by plugging it into the wall, using a car charger, in a speaker dock, in your laptop, or some other way? There are a lot of different ways to charge an iPhone.

Remember that it’s your iPhone software that says ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to charging when your iPhone connects to an accessory. If the software detects power fluctuations, it will prevent your iPhone from charging as a protective measure.Try plugging iPhone into a different outlet

How can I tell whether my charger is the reason why my iPhone won’t charge?

We’ll do the same thing we did when we inspected your Lightning cable. The simplest way to find out whether your charger is bad is to try another one. Make sure you try more than one because chargers can be very finicky.

If your iPhone won’t charge with the wall adapter, try plugging it into a USB port on your computer. If it won’t charge in the computer, try plugging it into the wall — or try a different USB port on the computer. If your iPhone charges with one adapter and not the other, then your charger is the problem.

There are high-quality fast chargers out there, but you have to be careful

If you need a new charger, check out the chargers we recommend using the same link as above (for the cable). The maximum Apple-approved amperage for iPhone chargers is 2.1 amps. Unlike many third-party chargers that can damage your iPhone, these ones will charge your iPhone quickly and safely.

(The iPad charger is 2.1A and Apple says it’s OK for iPhones.)

Tip: If you’re trying to charge using an Apple keyboard or USB hub, try plugging your iPhone directly into one of your computer’s USB ports. All the devices plugged into USB hubs (and keyboards) share a limited supply of power. I have personally seen iPhone charging problems occur because there wasn’t enough power to go around.

4. Brush The Gunk Out Of Your iPhone’s Charging Port

Use a flashlight and take a close look at the charging port in the bottom of your iPhone. If you see any debris or gunk in there, it might be preventing the lightning cable from making a solid connection to your iPhone. There are lots of connectors down there (the lightning cable has 9), and if the wrong one is blocked off, your iPhone won’t charge at all.

If you find lint, gunk, or other debris in the charging port of your iPhone, it’s time to brush it out. You need something that won’t conduct an electric charge or damage the electronics in the bottom of your iPhone. Here’s the trick:Use toothbrush to brush out iPhone lightning port

Grab a toothbrush (one you’ve never used before) and gently brush out your iPhone’s charging port. When I was at Apple, we used fancy anti-static brushes to do this (which you can get on Amazon for next to nothing), but toothbrushes work just as well.

Dealing with liquid damage

One of the most common reasons why an iPhone won’t charge is liquid damage. Liquid damage can short out the connections in the charging port of your iPhone cause all sorts of problems with your iPhone. Even if you’ve dried out the port and brushed out the gunk, sometimes the damage has already been done.

5. Put Your iPhone Into DFU Mode And Restore

Even if your iPhone won’t charge, a DFU restore may still work! You’ve eliminated the possibility of a simple software problem and taken a look at your USB cable, charger, and the iPhone itself, so it’s time for a last-ditch effort — the DFU restore.

A DFU restore is a special kind of restore (when you restore your iPhone, you erase everything on it and restore it to factory settings) that can solve severe software issues — if they exist.DFU restore your iPhone

Check out my article about how to DFU restore an iPhone to learn how to put your iPhone into DFU mode, and cross your fingers before you try. When I worked for Apple, this is the first thing I’d try, even when the phone appeared to be damaged. There’s a small chance that a DFU restore will bring a non-functional iPhone back to life.

If it doesn’t work, come back here to learn about fixing a hardware problem.

6. Repair Your iPhone

If you go to an Apple Store to repair your iPhone and there has been liquid or physical damage to phone, the only option they can offer is to replace your entire iPhone. If you don’t have AppleCare+, this can get expensive, fast.

If you had pictures, videos, or other personal information on your iPhone and your iPhone won’t charge, Apple will say they’re gone forever. Get in touch with an Apple representative and see what they can do. If all they can do is replace your iPhone, you may want to consider visiting a local mom and pop repair shop.

iPhone Charging Again!

I hope your iPhone has sprung back to life and you’re on your way back to a full charge. I’d love to hear from you about your experiences fixing the iPhone charging problem, and I’m here to help along the way.

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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Hayden Rasberry
8 years ago

Thanks! Very helpful and solved my problem

Vongsith Indavong
8 years ago

iPhone 5 not Charge Anybody know how to fix an iPhone 5 that not charging? I tried to fix my iPhone 5 because it was off automatically and could not turn on by power switch. when I plug in a charger it just pop up the light and logo and gone for several times. then I replaced the new battery and plug in charger but it still happens the same. ( Still could not turn on by power switch) then I remove battery and plug in the charger again without battery inside then I can see that the light and… Read more »

Motaz Barakat
8 years ago

hello ….. I was in a journey by card and i used the car charger , to be serious the charger is fake and cheap , after a while around 30 min. of charging the charger was exploded i took my iphone it was charged around to 90% after 5 min, i looked to my iphone the battery rate decreased to 60% ! and after 5 min to 40% ! >>> i tryed to charge with another cable in another source in a diffirent accessory and cables and still does not charge … it appears some times MSG ((the cable… Read more »

Abby Green
8 years ago

I accidentally dropped my iPhone 6 in the sink with the water running. I got it out in time to save it and everything was working fine. It was charging and then the power in my house went out and no that it is back on my phone won’t charge. I tried resetting it but no luck. Is there any chance my phone can be saved?

