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.
Table Of Contents
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!
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.
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, X, SE 2, and newer models||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 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 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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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. 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.
so my iphone X wont charge when connected to the wall charger.
itunes wont recognize him not even in dfu mode, but some how the pc makes the connecting sound when i plug it in, but again wont charge.
it only charges when the battery goes dead and i connect it back to the pc, but i cant unlock the phone or it will stop.
does anyone knows what the hell is this ??????? heeeeeelp
Thanks, the toothbrush trick worked with my iPhone 12. Didn’t have a clean one but used an old one I use for general cleaning bits and pieces. Worked well!
The hard reset solution worked for me, iPhone XR.
Using two different wires and outlets (in different locations , the battery icon flickers between charging and not charging on my IPhone 12. It charges fully when lying flat and not in use.
That toothbrush thing saved my phone! I was about to take it to a shop to get repaired! Thank you!
My 10 Pro Max quit charging and your article got me back up. Thank you so much.
My iPhone XR was not charging, but then I did the hard reset and it switched on immediately! It’s charging perfectly now. THANK YOU
I fell asleep without putting my iPhone 8 (which was on low battery) on the charger, and when I woke up the battery was of course dead. It’s now been charging for 6 hours, and the apple just keeps appearing on the screen for about 10 seconds, then disappearing, then reappearing, etc. The hard restart doesn’t work, and the home button is non-responsive. Any thoughts?
I have the same problem too with my iphone 8+ and it’s frustrating I don’t know what to do
My issue starts with my phone being on 1% after not charging it the night before, it gets to 10%, and the charger is taken by someone else. My phone eventually dies and I go like 15-30 minutes of it being dead. I finally get a charger and now when I try to turn on my phone to check its battery status, it just shows me a blank screen. Like no red charging symbol with a black screen on the back or anything.
My iPhone cannot hold a charge
For me, the solution was switching up the adapter and cord. I tried everything above and it didn’t work. I have two chargers, a new one and an old one. While desperately fiddling around, I realized that pairing up the right things, the old adapter and the new cord, made it so my phone would charge again. So if anyone else is out of solutions, try mix and matching your cords and adapters.
toothbrush to the rescue
Could slow charging be because of a degraded battery?
My battery health is saying I’m at 77% and “significantly degraded”, but online fiorums are saying no need to replace the battery till it’s at about 50%.
I’ve tried everything else except DFU and battery replacement.
re- post – Could slow charging be because of a degraded battery? My battery health is saying I’m at 77% and “significantly degraded”, but online forums are saying no need to replace the battery till it’s at about 50%. I’ve tried everything else except DFU and battery replacement. I found that part or all of the problem was my new phone case – it was supposedly much better. It was also thicker, and I have just discovered that my wireless charging pad(s) are near useless unless I take the cover off (not really convenient – at all). And I rely… Read more »
Hi my I phone 11 won’t charge..even on wireless. Tryed different cables .sum times it’s charge..one day..then other change then stop..takes all day to charge if any..
Yup. Toothbrush to the rescue!
I got my iPhone recharged thanks to this great detailed article.
Thank you so much, didn’t know about hard reset, my phone is now charging on wireless charger. Game changer👍
Once again, thank you!
Thank you so much, great informative information that helped me get my phone back up and running after a weird blip. You’ve saved my morning!
THANK YOU for such a detailed step-by-step article! It was extremely considerate of you to write this up!
My iPhone X accepts the Apple certified cables from Amazon, and will charge absolutely fine for about a week. Then suddenly, for no reason that I can obtain, my phone stops recognizing it completely. I tried the hard reset, and everything up to cleaning out the port (which I did haha). Cable isn’t recognized even through computer once “it begins”. I don’t know what to do, just know I certainly cannot afford new cables every week…
thank you! the brush cleaned out the charger point! worked perfectly! Yay!
