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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Varandani Minal
6 years ago

Thanks it’s really works after brushing the charger point and pressings the hard resets button thanks god bless

Julie Breland
6 years ago

Hi David, I am the mom to 2 teenagers who if didn’t have Iphones both their lives would come to an immediate end. I, however have always been a Samsung gal, i knew nothing about Iphones,. That is until I stumbled across your awesome article. Thank you for making it so easy, even a mom can understand! Now I look pretty cool to my 2 boys since I FIXED an IPhone!

Debbie Meehan
6 years ago

Thank you!!! Switched off, switched on, fixed!!

Kristi Wilson
6 years ago

Battery is dead so it can’to/won’t do a reset. I do know there was a software update that had been trying to go through for a few days but kept stalling. I suspect that it’s a software issue, but how do I resolve it when there’s no battery life to do so and 4 different chargers fail to charge? Any suggestions?

Michel Dow
6 years ago

Thanks,your advice was spot on! Phone is now charging

Felipe Henriquez
6 years ago

Very Helpful. Only needed a brush and iPhone is alive after death. f***. Thanks

Michael Caporale
6 years ago

Toothbrush did the trick. Thank you!!!!!!! Been dealing with this for months and months. Almost bought a new phone. You saved me!

Jenny Tait Murnane
6 years ago

The clean fixed it! Hubby thinks I’m a marvel hehe

Maria Ransom
6 years ago

None helped me.

Janice Beck
6 years ago

very helpful its charging now thanks so much felt like i lost an arm today.

Cathy Brandi Marquardt
6 years ago

Tried it 3 times, left it, went to bed thinking it didn’t work & it did!! Yeah! This phone is back on again after battery issues! It has been sitting in a drawer! So happy that my hubby can use this phone! Iphone 6s…if you don’t succeed on the first attempt, might as well try it again!

Ali Mohseni
6 years ago

to resert your phone you need atleast 95% batteri, and how do you expect to get that much when you cant charge the s***t? I made a big miskate that i bought this shhittii iphone 7 . paid alot and this s***t is not even good enuogh for the money!

Joe Mullins
6 years ago

The toothbrush worked! Thank you!

Patricia Biniek
6 years ago

Thank you so much. Extremely helpful. My husband’s phone wouldn’t charge and we thought we would have to buy a new one but after reading your advice I cleaned out the charging port and…voila! It charges again. Yay!

Marcus Hoyne
6 years ago

You are a genuis. After mucking around with a phone that would only occasionally charge for about 8 months I was going to spend over $A1000 to get a new one becuase I was thoroughly sick of the dance I had to play each night to get the phone to charge. A few flicks with the toothbrush and its as good as new. Thanks very much.

Ken Helfer
6 years ago

The hard shutdown worked.

Rod Butler
6 years ago

Most of this information is fill for a longer article. Your iphone has lint in the charging port and/or you charging cable is work out. Take it into an apple store and they will clean the port free, then buy an over priced apple charging cable. Period. A re-boot is always a cheap fix that works sometimes. BOOM!

Donald Calderone
6 years ago

i am a brand new iphone user and needless to say i panicked big time when the phone would not charge!!! Following your advice it came back and i was so happy, it literally made my day! Thank you for being there!

Patina Sidner
6 years ago

I cut the insulation off of a bad cord, close to the end that goes into the phone. There are fragile solder joints that attach the wire to a small circuit board. Several wires had broken loose from mine. Excessive bending will break the connections.

Lynn-Marie Hatcher Peashka
6 years ago

I have a 6SPlus .. and REALLY want to wait for the 8. But the phone has been acting more wonky for the past month or so. It will be two years old in November. Seems like phones always start to get wonky a few months before the new roll out … encourages the upgrade, it seems. Anyway, first the touch screen capability became intermittent. Sometimes I have to push REALLY hard. Sometimes it works right. Sometimes certain things will work right, touch-wise, and others won’t. But … I could deal with it, because I don’t want an iPhone 7.… Read more »

Dawn Kirkland
6 years ago

Thank you SO MUCH David. My son’s iphone 5s would not charge or turn on. The battery port looked clean but when I used a long soft britled brush to gently clean it a lot of white fluff like miniature degraded tissue balls came out and voila it is charging again. Saved me from having to buy another.

Sue Roberts
6 years ago

Thank you . Great honest truefully information

Eliseo Contreras
6 years ago

what about if i change the battery by a fully charged battery ,then my phone is back on business? but when i try to charge it it wont charge. and yes i did all what you mentioned above, but won’t work.