Mara Trudgen
8 years ago

I have an iphone 5s. I have had problems recently with it keeping it’s charge. Tonight, I turned my phone off while it was charging and now I can’t get it to turn back on. I keep seeing the battery icon signifying that it is charging. I have left it for multiple hours and it still won’t turn itself back on. I have tried to get it to restore but the only icon I continue to see is the battery icon, no matter how long I hold home and lock screen keys. Any suggestions?

Whit Porter
8 years ago

Cleaning the port worked for me. Thanks!

8 years ago

I have an issue not involving charging
But I purchase an iphone 5 and the owner removed it from her icloud account ,but the iphone 5 is asking for a SIM CARD with no lock pin ? Can someone please tell me. My original sim card wont work.

8 years ago

I went to apple store with my original charging cable they cleaned the charging port in iPhone and gave me new charging cable without charge great costumer service (all without an appointment done within 15 minutes)

8 years ago

My iPhone 5c won’t charge I have charged loads of different wires nothing seems to work?

8 years ago

My phone wasn’t charging properly, so I tried out a few things I was reading in this post. Remind you it was a long 3 months of constantly trying to find ways to charge my phone, but I tried the toothbrush with windex trick and it worked. Thanks whoever posted that.

Basharat Gani
8 years ago

hi, I’m having difficulty to charge my iPhone 6plus last night I try to put my phone charging but didn’t charge till morning even battery drained out completely by morning, I bought new charging cable to ensure not have any issue in cable, but again im unable to charge my phone once connecting with charging showing charging icon but cant get started. please advice.

8 years ago

I have had this problem with my 2.5 year old iPhone 5. I cleaned some lint out the Lightning port on the phone and that helped a little, but it would still charge inconsistently when plugged in, with a wide variety of cables and power sources (work, car, house, computer, etc). Last night I stayed up until 3am swapping out the lightning connecter thinking that would fix the issue. It was quite a pain. But it is still having the same issue, even with a brand new part! What else could be causing this problem?

8 years ago

Ive read this article, tried the solutions with no luck. Maybe some one has some advice. I found an iphone 6 at my house a couple months ago in a drawer in my table I never use. I have no idea how long it could have been there or who it belongs to. I plugged it in and it turned on just fine at the time, but it had no service. I kept waiting for someone to come and ask for their phone and no one has. Ive been asking everyone I know whose been over if they have lost… Read more »

Hafizah Ibrahim
8 years ago

my phone wont charge…i miss my phone terribly..:(.. it just happened died suddenly when the battery is 15% left..i’ve tried to use different cable but it doesnt work as well.tears….

Ann Gore
8 years ago

Thanks all for the info. My Iphone5 wouldn’t charge…so I cleaned both metal ends of the charging cable with Windex (lightly sprayed on a paper towel) and now IT’S WORKING!

David Payette
8 years ago
Reply to  Ann Gore

Way to go! Keep me in mind and share the article with your friends when they need help. 🙂

All the best,
David P.

8 years ago

Hi, I am having a lot of trouble with my 5s, it charges, but only to 3% or less, plus it will not let me charge it again until it has fully died. I have been having this problem for a day. I have tried different adapters including my computer, I don’t have any other cables besides my $20 Modal light-up cable which seems to be fine. I think it might be a storge issue, but no matter what I delete my phone will not charge.

8 years ago
Reply to  Raneen

Same here it turns on then doesnt charge after like 4% and then it dies

8 years ago

I have an iPhone 5s that won’t charge with apple made lightning cables. It works with my Rocketfish charger (Best Buy brand), but it won’t work with Apple products anymore. I’ve cleaned it with a toothbrush and all the debris is out, but it still only works with the Rocketfish charger. Once in a blue moon it will work with an apple charger but most of the time it says “This cable is not supported by apple” or something of that nature. And it’s not the cables because it works perfectly with my 5th genereation iPod

8 years ago

brother mine, i have an iphone 4s. it shows the symbol that it is charging but it doesn’t starts. i had kept it for around 1.5 hour and by that time it should have started by itself. i have checked my adapter and wire and both of them are fine as it shows charging sign. please telll me what to do??