Hi David, thanks for your very helpful information. My wife’s iPhone 8 was stuck on 30% charge for several hours, even though the little lightning bolt symbol indicated that it was on charge. I tried brushing out the connection port with a clean toothbrush, but it made no difference, so I went for the hard reset. Voila! It worked! By the way, thanks also for the warning that the #1 mistake was in not holding down the power button long enough. At my first attempt, I got the “slide to power off” indication, which I used, but it didn’t cure… Read more »
I can’t believe my toothbrush fixed my high tech iPhone! Amazing. Thanks ? about 1200 bucks worth of thanks
My phone will not charge. I have used another charger,. At first the screen would blink from one password to another. Now it’s not charging
Cleaning the connector with a toothbrush solved my charging problem! Thank you!
I have an iPhone X and it is dead. I can’t see the dead battery symbol when pressing the power button. My chargers work, and I tried the reset detailed above. What would you suggest?
If a hard reset didn’t get it unstuck, there may be a hardware issue with the display. I’d schedule an appointment with Apple to see if the screen needs to be repaired.
my iphone wont charge for any charger i dont know why and the charger and i barley charge it goes in and out
Sounds like there may be something stuck up inside the charging port. Grab an anti-static brush or unused toothbrush and scrape anything currently stuck inside the charging port. If your iPhone supports wireless charging, try laying it on a wireless charging pad to see if that will charge it.
I tried the whole toothbrush in the charging port, it worked at first, I thought hallelujah! Then I turn on the settings all and it does on the charger. I’m sick and tired of this stupid iPhone 6(s?) Doing this!! What can I possibly do to fix this? I’ve tried everything I’ve ever seen suggested, I’ve showered the internet for answers and NOTHING works. I even tried the toothbrush truck again and nothing. Tried it on the usb cable, still absolutely f*** all. I’m losing sleep trying to figure out what to do, because I listen to ASMR’s on that… Read more »
i have trid multipul chargers but it still refuse to turn on so now my whole screen is black and i did try the hard reset, didnt work.
Did you try putting your iPhone in DFU mode?
My phone battery is flashing red. It went down quickly and won’t charge.
Sounds like there is an issue with your cable, charger, or power source. Try different chargers (computer USB, wall charger, car charger), a different cable, and/or a different outlet if you’re using a wall charger.
i have tried 20 diffirent chargers and they dont work. i also cant restet my phone because its dead
Have you tried cleaning out your iPhone’s charging port? Sounds like there could be something lodged in the port preventing your iPhone from charging.
If your iPhone supports wireless charging, you may want to try that too to see if it powers on. If it does, and there’s nothing stuck inside the charging port, try DFU restoring your iPhone.
My iphone x will not charge, it is completely dead and wont turn on. I cleaned the port and tried 5+ chargers. Before the phone died I checked the health of the battery and it was at 79%
Will your iPhone turn on when placed on a wireless charger?
Hi David. My iPhone XS wasn’t charging with a cable but does charge on a pad. I took your advise and cleaned out the port. I couldn’t believe how much dust came out. It’s working well now. Thank you very much.
My iPhone 6s suddenly showed a “No Battery Charge” error while on the charger. I tried another charger, then USB port. Hard reset hasn’t worked. My experience with the Albany, NY store has not been good. Instead, I use the call-in service for my laptop when I’ve needed help. I don’t want to wait hours (even with an appointment, apparently). Any other suggestions? Do I need to jump ship to Samsung?
Hello Sir !
I’ve been trying all these tricks but still my iPhone doesn’t want to charge and that is stressing me a lot!
If I still can’t get it to recognize the cable, can the port itself be replaced? 6s+. Thanks
You saved me! My iPhone has not been properly charging for weeks. Tonight it simply stopped charging. I went online found your site. Tried the hard restart and nothing worked. Then I saw the suggestion to clean the port with a toothbrush. I could actually see the white build up. It is now charging. Thank you so very much! Can you tell me how to prevent the dust buildup? Should I clean it out at various times. I love to wear mine on a strap. Do you think that exposes it to more dirt? I would have had unbelievable problems… Read more »
My iPhone XR is not charging and I tried a new cable. I don’t know what to do next. Please help my life.
i have an iPhone 7plus and it won’t charge. I have tried multiple chargers and I have cleaned the charger part. It’s completely dead and won’t turn back on. I tried buying an Eggtronic Wireless Charging Stone and that didn’t work either. It charges my mom’s phone and she has the 8 Plus.
