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 fix.

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

PhoneHow To Hard Reset
iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, SE, and older modelsPress 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 PlusPress 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, 8 Plus, X, XS, XS Max, and XRThere 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 iPhone X) 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 and X, 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 have 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 3rd-party iPhone charger 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.

High quality, less-expensive cables do exist!

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.

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.)

Hint: 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 some great repair options you may not be aware of.

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. Fortunately, there are other options:

Another Repair Option

If you need to fix your iPhone today, Puls is a great, affordable, in-person repair service. They’ll meet you at home or a location of your choice in as little as 60 minutes.

Puls offers a lifetime warranty on parts and labor, and you only pay after they complete the repair. They also offer the option to repair your iPhone’s charging port and other smaller components that Apple won’t touch. There’s a chance you’ll be able to recover your data and save money too!

Full transparency: We receive a referral fee if you choose to repair your iPhone with Puls. That said, I truly believe they are best and easiest option for many people.

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.

All the best,
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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Aaron
13 days ago

Your hard reset trick did it! Thank you thank you. I am on call for work, and when I woke up my phone wasn’t charged! You fixed it!

Ada A.
19 days ago

my iphone 6 onlys charges to 2% and goes off and it still is not working 🙁

Alycia
23 days ago

I’m not getting the Apple symbol, I’m getting a charge symbol to show its plugged in but then the phone goes out again.

Joan Hammond
24 days ago

Tried a direct charge (via a mains socket with a usb port) using an Apple
approved cable (I absolutely refuse to use non-Apple products). This worked admirably. I have now changed the cable on my usual
charger. I guess like everything else they wear out over time. Your instructions are very clear and succinct. Thank You

Sheliah P.
28 days ago

Thank you David. Your instructions are clear and concise-.

callie
1 month ago

Hi my iphone xs says its charginf but it won’t turn on

Raeleen
1 month ago

My IPhone 6+ shows has the lightning bolt to charge but isn’t. Do you know what the problem is?

Editor
Liam Shotwell
1 month ago
Reply to  Raeleen

It sounds like the software believes that the device is charging, but the physical hardware battery isn’t taking the charge. You either have a bad battery or there’s something else wrong with the device. Either way, I would consider exploring your options to get your phone fixed or replaced. The iPhone 6 is an older model, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the battery is going bad. Getting a new iPhone can definitely help your battery last longer. Here’s a handy tool in case you’re interested in upgrading. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do so.

Dave Jones
2 months ago

Hi David, I have an iPhone x that got a black screed about a week ago. I did the volume up / volume down / power button thing over and over again. It finally came back on (don’t know exactly why – it wasn’t right after the reboot) and stayed on for about 45 minutes and then went black again. Now I am trying all kinds of things and it came back on for about 30 minutes (never to come back on again). The next morning I got up and the battery was dead and unable to charge (I was… Read more »

John Upphone
2 months ago

Great article!

Mariana Gaspochó
4 months ago

I have an old iPhone 6. My charger won’t work unless in a certain spot or certain position. Unfortunately I can’t figure the position out. My phone charges with other chargers but not mine. I only have 1 charger in my house and I’m on a fixed income. With all the bills and kids lunches I don’t think I’ll even be able to afford a new Charger.

Kate
5 months ago

Hi David, thanks for the tips. I have tried all this but still have a weird problem. I plug it in, it charges for 30 secs or so, then stops charging. I unplug it, plug it in again, same thing. Doesn’t matter if I use wall plug or USB port, same thing. I don’t touch the phone – it just stops charging. Starts fine every time but just stops every time. What is going on??

Ellie
5 months ago

Hi David I put my phone into the USB charge with just the wire and it worked, but when I did it through my box it didn’t

Chloe
6 months ago

I cleaned out, hard reset and used different cords. Nothing is working. I can’t software update because my phone is on 20% I Don’t know what to do

Chloe
6 months ago

I’m using an Apple cord, I cleaned out the charger and port and I have hard reset multiple times. I can’t do a software update because my phone is on 20% and, obviously, won’t charge.

Sarah
6 months ago

Great tips! I’ve had 2 iPhones (an SE and an iPhone 7) that have had issues, and I know I’m not the only one with lightning port and charger issues. I ended up with the iPhone 7 after the SE developed a defective port and charger. I took it to my local Apple store who confirmed the defect. They told me it’s the 2nd most common issue after cracked screens. I asked them if Apple is aware this is a major defect with their iPhones with the lightning chargers, why don’t they replace it with something different? I was told… Read more »

Roll Over
1 year ago

Totally fixed my phone! Thanks, man!! : D

Proma Das
1 year ago

Thanks. It was very helpful. Do we need to use original charger ?