8 years ago

Hi David, my son dropped his iPhone 6 in the toilet. We immediately put it in rice. We saw on YouTube ao video about using a vacuum cleaner to quickly suck all the water out. To our amazement it worked and the phone returned to normal except for a speaker problem. It’s been about 3 days now and it was charging as normal but today it just refused to charge! I tried all your suggestions and did find some dust in the charging port and cleaned it out as you instructed. Is this possibly repairable?

Richie Thompson
8 years ago

I have had an iPhone 3GS, 4S and now 5S. On each occasion I have experienced battery drain or charging issues after approx 18months and generally within 6months of contract end date. Could this be an Apple software ploy to influence upgrades ???

8 years ago

thank you so much. i went through the above steps and got my phone charging again thanks to you! thank you.

Sadie Legrande
8 years ago

My iPhone 6 just won’t hold the charge. It’ll charge for a few seconds and then randomly disconnect/reconnect the charge. It’s been doing this a lot for the last couple of days. I’m not sure if this is the same thing as what this article tackles.

Shelby LaFreniere
8 years ago

Very helpful article. I tried the first 3 steps so I’m going to send in my phone to iResQ. Thanks for the reference!

8 years ago

Thanks for this article. I have a 4s and it charged last night but when plugged in today, not charging. I tried the hard restart and brushed the bottom of the phone to see if it was just dusty/dirty. So far, no luck but I appreciate the info so I could try a few things I hadn’t thought of.

8 years ago

Hey Mate, my iPhone 5 is playing up like i charge it up to 100% then all of a sudden it drops down to 1% then shuts off, i chuck it back on charge and it shows that low battery logo and stays like that for a long period of time and won’t turn back on even when i force restart, could this be the battery?

Chuck Norris
8 years ago

That Chip is easily damaged by using not certificate cables…

Chuck Norris
8 years ago

On the iPhone 5 and laters there is a common problem that involve a chip that manage the charge on the mother board… its called U2 Chip, if it suffers a malfunction the phone wont charge with any cable with any source or event wont connect to iTunes or PC.. you gotta look for that too..

Apol Jordan
8 years ago

Super thanks to this!!! It helped me a lot. I thought i wont be able to turn on my phone again…. BIG HELP!!!!

8 years ago

Ok here’s one for you. I decided to get a 3m 3rd party lead as my old lead is looking a bit worn.
The new lead charges my iPhone 4s with no issue, but if I plug it into my iPad it charges for about 30 sec then stops bringing up the message, not charging. My old shorter lead charges both fine. I have tried multiple sockets and plugs

8 years ago

I have an IPhone 5 and my phone started dying and wouldn’t charge back up. I replaced the chargers but eventually the same thing would happen where it would die and it wouldn’t charge back up. I did, however, have this ONE charger which my puppy chewed in half to expose the wiring. If I played with the wiring it seemed to jolt the battery and the phone would turn back on. If I could get it charging at least 5 minutes, I could plug it into any of the other chargers to charge it back up. Does this just… Read more »

Dustin Zeigler
8 years ago

Just to share my issue and results . . . My phone would display that it was charging, but would randomly stop charging; once again, requesting the power cable be plugged in. At one point, the phone finally gained enough reserved battery life to boot it’s OS; however, it quickly powered back to charge mode. I tried multiple power outlets around my house and then two different USB wall adapters, neither worked. I followed the steps and finally decided to blame the cable – grabbed my buddies – and it worked! It turned out to be my lighting cable, that… Read more »

8 years ago

Hi David, in order to do the hard reset do I do this with the telephone switched off or whilst charging? I got an iphone 5s and starting 2 days ago with consuming the battery really quickly to not being able to charge at all it doesn’t go up from 5% charge…. help!

Edi SanDiego
8 years ago

Hi David,
Thank you for the detailed information. I have an iphone 5S that stopped charging after the charger melted down. The battery drained until the phone died. I replaced the battery and the phone came on fully fonctionnel but it does not charge at all. It is possible that charging chip on logic board is dead or it is the charging port. My logic understanding say that if the charging chip is dead, the phone won’t turn on even with a new battery unless there is bypass ?. Thank you for your help.