Facing the same problem in the same phone. Have you perchance gotten it to charge?
same as well, did you find the problem , where you able to fix it, if so how?
Same , i have the exact same phone and the same thing happened to me
Did you find a way to get it fixed ?
Right now the Sam thing is happening to me please tell me you guys found a fix
My iPhone 11 stopped taking charges no matter which charger (multiple cable ones, a flat dish) I use.
When I press the right side button for a few seconds, the images of a nearly empty battery and a white charger connector show up, blink thrice, and go off.
The odd thing is that even if the phone is not connected to a charger, that image of a “charging” connector (with the “ray” image) appears. It seems to be stuck in “connecting”.
Another detail: my phone admits fingerprint ID, so the same button functions as a pad.
Mine is doing the same. Did you get your problem resolved?
The hard reset worked like a charm! Thank you!!
I’m in a country where the only Apple Store is on one end of the country and I’m in the other end, so i will have to eliminate that choice. I’ve just replaced my phone’s battery because it died and wont turn on again. I’ve just got my phone back today but it connect to the charger even though I purchased the most expensive battery there is. I’m currently using an iPhone 7 which is the subject I’ve been talking about. I hope that there is another way because i don’t want to go back and spill more money on… Read more »
My iPhone 6s Plus will charge to 100%, but then drops down to 1% in 10 minutes. This started last night at 10 o’clock. What is going on?
YouTube a battery replacement and buy a battery on Amazon that includes the needed tools. It’s an easy DIY and affordable price.
my iphone 6 isn’t charging and it’s powered off.
Should I get it repaired or is there any solution
If the steps in this article didn’t help fix the problem, you should definitely contact Apple.
OK, thank you.
Mine did that. I opened it up and found that the battery connection to the charger had disconnected. I pressed my finger on the connection and it clicked back into place. Then, my phone was fixed. Easy DIY.
I have several of the “good” generic cables and charging blocks. Why does it work fine until a new update then stop charging completely? Then I have to get replacement cables, blocks and charging USB hubs? My USB hub has its own power supply! Apple’s cables are absolute GARBAGE! They fray and bend and crack all too easily and are only long enough to use if you’re not using your iPhone or iPad at the same time you’re charging it. Also, after an update, I am able to charge my iPhone and not my iPad or visa versa. Using the… Read more »
I think Apple makes it happen to inspire customers to buy new phones or new overpriced Apple chargers. Easy fix = buy Android.
My iPhone 7 Plus was damaged by water (it was in a pond for 20 hours) but somehow miraculously turns on when plugged into a charger. However, it won’t actually hold the charge or register that it’s plugged in when connected to my computer. I am trying to back everything up (already have a new iPhone but trying to get the old photos and other data) but since it won’t hold the charge, I can’t back it up. Any suggestions with how to either fix the charge or backup my old phone? Any tips or help is much appreciated! Thank… Read more »
HOLY IT WORKED FOR ME THANKS THE TOOTHBRUSH WORKED
My Apple phone will not charge at all now. Help! I am 72 and need it for bad health problems.
What if you do a hard reset and everything works out but you’ve got an old used iPhone 5 that you have no idea what the username or password is or how to get in touch with the person who set it up?
Came on here for that exact issue and you solved it thank you!
Toothbrush trick worked for me! Thank you so much, I depend on my phone and I really didn’t want to have to take it to an Apple Store and pay their prices!
Every time I clean out my Lightning port, I’m shocked by how much debris comes out. Always a good idea to clean your ports regularly. Glad we were able to help you out!
Hi, so my iPhone 6s won’t charge unless I’m using one of the longer Apple chargers (it’s my moms). I’ve tried every other charger in the house and none of them work. We even got a new one and no luck. What do you suggest doing?