Shirley Reardon
1 year ago

still no luck with phone

Amin Karkooti
1 year ago

Very helpful informations. My iphone problem got fixed at home. The problem of my iphone SE was the software not hardware. Thanks for sharing your insight.

Angelica Oung
1 year ago

This old post just saved me today! Thanks David!

Franky Jacobs
1 year ago

my iphone 6 charges when i wiggel the cable a few times then i need to let it stand up right with the cable in it at a certain angle then i need to leave it perfectly still till it charges enough

Joni Chroman
2 months ago
Reply to  Franky Jacobs

Yes! Yes! Yes! What’s the fix? It’s not software is it?

Bill McClenny
1 year ago

Thank you for writing this. The hard reset worked great, and saved me a trip to the apple store.

Sarah Cornell
1 year ago

You saved me today! Thak you!

Georgi Rogozin
1 year ago

My new Iphone 8 dosent want to charg when is plug on charging. What can I do now?

Jhemz Laurie
1 year ago

I just brush and wow its charging, thanks for tge info

Cheryl Drinkwater
1 year ago

Thank you! Resetting my phone brought it back! You saved me hours of aggrevation.

Marlène Pauly
1 year ago

Super! thank you!

Dana Vo
1 year ago

WOW

Devin Whitsell
1 year ago

Cleaning the charging port for the WIN! Thanks. I never wouldve thought that that much lint could collect in the port.

Daniella Sumter
1 year ago

nice thanks

Jason H Thompson
1 year ago

Help! I have an iPhone 6 and have tried all of the items in this article. A week ago it wouldn’t charge past 1%. Now, it wont even turn on unless it is plugged in. When plugged in, the apple logo will show up for a couple of seconds, then dissappear for a few seconds. This repeats until I unplug it. iTunes won’t recongnize it so I can try a restore. The Apple store said the phone is dead but I’m not willing to give up on it yet. My only thought right now is to buy a $15 battery… Read more »

Tony Novello
1 year ago

Nice article. In my case, it was hardPacked lint. I’d add toothpick to the toothbrush technique. A light probing with a toothpick loosed lint that the toothbrush couldn’t get.

Vivien Workman
1 year ago

Amazing advice. I fixed my charging problem in minutes.

Susan Tucker
1 year ago

Thank you very, very much. I did the toothbrush cleaning and it fixed the issued instantly!

Judy Wander Lacombe
1 year ago

Thanks so much for your help. I have an iPhone 6 that I couldnt seem to do a hard reset on. It kept coming back to the low battery pictured above. I tried several charging cables (all Apple approved MFI) but that didnt work. I tried several wall adaptors – one was the orig Apple adapter and one was an Amazon (Apple approved) adapter. Neither worked in my wall socket or power strip. I almost gave up until I saw my Kindle power adapter and plugged it into the wall and then plugged in the cable at the USB end.… Read more »

Amine Abdessmed
1 year ago

thanks so much brother it’s helpful

Joni Lynn
1 year ago

Great solutions! I just had an issue and now my phone is charging. I had bought another quick charger thinking it was the charger. Now I have a back up I guess, lol!

Logang Paul
1 year ago

my phone is plugged in , with no case on and will charge up 2 % then move back 1 % then stop charging.. any ideas?? ive cleaned the charing port. i havent used any other charging cables because i have none with me, but will do so when i get my charger from work

Faruque Ahmed
1 year ago

Your solution technique and walk through to solve iphone charging is fantastic. Many people will appreciate your helpful instructions on how to troubleshoot iphone charging. Thank you for educating us all.

Barbara Shinton
1 year ago

my battery would not charge and I read your instructions and now my iPhone is charging. thank u
.

Jannik Hüntemann
1 year ago

wow, the hard reboot actualy worked, because my phone was charging, it just wasn’t showing it. Thanks

Christopher Bowman
1 year ago

My battery died while I was using the phone and now it refuses to charge. It has been on the charger for more than an hour with the charge indicator on, but it refuses to turn on. It also refuses to do a hard reset. Am I doing something wrong? I have been holding the buttons for more than a minute, but the logo never appears.

nanya bizness
1 month ago

Try again or follow the guide. You could also call apple support on 0800 048 0408.

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