Antonio Davis
8 years ago

It all started one morning my battery was low so i charged it and when it started up it wouldnt accept my passcode. I also realized that it wouldnt charge, it was just stuck on 1%. I eventually held down on the lock and home buttons to restart it and it started to work again, later that day the same problem ocurred. My iphone six wouldnt accept my passcodebut it shows my notifs. Also a message came on the screen saying the temperature of the phone was too hot and needed to cool down i left it for a while… Read more »

iqra khan
8 years ago

i have iphone 4. when i pug the charger in the phone it doesn’t charge. but when i turn the power off and plug the chagrer it become to charge the phone but not at the time when it is turn on . ? why plz give me a solution

David Payette
8 years ago
Reply to  iqra khan

Hi Iqra, Sorry to hear you’re having trouble like that. That’s a tough one. If you haven’t already, try taking a toothbrush or something similar (that you’ve never used before) and try brushing out the charger port. If you’ve inspected both the port on your iPhone and the USB cable, I don’t like saying it, but it’s probably a hardware problem with your iPhone. It might be worth a trip to the Apple Store (if you’re under warranty, and remember to make an appointment), but if you’re not, a less-expensive way to go that I recommend is through Puls. Here’s… Read more »

Nichole Kennedy
8 years ago

I am in the same boat, I don’t have enough battery to do a hard reset. I’ve tried changing cables and have done the hard reset while connected to the pc. For some reason I took a picture of another computer’s screen (dell) and that computer stored my device to it and I’ve never hooked up to that computer or signed in with on any account. Thats when my problem started.. PLEASE HELP!!!

Nika Zgojznik
8 years ago

I have an iPhone 5s and when I plug my charger in the iPhone it turns on as if it was charging but the percentage on batery life remains the same all the time and in doesn’t matter for how long it stays plugged in. I tried all tips above and it won’t help. do I have any other choice than the repair centre?

Russell Favager
8 years ago

My iphone5 wont charge and I have done all the suggestions in this article. One of my questions is that I have just returned from Mexico to the UK where it was a different electrical connection, if there was a different electrical surge could this be affecting anything ? Thanks Russ

Nabilah Moussa
3 years ago

How do you charge the apple charger

8 years ago

My local phone repair said Apple had its own special plug, which would only take Apple brand, or other high priced cables. For $40 they could swap the port for a generic one. Any comment on this?
This is especially annoying as I use a PowerBank case. My first Power Bank worked great. The successive three cases refuse to charge the phone properly. Any ideas on that as well

8 years ago

My iPhone 6 would not charge after the battery drained completely. It would only show the low battery symbol for a few seconds then shut off. I tried out different iPhone cables/ports/computer and had same results. However I was able to solve my problem by charging my iPhone with a USB battery pack. My phone is back to normal now, I hope this helps for those in a similar situation.

Ricah Pauline
8 years ago

I have iphone 5 and its not charging i dont know if its the cable itself the problem or the adaptor or the software said above. Please help me thank you

8 years ago

Does this also apply to this? I can charge my iPhone perfectly. But when I try to connect it to my pc it just beeps as if it is being unplugged an plugged in back can u fix this and I have not synced my gone to iTunes to transfer music to it.i have an iPhone 4s.any help would be really appreciated.??????

8 years ago

OMG! Thank you so much for this article. My phone WAS completely DEAD! I took a safety pin an toothbrush to it and got an amount a lint out that a belly button would be jealous of. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I’m a little mad at myself for not thinking of that before.

8 years ago

Wow, who would have ever thought that just a gentle brush-out would solve my problem! Thank you so much for taking the time and making the effort to write this helpful article.

8 years ago

The battery in my son’s iPhone 5 has been questionable at best for a long time now. It would go from 100% to 35% in just a few minutes. Sometimes it would completely die at 54%. It died yesterday, has been plugged in for well over 12 hours and it won’t charge. Neither iTunes nor my computer will recognize that is it plugged in, however, the phone shows that it is plugged in, it simply won’t charge. We’ve tried cleaning it, several different apple chargers and cords, I’ve attempted a hard restart several times, holding both buttons for up to… Read more »

Nitzia Marin
8 years ago

I still need help, my charger charged another iPhone 5c but won’t charge mine, I changed the outlets, I tried charging it on my laptop and it still won’t charge. Is there something wrong with my iPhone?

8 years ago
Reply to  Nitzia Marin

It’s not your charger. Clean your port. If your port is clean, do a hard reset, as indicated in the article. If even that doesn’t work, restore your phone to factory settings.

Japera Krigger
8 years ago

I was so angry for 10 minutes till I remembered the internet has the answers. Hard reset under 30 seconds worked AMEN!!!!

Halle Humes
8 years ago

I have water damage to my port without even knowing it and now i lost 2,000 pictures, all my music, and all my notes. 4 years worth of memories gone right down the drain. Thanks Apple for making what is possibly the worst phones

8 years ago
Reply to  Halle Humes

You didn’t back it up? If you had, you’d be able to access all of that when you replace your phone.

Jennifer Cochran Harris
8 years ago

David you are my hero!!!! Just helped me with my phone and I am forever grateful.

Kristie Liggin Wilder
8 years ago

God Bless you…. I’ve been sitting here frustrated, cleaning out the port with a paperclip and compressed air… The hard restart for 30 seconds did it… THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

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