Ruby Harbaugh
6 years ago

thanks alot worked now waiting to see if it charges ,ok it is charging i appreciate that u wrote all you did in fixing it

Roni Crichton
6 years ago

Thanks. I had done the obvious – different cord, outlet, charging block – didn’t know about the hard reset. Panic averted. I really appreciate your clairity and explanations. Very helpful!

Will Gibson
6 years ago

Hard reset worked. Now my wife thinks I’m an Apple guru! Thanks for the help.

Carina Simoes
6 years ago

Hello David. I have a question. My iphone right after updating to iOS 10.3.3 stopped charging properly. When it reaches 100% it will go down on battery even if it’s charging… now heres the weird thing. When the phone starts losing battery (while charging) I hear a hissing noice from the (charger socket) but if the phone goes off, it stops. Another things is that once my phone is dead it keeps om dieing at 2% (while charging)… last time I waited 5hours for the device to start chargin. I erase all content and settings – set up as new… Read more »

Barb Terrell
6 years ago

Thanks – held power and on off switch longer then it powered up.

Janet Boyd Reed
6 years ago

Brilliant. It was software. Thank you!

Rupinder Kaur
6 years ago

Thanks a ton David..really helped !!

Sandy Buenrostro
6 years ago

Thank you. I cleaned it with a toothbrush. Works perfectly!

Tony Scalise
6 years ago

Hi David, took your advice and used Cellsavers to replace my battery and charging port. Prompt, courteous and knowledgeable. Reasonable price to get my phone back up in less than 18 hours and not losing any data or having to buy a new phone. Thank you for sharing all your relevant knowledge and sources, and for helping ordinary folks like me keep their technology running without breaking the bank. Have recommended your site to at least three people so far, as well as Cellsavers. I’m a fan, man!

Tony in Naples, Florida

Allen Burton
6 years ago

My wife’s phone had that exact problem . . . called her up, had her do the hard re-set and before I could tell her she might have to wait 20 seconds, her phone was back. Now I’m a genius (LOL) – thanks David.

Vijayalakshmi Vallabhaneni
6 years ago

Wow tat was the easiest fix thanks a ton . … Relieved my train of thoughts nd my horror of having to buy a new phone and loosing all the data

Vijay Uppala
6 years ago

Very helpfull. Thanks a lot.

Katrin Powell
6 years ago

This was very helpful! I not only fixed my immediate issue, but I also learned a lot of things that may come in very handy in the future. Thanks, David!

Ethan Cox
6 years ago

Hi David,
The tootbrush clean worked for me. Thanks for putting all the options in one place it was very helpful, especially about the software being in control of the charging

John D'Amico
6 years ago

Thank you for your assistance!

Fred Schuller
6 years ago

Thanks a lot for these useful info! Two comments: the power button is on the top and not where shown on the picture (at least on iPhones 5s and older – I don’t know about 6 models). And, in the last section “your iPhone is charging again”, I would add as (maybe self-evident) advice: urgently back-up your iPhone, as long as it is working again!

Steven Smart
6 years ago

OMG you are a lifesaver thank you so much!!!

Wendy Ramos Ojeda
6 years ago

mine charges randomly

Hugh Brown
6 years ago

VEry good to know, thanks.

Alexa Turkington
6 years ago

Yeah!!! Very helpful info and put in simple writing for people like me that r not a techno Got my hubbys phone working. It’s out of contract and so have the bill way low and don’t fancy getting him a new phone and the tariff going way up again so thanks very much for writing all that

Meg Singer
6 years ago

Thank you so much!

Cheskita E Lenz
6 years ago

My iphone had an issue where I would charge it, then disconnect it and from there I took it the Sprint store where they said nothing is wrong with it and then it charged fine in different area’s of the house to plug it at but now it is doing the same thing again. Idk what to do.

Costa Maggy
6 years ago

Thank you it really help My iphone6 is not charging and after reading this, i try cleaning the charging port with a toothbrush And i put to charge again and it starts charging now i know i need to take care now in dust entering my iphone charging port lolssss thank you again

DeAnna J. Warlick
6 years ago

i watched another video that said to use a toothpick to clean the charging port. So I got out a piece of lint. Phone still would not charge, so I used a toothbrush–got more lint! Within 30 minutes all my texts from the last day and a half came through! Thanks for your help!

Aylah Leslieann Aguilar
6 years ago

Its stil not charging

Aylah Leslieann Aguilar
6 years ago

Hi good morning my iphone is not chargi g wat can i do with it??

Ash Waechter
6 years ago

Great article. I just brushed the lint out of my phone, and it’s charging again. Thank for this great article!

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